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Anxiety about going on holiday

Hi all,

I go on holiday at the end of the week and I’m really 10000% dreading it. Last time I was on holiday I couldn’t eat or drink anything. All the holiday was was embarrassment and pain. I’m only going for 4 days which is giving my slight reassurance but I really am bricking it - which most of you will know is an instant trigger for IBS.

I was wondering if anyone has any tricks or advice that can help me through. I’ve stocked up on Imodium and codiene in the hopes of “bunging up” my stomach as much as possible, to prevent the constant need to be near the loo. I’ve heard peppermint tea is good but it doesn’t do much for me personally. Anything that prevents diarrhoea and bungs up will be great. Also anything that prevents gas and pain will be really great.

I really want to enjoy myself and not let IBS consume another fun occasion for me, we’ve got loads planned an I’d hate to be “THAT” person.

Please please help! Any advice is welcomed.

34 Replies
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Hi, I suffer from anxiety, IBS and bladder problems those three definitely don’t work well together! I find buscopan help with my IBS hope you find something that will help and hope you have a lovely holiday xx

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Thank you! I’ve bought some buscopan today so hoping it helps xxx

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I always take Imodium and eat only things I know are 100% safe for me

Also, I knows it sounds like a dumb advice, but try not to stress too much over it, I often get anxious and it seems to make matters worse

So enjoy your holiday, eat what makes you feel ok and have fun

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Stress and anxiety makes it worse for me too, I wish I could just switch it off! Can manage at home because you’re around your comforts and in a routine but I always suffer when away. I think it’s the psychological effects of knowing you’re completely out of your comfort zone.

I also don’t know what foods trigger me, could you suggest anything to avoid or anything that’s safe? Thank you xx

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Peppermint tea never did anything for me but now I drin T2 tummy tea and it works wonders. Didn’t fix the problem but helps

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I have this problem when it comes to pretty much any event however holiday stress is the worst. I will leave off or reduce my meds (amitritilyne and loperamide) in the hope that it will encourage my bowels to remove everything. I will have a couple of days near to the bathroom and then start bunging myself back up again with the meds. Then on the day of travel I won’t eat anything as the stress of air travel upsets me. I might have a dry biscuit if I’m really hungry. Then once on holiday hopefully the meds have worked and I will just be super mindful about what I eat and drink. I always lose weight on holidays as I do get scared of problems occurring so don’t tend to eat too much but that’s they way I get through x I hope you can relax enough to enjoy your holidays xx

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The stress of an upcoming event is definitely a trigger for me too, really sucks the fun out of getting excited for things! I don’t know what foods trigger me which is the real issue so just trying to eat as little as possible in the run up and stored up on Imodium!

Thanks so much for the advice xxx

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It’s so hard and really does take the fun out of a trip. Thankfully my husband and kids know and fully understand what I’m going through as they have both seen first hand how it effects me, unfortunately......!

I can’t eat greasy food, burgers, chips, dairy etc. If I eat out I will order a grilled chicken breast burger and literally eat half of it. I find that over eating is a big trigger no matter the content so eat til you know you can manage til the next meal. Dry biscuits like the breakfast biscuits from Asda are perfect for me and I will take them with me on holidays this year just for my breakie whilst everyone else is eating x I can manage a bit of bread so a baguette is ok but i have to manage the filling. Nothing creamy nothing mayonnaise just simple dry ish foods x I can have things like bean such as kidney beans so maybe look at vegan foods as they may be ok and I’m ok with rice so look at that as a side dish??

Just try and enjoy yourself as much as you can xx

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The other thing that happens with me is I panic. Which doesn’t help one bit as the stress triggers it and it’s like a vicious circle. I can recommend you downloading a mindful app or deep breathing app. If you find yourself in a position where there is no bathroom or just generally stressed use it, it does help me as I have started having panic attacks with mine so the deep breathing one helps me to focus and bring myself back from the edge of panic. Also extra strong mints. These are my life saver, I go no where without a packet as the peppermint calms my stomach and the sucking refocuses my mind. Sounds a bit daft and my dentist hates me for it but it does work for me..

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I really feel your pain. I feel exactly the same. I dread going on holiday for exactly the same reasons. Its a shame that something that should be fun is spoiled by anxiety and constant trips to the loo. I am afraid I don't have any answers for you but would be keen to know if anyone else does! I take imodium but I have to be careful or the bung me up and then I get the most horrendous cramps.

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It’s so frustrating! You book a holiday and get excited, and then it all daunts on you and excited is the last thing you feel 😞

I’ve stocked up on buscopan and Imodium, also codiene helps for IBS-D but absolutely not for IBS-C! I’ll keep you updated with any tricks that help x

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Hi healthkick 1973 wear ladies protection pants(tena) for example and don't eat anything with sugar in i.e.desserts, sweets, ice-cream, etc. If you have not tried the FODMAP regime of eating, look it up on the internet then read the book. It worked for me and when you read the book you will see why foods affect you. I even found a doctor who knew about it the other day, wonders will never cease. So from this moment no sugar!!! Sorry to say vegetables have sugar in also, my advice like someone else said, small mounts of any one item. Have good time.

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Hey eastbourne11,

Are there any foods that you eat and find to be safe that you recommend? X

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Hi Healthkick1973 you should be able to eat steak and chips, chicken - not in a sauce, scrape it off, lamb, battered cod, haddock, plaice, salmon, trout. Until you know what is in sauces, avoid them. Rice. You can eat fruit but small quantities. Half an apple, 3 grapes. No biscuits unless they are savory ones, even those have sugar in sometimes, so just 1 or 2.only eat 1 piece of fruit at a meal. Good luck. ( take a look at the FODMAP sheets on the internet, very easy to read).

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I am also the same on holiday, always loose weight as don't eat much, not a thing the full day/night of travel. I limit my alcohol intake also (what is the point of me actually going on holiday!!) we can only go away for trips every other day so I can eat/ drink then have next day near loo take loads of medicine then very light, little amounts of food day before trip then on trip back to starving myself again. I found peppermint capsules very good at settling my stomach and when on bus to trip I focus on my breathing and staying calm. Holidays are horrendous, I feel your pain. Good luck xx

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Heading off on a hen do so limiting the alcohol intake isn’t really an option, although I know full well it makes me ill! Just a horrible situation as no one really understands just how painful, embarrassing and life effecting it can be!! On holiday of all places too, it seems to be maximised for me greatly.

Something that’s suppose to be so fun eh!! Any foods that you avoid or like to eat on holiday? Thanks for the message xxx

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I avoid wine at all cost as really upsets my stomach and makes me go to the loo especially the next day, also any drink with fresh orange juice is a no no for me.

I also have recently cut out onions and feel that has helped along with taking the peppermint capsules, which I really was surprised with as they have helped me loads. I would also avoid fatty foods especially pizza for me, spices etc All the good stuff 😩 and I never take breakfast, toastie at lunch then very light dinner. Drink lots of water.

I also always have baby wipes in my bag along with spare under wear, which stops me stressing a little as I know I am prepared for the worst!!! What a way to live!

Stressing about it and always thinking about it makes it worse, such a viscous circle, hopefully you will be having that much fun you will relax and have a great time 🤞 Good luck. Xx

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I find I take Immodium and Paracetamol on stressful occasions. Had a big dental appointment last week and was up 4 times in the night. Immodium got me through. Another idea is to perhaps wear 2 pads for anxiety and 'safety', and in the hope that maybe our minds are quirky and if the mind knows there is no chance of discomfort and embarrassment, it might just not play up the gut!! Wishful thinking maybe but worth a try!

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Wishful but maybe accurate!! I find my IBS is massively psychological, almost as if it knows when to creep up in the most inconvenient occasions. So reverse-psyching our brain might just work! Thanks for the advice Dachshund xx

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Hello, I found travelling a nightmare but working in travel I had to find a way to cope. I made myself an IBS survival kit!!! This consits of a box of Imodium which is great but I take out of the box and have it in a little pouch so no one can see what im taking so its not embarrasing. A Hand held fan (manual one not battery) - this may sound strange but I find if i start to feel anxious about the situation or start to feel it come on i use the fan to cool me down and stop the panic and it honestly works. As it cools me down from the sweating from panicking it starts to calm me and im concentrating on fanning myself and not my bowels. A radar Key - This key is used to open Disabled toilets which we are entitled to use and has come in so handy so many times i cant tell you and it costs less than £5 to get one. and last but not least a bottle of water - i take little sips and that seems to help also. When booking my seats on the plane I always pre book an isle seat near the toilet. If im sat in the middle of the plane I start to panic but if near the toilet im kind of stress free. I always book fast track through security at the airport so that i dont have to que and this literally costs about £3!!! I do anything that will be less stressful while travelling. And just watch what you are eating while your away.

I hope this helps.

Anna x

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Omg what a wonderful and thoughtful reply!! This has really reassured me knowing that there people like me out there, thanks for taking the time Anna! I’m 100% going to take your advice. What do you mean by watch what you eat? I don’t really know my triggers yet as I’m only 20, is there anything you would avoid or find safe when abroad?

Thanks again Anna x

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I was in my 20's when I started so I honestly understand what your going through. With regards to the food side of things the thing that helped me and still does is keeping a food diary. when you have a flare up or your running to the bathroom have a look back at what you have eaten that day and you can start to work things out and eliminate things. Onion and garlic are bad for bloating with most people I think and things like spicy foods are known to upset your tummy. They say to stay clear of caffeine so try have decaf coffee for a bit and see how you are. As frustrating as it sounds it just a process of elimination. I have a food help sheet if you would like me to email that to you? I found it really helpful, just let me know xx

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I’ve been told to keep a food diary but I just never do. In my day-to-day life I try to avoid the thought of IBS altogether so it doesn’t make me “the girl with IBS”. I know it’s stupid but it’s the only control I have with this condition! A food help sheet would be really amazing! I’ll PM you my email address

Thank you so much xxx

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I get what you mean, its hard but trust me with the food diary its the best thing to help know what not to eat. perfect ill send you it through x

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My sympathies - I'm the same and now can't even consider the thought of going on holiday and away from my comfort zone! I also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks plus the dreaded IBS - probably a chicken and egg situation! I use Imodium when necessary which stops the need to dash to the loo, but was also advised by my doctor son in law that Codeine Phosphate helps the stomach spasms as they cause stress when I have to go out. IT WORKS nearly always thankfully. I know we are all different and what suits one person may not suit another, but ask your doctor for Codeine Phosphate 15 mg to see if it works for you. xx

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Hey Josephine!

I get prescribed codeine and it is a great bulking agent in the stomach for me, I basically rely on it but unfortunately does nothing for the stomach cramps in my case! Yet to find something to combat the gas, acid reflux and horrendous cramps!!

I really hope you get your IBS in to gear and feel able and comfortable to book a holiday soon xxx

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@josephinemarion Hello ..first time i hear about codeine phosphates !! does it work better than Buscopan in controlling and calming the gut spasms ?? does it decrease the frequency to ( go ) ?? do we need a prescription for this ?? not even sure if this medicine is available in my country ..but if we can buy it directly from the pharmacy without prescription , i will let some of my family members or friends who study in London to get it for me ?? it has been one year for me stuck in the house without the ability even to go to a dentist to treat a tooth decay because of my severe ibs /d and anexiety altogether 😳😳

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Hi! I found both Mebeverin and Buscopan didn't help me at all but Codeine Phosphate 15mg works. It calms my stomach when I go out, reduces my stress and seems to stop the spasms (and the frequency of dashing to the loo!) It was recommended to me by my GP son-in-law, and when I requested it from my own doctor he prescribed it for me. I don't know if it is on sale at the chemists, I'm afraid but do ask your own doctor. It's certainly worth trying. I do hope you are able to get it and that it helps you. xxx

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I would 100% reccomend too. Mebeverine was prescribed to me at first which didn’t do anything at all, it felt like a placebo drug! And then my doctor suggested codiene and it works absolute miracles for IBS-D but would street clear for IBS-C as it causes constipation. It bungs you up nicely though if you’re swinging on the other side of IBS, I just wouldn’t overdo it as that’s when you’ll be straining and the need to go makes cramps 10x worse! Xx

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Thank you so much 🌹 will definitely ask my doctor about it.

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Hi Healthkick73,

No point saying dont worry about this cos i know thats impossible.

When i go on holiday what always works for me isl a light diet the day before travelling. Then 1imodium the evening before you fly and 1 imodium in the morning you fly. That should hopefully prevent any urgent visits to the loo . Whatever you decide dont take imodium every day cos the more you dont go to the loo, the more you will ' back up 'and give yourself stomach ache. Try n judge things for yourself.

Going away just for 4 days trying what i suggest should be ok for you.

Good luck n let me know.

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I’ve stocked up well and truly on Imodium, even to the point where I’ve prepared myself to be massively uncomfortable and with severe gas induced cramps for the next weekend but all for a good cause ... 😐

Taking an Imodium now before bed. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks for the message x

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Take with you whatever medication helps you the most. Carry a small bag of Spare clothing on every out doors tour or trip you make. Avoid major trigger foods. Ice cream is a bad one for me. I love ice cream, so it's tough, but I have paid the price for not being careful. I have Spent nights on hotel toilets with the most awful cramps. Loose comfortable clothing is best to allow food to move down at normal speed with less pain. Sitting up properly while eating at restarants. Every little helps.trying to relax you are on your hols. The fodmap diet is the latest help out there for IBS sufferers. You can loosely follow it while you are away. Garlic and Onions avoid like the plague. If poss stay in an apartment or villa. Then you can control what you eat more. Have a great holiday. 😊

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Don't forget being prepared is the key. So no moments.

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