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Brits would rather cancel a holiday then risk tummy upset

by The Travel Magazine

The terror of being ‘caught short’ is so acute in people suffering from poor gut health, they’d rather cancel a holiday than risk not being able to find a toilet in time. If this describes you, then you are not alone.

Research unveiled by PrecisionBiotics highlights the plight of some of the UK’s 12m adults who have a sensitive gut.

The research found that 13 per cent (aged 16-55+) of people suffering from poor gut health has cancelled a holiday and 10 per cent have cancelled a flight, such is their anxiety about locating and getting to a toilet quickly. Younger sufferers are even more likely to forego a trip, with 20 per cent of 16-24-year-olds cancelling holidays rather than suffering the embarrassment of not getting to the toilet.

Travelling worries with unpredictable digestive health can be two-fold. Firstly, there’s the fact that long journeys, with their environmental changes and unfamiliar food and drink, can disturb gut microbes. At best this causes discomfort; at worst it triggers excruciating abdominal pain, wind and unpredictable bowel movements. And the anxiety of anticipating problems can actually exacerbate symptoms.

The second issue is the noticeable stomach bloating that so often accompanies the other symptoms. This can force sufferers to shy away from wearing light-weight summer clothes and beach-wear – making a holiday more of a trial than a treat.

Prepare your gut

However, the good news is that all these embarrassing scenarios can be minimised with some simple pre-holiday prep. Gastroenterologists (gut health specialists) and dietitians recommend arming your digestive system with probiotics to combat the harmful effects of unfamiliar gut bacteria.

Sophie Medlin is a registered dietitian and clinical lead at CityDietitians says

“By lowering your risk before embarking on your travels with a healthy intestinal environment, you give yourself a better chance of maintaining health while away.

“Foods that feed our healthy gut bacteria are known as prebiotic foods and these are mostly the indigestible matter from plants, including wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds. Ideally, we should be including these foods on a regular basis all year round.”


She adds:

“It takes a long time for your gut bacteria to adapt to dietary changes, so we should keep plenty of prebiotics in our diet all the time. If you’re travelling somewhere high risk and you’ve been slacking on your fibre intake, get moving with the dietary changes as soon as you book your ticket.

“Hydration is also important, particularly if you do get diarrhoea or sickness while away. When the bowel isn’t working properly because of a bug, it cannot do its jobs properly. The colon has two main jobs – one is to absorb water and the other is to absorb salts – which means we need to make sure we’re replacing both the water and the salts if we get ‘traveller’s tummy’.”


  1. It is advisable to ‘pre-load’ the gut with a probiotic such as Alflorex: It contains the 35624 culture – a naturally occurring bacterial strain that is clinically proven to help people with gut symptoms.
  2. It is also important to drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Stick to bottled water if there is any question about water safety. This is particularly important if you get traveller upset or diarrhoea. 

NOTE: A 30-day supply fits in the palm of the hand in a micro-light protective canister. They are liquid-free and don’t need to be refrigerated.  A monthly supply of Alflorex costs £24.99 

MORE INFO: www.precisionbiotics.com.






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