| Got gas on the plane? Here are 6 tips for travelling with IBS

Cramps, diarrhoea, gas, bloating… You don’t want to be stuck on a 12-hour plane trip or driving through Namibia when IBS symptoms strike. 

Although IBS can be unpredictable, it doesn’t mean you can’t travel. Here are six simple tips to help you get through your next trip.

1. Know your symptoms

IBS shouldn’t stop from travelling. Being prepared can help you reduce your risk of feeling sick, gastroenterologist Dr Brian Kirsh says on Cleveland Clinic. IBS symptoms differ from person to person – some people suffer from cramping, while others have excessive gas, constipation or diarrhoea. Dr Kirsh says you should know how to identify your unique symptoms so that you’re prepared if an attack hits. 

2. Pack your own food

You know your body so you will probably know what triggers your IBS symptoms. If you have IBS, steer clear of fast food. If you’re flying, pack your own food and snacks for the trip, and avoid eating the food served on the plane. 

Digestive health coach Jen Broyles, who suffers from IBS, shares this advice on her website: “By packing your own food you can make sure you’re avoiding inflammatory ingredients like gluten, dairy, soy, and industrial seed oils that can wreak havoc on your GI system.” 

A woman packs her lunch

3. Be prepared for an attack

Although an IBS flare-up can happen at any time, there are a few things you can do to prepare. If diarrhoea is one of your symptoms, always carry Imodium; and pack laxatives if constipation is a problem. Wherever you find yourself, make it a priority to locate the nearest bathroom in case you need to go suddenly. When you’re flying, always book the aisle seat so you can get up quickly without having to climb over other passengers. You can also ask for a seat near the bathroom.

Sign pointing to bathrooms

4. Keep moving

Sitting for too long can worsen your symptoms, causing more bloating and constipation. Broyles suggests walking around while you wait for your flight. Make sure you get up and stretch your legs as often as you can during the flight. If you’re driving, take regular breaks and make sure you walk around a bit at each pit stop. 

5. Find ways to relax

Although stress will not cause IBS, it can make your symptoms worse. “Any stress can throw off your gastrointestinal tract. There is definitely a brain-gut connection,” says Dr Kirsh. “The gastrointestinal tract is more connected to the brain than any other organ system.” Meditation, deep breathing, exercise or even just listening to your favourite music can help. 

Man relaxing next to a river

6. Don’t experiment with new foods

You probably know which foods or drinks make your symptoms worse – avoid those while you’re on holiday. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders warns that fried food or food high in fat can aggravate IBS symptoms, much like coffee, caffeine or alcohol. When eating out in restaurants, order foods you are familiar and comfortable with – this is not the time to experiment with new foods.

Family eating at a restaurant

All images provided by iStock. | 5 foods that stop hair loss

Seeing more strands in your brush than usual? While contending with bald spots and thinning tresses is stressful, there is hope: Research shows that it’s possible to thicken hair back up through dietary changes.

Fill your plate with the following foods, which are rich in proven hair-growth nutrients.

1. Salmon 

Hair is a protein fibre (as are nails), which means you need to eat protein to grow new strands and keep the existing ones strong. Protein is also required to produce keratin, a key structural component of hair.

A smart choice is marine-based protein, like salmon, which has been shown to boost hair health in women thanks to its omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin content.

Read more: This Is What Causes Male Baldness – And How To Stop It

2. Honey 

When used as a topical treatment, honey can improve the look of thinning hair. In a study of patients experiencing seborrheic dermatitis, which includes scaling, itching, and hair loss, those who applied a solution of 90% honey and 10% water to their scalp every other day for four weeks reported an improvement in hair loss at the end of the study.

3. Oysters

Zinc seems to be a super nutrient when it comes to preventing and treating hair loss. In one study, researchers compared the zinc levels of 50 people with hair loss due to alopecia areata to 50 healthy controls and found that all of the alopecia patients had significantly lower zinc levels. Another study examined the zinc and copper levels in 312 men and women experiencing hair loss. No matter the cause of the hair loss, all subjects had significantly lower zinc levels than controls.

Read more: What To Do If You’re Going Bald

Fortunately, zinc supplementation and eating plenty of zinc-rich foods can slow hair loss in the majority of these cases, so it’s a good idea to add it to your diet. According to the National Institutes of Health, oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food. Other food sources of zinc include walnuts, spinach, eggs, sunflower seeds, green peas, wheat germ, oatmeal and chickpeas.

4. Oils

Pumpkin, rosemary, and coconut oils all act as nectar to the scalp. In one study, researchers gave men with hair loss 400mg per day of pumpkin seed oil or a placebo for 24 weeks. Those who took the pumpkin seed oil experienced a 40% increase in hair growth.

And there’s something to be said for oils even when you don’t eat them: When used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product, coconut oil has been shown to protect hair against protein loss, and rosemary oil has been shown to increase hair growth comparable to minoxidil, the main ingredient in Rogaine—and with less scalp itching.

5. Seaweed

A recent study found that a supplement containing cistanche tubulosa (a desert plant used in traditional Chinese medicine) and laminaria japonica (an edible brown seaweed) promoted hair growth in people with mild to moderate hair loss. After 16 weeks of supplementation, volunteers saw a 13% increase in hair volume and a 27% increase in hair thickness. The supplement was also effective at treating scalp inflammation and dandruff.

This content was originally published on Image provided by iStock.