Travelling Abroad with IBS: Hi, I have just... - IBS Network

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Travelling Abroad with IBS



I have just returned home to UK after spending 3 weeks in sunny Tenerife.

Before going away I was having problems with my IBS D , some of which I posted on this site and was dreading the travelling etc. However, other than a little anxiety , two Imodium capsules covered the 5hour air travel without incident.

What is more interesting , is that other that one occasion after eating out , my IBS was not causing me any problems. Virtually gone although still worried that it would strike at any moment.

During the holiday I ate what I would consider to be a "disaster" diet for my IBS. Ate things like Sirloin steak with mushroom sauce, Lasagne ,( which has in the past caused problem) , various chicken dishes ,including a mild curry. I also had a few alcoholic beverages and most evenings shared a bottle of white wine with my wife. We ate too much bread in sandwiches and too many fries , too much Pasta also few vegetables and no potatoes.

Really I thought I deserve a bad flare up --but in fact I was much better - less bloating , no acute wind pains and fairly regular in bowel habits. I don't get this at all. I have only been home 2 days and to be honest I am a little constipated since returning ,but too early too say if things will go back to the bad old ways. At home I think I tend to eat portions which are perhaps too large, I eat faster than I do when eating out and probable also eat tend to snack on biscuits or cakes etc in the evening.

When away , I think the restaurant portions were better and consumed at a slower pace , then for some reason I felt no need to snack on anything later in the evening.

I don't know if anyone else has had similar experiences or can comment on why this unhealthy diet ( which increased my weight by 8 pounds), gave me a much better tummy experience and going out to eat a pleasurable experience , rather than a more usual, highly worrying experience. Iastly , I must add that this was unlikely to be anything to do with being more relaxed , as quite a few other problems occurred which I think would be considered quite stressful , including slipping and a fall which resulted in medical assistance and a very sore back for most of the trip.

Look forward to any thoughts on this.



16 Replies

My gastroenterologist is a big fan of monitoring changes of IBS while on holidays because you do eat differently. Different food, water, pace, time of day, activity, stress, etc all could play a part. Why don't you try adjusting to smaller meals and slow eating at home to see if you can replicate the effects?

Hi runswithdogs

Thanks for reply. Having experienced the changes, I do intend to try and make the adjustment to my usual eating habits.

On thinking about it further , I started thinking why I was satisfied with smaller portions abroad. I play a lot of Golf and because of IBS D , I tend to eat little before going to play and mostly skip lunch, all to avoid any D problems mid game. I think that I am then overly hungry and eat way too much in the evening. So yes I need to alter this. It still seems odd that eating a much healthier diet appears worse than than the very unhealthy one abroad--maybe this would not stand up long term though.



I think stress is one of the reasons we develop IBS so on holiday you're relaxed and enjoying life. I heard the benefits of the sun are great to reduce down IBS problems too.

Will1234 in reply to Katytenr

Thanks, for replying Katytenr.

I don't think stress or lack of it was involved on this occasion. If anything there was more stress but sun may have helped. I have only been home three days and old symptoms are returning.

Must be something in the diet or water.



Hi Will1234,

Perhaps you should consider moving to Tenerife?! Seriously though, something was helping you to feel better so it would be interesting to see if you can replicate it at home.

I try and eat healthily but sometimes you wonder if it's worth it. If you work out what it was let us know! 🙂

Will1234 in reply to Mc89

Hi Mc89,

I would consider moving to Tenerife but in reality it would not work. My wife would not want to leave family here and live away. My golf hobby would also suffer at the prices for golf there , although the weather would be a big plus.

Yes I will have to try and replicate what we did with eating habits when away.

To-day , for some reason ,the bad old symptoms were back. Not terrible but

they have returned after eating and I did not feel nearly so well ,with gas ,stomach ache and a bit nauseous . To be honest , it feels quite depressing.

The only thing I have noticed so far is that since returning home we have had potatoes and vegetables ,whereas , other than chips I had no potatoes and very little veg.

Thanks for replying and if I ever manage to work it out , I will post details to let you know.


Most of my triggers are fruits and vegetables. Have you done any elimination diets (FODMAPS, etc)? You might have similar sensitivities.

Hi runswithdogs,

Interesting , re triggers being fruits and vegetables, could perhaps be that these foods are also triggers for me.

I have not tried FODMAPS seriously . My wife , not a fan and says it would be too much trouble to deal with special diets for me.

With that in mind though, I do try to cut out obvious triggers but sometimes, I feel it is just any food that can cause problems. For example , sometimes I might have ice cream or a coffee with no problem , then on another occasion have the same and it is hardly in my system minutes before it wants to leave urgently.



Yes, it's frustrating with food that is okay one day and not the next. Or different brands can also have different effects - at least for me.

The elimination diet is tough, I cooked my meals separate from my boyfriend while I was doing it, which was extra hard on me because he usually does the cooking. So I understand why it's tough to commit to, I put it off for months. In the meantime, a food diary might go a long way to help you. And if you do have a bad bout, check the veggies to see if there on the FODMAPS list. Good luck.

Hi runswithdogs,

Thanks for reply and info. I will certainly be checking against FODMAPS as you suggest. I think the odd thing is why something seems fine one day but seems to have such awful results on another day.

I guess we just have to keep trying .

All the best.


I've had full time "IBS" to varying degrees for 2 years now - 6 months of eliminating FODMAPS was inconclusive yet seemed to show an intolerance for wheat and garlic, as well as chilli and peppers. AND YET on 2 occasions now I have gone to the USA and literally within a day I am entirely symptom free, despite eating EVERYTHING. Within a day of returning to the UK the symptoms return. Like you, I reject the stress argument - on my last visit I had all kinds of stresses, including an emergency root canal! What the hell is the underlying cause, I wonder?!

Hi the reason I searched this topic is I think exactly the same! I have just returned from France and Spain for 5 weeks. I felt great whilst there and same I ate so much of what I normally would steer clear from including alcohol. And weirdly no symptoms at all no gas, gurgling stomach etc etc. So strange. I have been back just over a week and it’s all started again all day everyday and I’m so windy and bloated. Worst at night. Not sure if the bread, milk, preservatives are different in Spain? Or if the sunshine cures Ibs I just can’t decide?! Surely more people have noticed this. X

Hi. I had a very similar experience, wondering if you'd gotten to the bottom of it yet?! I studied abroad in Spain for a year and my IBS completely disappeared. Nothing triggered it, I ate unhealthy had all my usual triggers, plenty of alcohol etc. and was completely fine the whole time. Then as soon as I moved back to England the IBS came back. Granted it was not quite as bad as before I went to Spain but gradually it returned to its previous level. I can't seem to workout what it was. I did lose weight out there possibly due to the amount of walking I did so not sure if it's down to the exercise? Or the increased amount of water I drank due to the heat? Or the heat and sun itself? Or that there's a difference in the food over there? I would also like to add it was not down to lack of stress because I had plenty of that throughout the year! If you have gotten any further with figuring this out please let me know!

Will1234 in reply to Speedy247

Sorry Speedy247 , never solved it . Another thought though , maybe more vitamin D or such like from the better sunny weather and more time outdoors .

Speedy247 in reply to Will1234

Ah no worries! I'm thinking the same, so going to try and take vitamin D supplements, drink more water and start to properly exercise. I'll let you know if I see any improvements.

Will1234 in reply to Speedy247

Yes , worth a try . I think you just have to keep trying things and hope something helps .

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