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Avoiding the trots. (diarrhoea)

Travel Forums General Talk Avoiding the trots. (diarrhoea)

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1. Posted by si403 (Full Member 128 posts) 7y

I've been to India and Thailand and both times I have had this problem for probably half the trip (of about 3 weeks). Me and my friends practically eat the same stuff from the same places, and I am usually the one who ends up legging it to the toilet every ten minutes. InThailand i loved the food but often had to skip meals. And in India i must have had full on food poisoning as me (and later my friend) had sudden bouts of sickness and hot/cold fevers.

Where ever possible we eat at 'decent looking' places. We use hand sterilising gel.

I am keen for some advice as it often strikes when I least expect/am prepared for it. ie, on boats, safaris, bus journeys, and I am going on a 3 week trip to seeas much of Costa Rica as possible.

How else can i avoid this?

Thanks for any advice.

2. Posted by baluba (Respected Member 407 posts) 7y

I never have this problem myself but a friend of mine swears by taking a probiotic called 'Acidophilus'. She starts taking it at least a week before she goes, then daily throughout the trip.
Not sure where she gets it from, but there are several sites on the internet selling it.

No doubt you do the usual:
Bottled water
No ice
If you can't boil it or peel it - don't eat it
etc...

You should take a squit remedy with you like Immodium and Dioralyte, remember to keep up your fluid intake, especially if you are in a hot country etc. etc.....don't want to sound like your mother!!

Good luck and enjoy Costa Rica

3. Posted by BedouinLeo (Inactive 698 posts) 7y

I am very lucky that my job takes me to faraway places quite ergularly. What the first reply person said was very good advice. Hand steriliser is a must for travellers going to places where tummy troubles are frequent. If you keep your hands and gaps between your fingers clean at all times and only eat well cooked food and fruit that needs peeling before eating you should do well. I am always being sent on so called courses about health and safety overseas and one of the things thats mentioned the most is hygeine and cleanliness. Its so easy to have a bit of dirt or bacteria on your hands and in hot smelly cities it can breed much faster and be a stronger bug. Clean hands with a proper gel or cream and it cuts the risk down dramatically of getting into trouble.

4. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

The info in both Claire's (baluba) and BedouinLeo's posts is spot on. What I'm about to say (next) will probably illicit the "eeewwwww!!!" factor but...

Within the past year (can't remember exactly when but will try to find the results to post a link), a university collected random samples of the "stuff under one's fingernails" from people on the street in New York City. They chose an equal number of male and female subjects across all lines of work. They were testing for fecal material. Guess what they found... Yup. Men proved to be less vigilant in hand-washing than women and women did use hand sanitizers more often than men. Regardless, just keep in mind that the person preparing your food may not have washed their hands very well.

Now to the "not so eeewww" stuff. Acidophilus is a bacteria that is naturally found in the intestinal tract. It's one, of several, that makes sure your system ticks on a timely basis. Lactobacillus acidophilus is the main bacteria used to turn milk into yogurt. (Though there are others also and all are considered "probiotics".) It is sold in liquid form and also in capsule form. Most health food stores, pharmacies and even the pharmacy areas of WalMart/ASDA should carry the capsules. Look in the vitamin and nutritional supplements aisle. It will help regulate the bacteria in your intestinal tract unless you have really ingested a bacteria (ie: salmonella, etc.) that produce food poisoning.

I'm sure this one will come back to haunt me down the road by admitting it, but here goes.
I suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. It will flair when least expected with similar symptoms to yours. (Obviously, not for the same reasons but I understand your frustration - especially when traveling.) Diarrhea (regardless of the cause) stems from the over-production of "gastric juices" and fluids by the intestines. It's basically "flooding" your digestive system. The same fiber, whether it be in powder or tablet form, that one might use for constipation also works for diarrhea. (Fiber is so useful!) (Okay - another eeewww thing on it's way.) The fiber absorbs liquid so it works as a stool softener. It also does exceptionally well at absorbing the excess fluid to help form stools. There is your biology lesson for the day. More than you had ever hoped for, I'm sure.

I recommend trying the acidophilus capsules (as described by Claire above). If that does not work completely, add the fiber capsules as they are easier to cart around than a container of fiber powder than needs to be mixed with water and drunk immediately. (Trust me - let it sit for a minute and you'll be trying to drink thick gelatin. Ooohhhh - let one sit in some water - it will show you how effectively it does the job.) The fiber capsules will be in the same aisle as the acidophilus capsules - if not - check the laxative aisle.

5. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 7y

My good South African wine tastes awful from now on. Thanks Isa

6. Posted by si403 (Full Member 128 posts) 7y

thanks for the advice. I will try and find this stuff although i haven't heard of some of it.

We sometimes have ice in our drinks only when we know it is not tap water, ie, comes out of a bag (we usually ask), and always used bottled water even for brushing teeth.

My friend ate a banana off some lady in India, and within 5 minutes he went white as a sheet (not exaggeratin here, he went really really white), needed the toilet (with no time to spare sort of thing), and later that night was sick (as I was a few days before). do you think this was the banana or just coincidence?

7. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 7y

Was the banana peeled or something?

8. Posted by Isadora (Travel Guru 13926 posts) 7y

Quoting si403

thanks for the advice. I will try and find this stuff although i haven't heard of some of it.

We sometimes have ice in our drinks only when we know it is not tap water, ie, comes out of a bag (we usually ask), and always used bottled water even for brushing teeth.

My friend ate a banana off some lady in India, and within 5 minutes he went white as a sheet (not exaggeratin here, he went really really white), needed the toilet (with no time to spare sort of thing), and later that night was sick (as I was a few days before). do you think this was the banana or just coincidence?

Chances are quite good that your friend's situation was one of coincidence. There are very few things - and I can't even think of one presently - that would cause such an immediate response. It takes a bit of time for food (even small amounts such as a banana) to leave the stomach and enter the rest of the digestive tract. Though, your friend may think twice before eating another banana in India just because of his experience. Consider your own response time, which probably begins a few hours, rather than minutes, after your have eaten a meal.

Have a great time in CR!

9. Posted by Peter (Admin 5789 posts) 7y

Off the top of my head, since I was looking into it recently, although Acidophilus is a good idea, you can also get probiotics tablets from a chemist with a variety of different helpful bacteria in them. And the *number* of organisms is apparently the big differentiating factor between the variety of tablets available.

Inner Health Plus is an example of an over-the-counter one in Australia. Each capsule has..

12.5 Billion Lactobacillus Acidophilus (NCFM) organisms
12.5 Billion Bifidobacterium Lactis organisms
67 mg Colostrum Powder - Bovine

It seems with these things, the more bacteria the merrier :) And apparently, if you go to a naturopath they can give you a prescription for tablets with much, much more in it. But that is probably more useful after a course of antibiotics. A course of probiotics is often recommended (by naturopaths at least) after a course of antibiotics.

Anyway, I'd give the probiotics a go. A lot of people swear by them.

10. Posted by si403 (Full Member 128 posts) 7y

thanks for the advice. any idea where (which shops/online) these are available from in the UK?