Suitable holidays for IBS sufferers?

I have quite bad IBS (little warning of needing the loo etc.) My wife does not suffer at all and, although she understands the problem, she finds the debilitating nature of it really frustrating as it shuts down options. Can anyone suggest a successful holiday that would suit us, with general access to the loo during travel as well as the holiday itself? The nearest we have found so far is canal boating but we would like to go further afield.

13 Replies

  • Ibsguy. What have you tried diet wise to control your BMs?

  • I have had the problem over 30 years - I've had all the tests now and nothing shows up, hence the diagnosis of IBS. It could also be linked with gall bladder removal too. The symptoms cause anxiety which, of course, make the symptoms worse. at first, I am sure that close friends thought it was all psychologically induced but the symptoms are real enough. Have tried lots of regimes where I excluded certain food groups, with little or temporary success and have a dietician appointment next week, which may help.

  • Hi,

    When you see the dietitian, be sure to ask about the low-FODMAP diet if she doesn't mention it first. It works brilliantly for a lot of us on here and it's just been made easier by the fact that at long last the NHS is getting behind it.


  • I'm the same as you which is why I only holiday in this country. Always plan the route to get there and work out where all services, toilets and rest stops are between a-b. having the knowledge before hand and preparing yourself really helps to minimise the stress which in turn stops your Ibs from fluctuating. With thus in mind you can really go anywhere. Always stay in ensuite nothing worse than having to share a bathroom. Most of all try to relax I know easier said than done and your wife will just have to understand or the other option is you have seperate holidays as well as a joint one so she can then go the things she wants.

  • People don't understand how debilitating this is do they? My wife had a tummy bug recently and was toilet bound for a day or so. I think this is the first time that she really understood the day to day anxiety of this disorder.

    Even being in a different town causes me problems - it must be anxiety on a subconscious level I guess. When I was younger I traveled a lot, mountaineered and lived life to the full. I try to do things now but even simple things such as motorway travel can be daunting and I am a shadow of what I used to be.

    My wife and I have different tastes in holidays, and she has gone with other friends before, but it is her 50th coming up and we want to share somewhere special - she would ideally like to go to New York but, for me, this has issues.

  • Hi ibsguy, as Roz said FODMAPS has worked a treat for quite a few on here. If I were you I'd try this right! Then when you go to your dietician next week you can let them know if these few days have helped. Onions, garlic are the main culprits, but there are lists on line of good and not so good foods...Roz posted some links in other her other posts so tale a look. Seriously give it a go. I bet you find your old self again:-)

  • Many thanks for the encouragement and support - I should have looked for long term solutions years ago instead of looking for medication that would make things right. I will look into FODMAPS asap and will give it a try. I am determined to get a 'normal' holiday next spring........I just hope we get a spring in the UK this year; the signs don't look too good at the moment!

  • Hi,

    Ibsr is right, there's nothing to stop you giving this diet a go straightaway. There's some pretty poor info about it out there on the web, but the best site is at: This is the site for Monash Uni in Australia where the diet was developed. There’s a lot of info on there, plus if you have an iPhone there’s a really useful app you can download. Patsy Catsos's book 'IBS - Free At Last' (available from Amazon) also gives excellent guidance, food lists, recipes and a plan to follow.

    Basically, the low FODMAP diet initially cuts out 5 food groups: fructans, fructose, lactose, oligos and polyols. It works brilliantly for me, and gives me 98% control over my symptoms. I found a few other triggers outside of these groups (most notably rice and oats), but these were easily identifiable once I’d solved the main problem.


  • That's good to hear. I think we are all in the same boat..Drs passing us off with drugs and telling us its all in our mind...if that was the case FODMAPS would not work.

    Good luck and keep us updated :-) Roll on spring and summer too!

  • Have you tried doing a fly drive and hiring a camper van? I have my own van which I bought when my IBS became crippling and it allowed me to still mosey around Europe without too much stress. I did a US fly drive a couple of years ago and hired a Winnebago and had a great time.

    On the downside, there's a lot of places I'd love to go such as India and Thailand that just aren't feasible but as with all things IBS, gotta make the best of what you can do!

  • Good advice. It had gone through my mind. Thanks.

  • I have had the same issue and suffered what can only be described as sheer panic at the thought of going away!!!! I keep trying only for the sake of my poor husband who regularly suffers at the hands of my ibs.

    Firstly, flying is not as scary as you think. I've done a couple of trips with ibs now and have found there are toilets at every stage of the journey. Book aisle seats, express security lane tickets where possible and explain the situation to an air hostess who in my experience have been really supportive.

    I would only now book hotels with a good bar and comfortable room so if I'm having a really bad day or night we can relax without the pressure of going too far a field. Also consider the availability of food - cheap buffets will contain hidden ingredients that will set you off but other places allow you the option of plain chicken, veg, salads etc that are much safer. Research is definitely key!!!

    Finally, take plenty of Imodium, rehydration sachets and any other medication with you. I've just had 4 days in Paris and after a particularly bad morning in the toilet I managed to get out and about again with the help of a few hours in the hotel relaxing, lots of Imodium, water and switching to a really plain diet.

    Good luck!!!!

  • Hi. Travelling is always an issue. Need for loo=stress=further need for loo unfortunately. When I travel, I just don't eat, even on longer flights. It always seems that, when the seat belt sign pings on, I need to visit the loo! One of the difficulties I have is that I can be fine one moment and then, within minutes I can be desperate to go. Thanks for the advice.

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