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Jude's avatar

Vacation constipation; why does it happen?

Asked by Jude (32112points) July 25th, 2011

You go on vacation and, for some reason, you’re unable to poop. You could go a few days or the whole trip without defecating (even after eating a bunch of food!). And, as soon as you get home, you scurry to grab the New York Times crossword, and then make your way to the porcelain throne to do the deed.


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26 Answers

Mariah's avatar

I think it’s the major change in routine and the fact that you eat different foods that you’re used to while you’re on the road.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I’m so glad this doesn’t affect me. My mom is the worst sufferer of vacation constipation that I can imagine exists. I feel so bad for her.
I agree with @Mariah about the change of routine and diet, definitely. Also, I think once it begins, you get yourself nervous about it… and your anxiety about the constipation itself only exacerbates the issue.

…..sorry Mom!

SpatzieLover's avatar

Poor eating, a drastic change in daily habits, lack of proper hydration, possibly a lack of exercise or at least the routine your body is accustomed to…there are a lot of things that can tie into this.

Since we have certain dietary needs, we pack food for our family when we go on the road, and we no longer experience constipation. We make certain our breakfasts (while we’re on the road and in the vacation spot) are the same as they are at home. We also pack high fiber snacks, and take lots of water along.

As part of our trips away, we schedule hikes, bike rides and exercise into our days.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Lack of hydration would be one possibility. Plus maybe your ass goes on vacation too.

rebbel's avatar

(Possibly) different food, (possibly) different climate, certain amount of stress, and self fulfilling prophecy syndrome.

Jude's avatar

What about a lot of iron in the water? Would that do it?

Jellie's avatar

I need to be comfortable when I __get down to business__. That is why even at home I’d prefer to use my own toiler for number 2 than the other one.

For me it is just a case of, I can’t relax (my muscles) enough to let go in a bathroom I am not familiar with.

Mariah's avatar

I should note that constipation can not only result from changes in routine and diet, but the other extreme can as well. So it’s a little tricky to try and take something for it (mirilax vs. imodium).

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

How much exercise do you normally get, and how much did you get on vacation? It seems like the more that one is mobile, the more firm their stool may become. Of course, diet and water consumption also comes into play.

It could also have to do with the type of foods you ate. There are two times where I have eaten a strange food that apparently caused the digestive system to say, “Whoa! We need to think about what to do with this.” It held up the process.

Jude's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I exercise a lot. To get to my vacation destination, I had to sit in a car for 5 hours. When we got to our vacation spot, I sat on my ass for three days (went kayaking, though). The iron in the water at said vacation is high, so, maybe that was a factor?

Also, I have been eating healthy foods for a few weeks now. During my vacation, I drank alcohol, had coffee, and ate foods that I don’t normally eat (one being deep-fried Oreos at a carnival).

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Jude I doubt the water did it. However, we have learned that it’s best to rely on your own drinking water on vacation if you can.

Most likely it was the sitting in the car, combined with the junk you ate :(

We try to take a good walk during our car trips. Before I knowingly eat crap-foods, I take 3 glucomannan fiber pills. They help me to keep from bloating, besides keeping things moving.

Nullo's avatar

I always thought that it was from unfamiliarity with the local throne.

marinelife's avatar

Changes in food and water (local water has different fauna).

woodcutter's avatar

It could be vacation stress, what with all the planning and reservations and travel it could be upsetting enough without even noticing.
When I was 18 in boot camp I didn’t poop for two weeks but I didn’t really notice with all the DI’s screaming and kicking dirt in our faces I may have just forgot. It was really fast paced. We had to always run, we had to eat fast,think fast, sleep fast, fast, fast, fast.
Hopefully your vacations are different.

intrepidium's avatar

I’ve noticed this too and personally, I believe it’s because I sit around so much more on vacation e.g. in the car, hours on the plane, sitting on the beach etc. I tend to be pretty actual in my usual routine and activity does help along the “plumbing and pipes” but whenever things slow down pretty dramatically whenever I’m sedentary for extended periods

OpryLeigh's avatar

I thought I was the only one! I struggle to poop at the best of times sorry if that was tmi but when I go on holiday I completely lose the ability. Last year, when I was in the States I couldn’t go for 6 days again, sorry if that’s too much. I believe it may have something to do with the close proximity to others when on holiday, ie: staying in a hotel where the people you are room sharing with can hear all your movements!

Kardamom's avatar

Thank goodness I’ve never had that problem. Probably because I eat plenty of fiber and drink lots of water (or iced tea) and I always take these Metamucil Fiber Biscuits. when I go on a trip. They’re very yummy and they also make them in cinnamon flavor.

flutherother's avatar

It happens with me also. I put it down to the change in routine and the stress of travel.

filmfann's avatar

It happens to me as well. I figure my ass is just terratorial.

Nimis's avatar

Jet lag.
Your sleeping and waking pooping schedules are flipped. And since you’re not doing the deed in your sleep, you miss your window for poopage.

Holding it in.
Then when you’re finally awake you’ve got more interesting things to do besides figure out how to say Where is the nearest restroom? in the local language. And if/when you find the hole in the ground, it doesn’t feel so urgent so you hold prairie it for a bit longer.

Your dry mouth doesn’t feel so dry when the waiter brings you your dubious-looking glass of water. Sorry, no bottled water.

Nullo's avatar

@Nimis That last one would solve the problem, though. :D

echotech10's avatar

It happens to me too, but I try to do things that eae the issue. I just make sure I have time each day to sit on the toilet and relax. I also keep hydrated. I have more of a problem pooping in a hotel room toilet, that at someone’s house.

David27's avatar

@echotech10 why do you have a problem pooping in a hotel room toilet?

echotech10's avatar

@David27 Idk…I wish I had an answer, but it appears as though my body just cannot get relaxed as easily in a hotel room. I think the close quarters thing has something to do with it. The irony is that I am a shameless pooper and suffer from mild IBS, and still have this issue with it. Truth be known though, I do eventually go once or twice during my stay, after several non productive trips to the toilet. I just also make it a point to sit on the toilet in the morning after waking up and before I go to bed for the night when I am on vacation or staying in a hotel room. In the end, it all comes out ok.

havefaith210's avatar

I came on here because this happens to me every time that I go on vacation. For me it had nothing to do with eating and being seditary because I eat fruits, drink lots of water, workout or walk and I still have a hard time going, it’s crazy. This time I’ve been taking MAG07 which is allowing me to go a little bit, but when I take it at home I move super good. I am just happy that it’s not just me. I will increase my water and fruit intake.

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