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Digestive problems abroad: causes and tips

Dr. Adrian Weingart

Digestive problems abroad: causes and tips

Causes of digestive problems and tips for healthy digestion abroad: What you should definitely consider abroad to keep your digestion in balance and to prevent digestive problems caused by foreign bacteria.

Causes of digestive problems abroad

Whether it's a business trip, family vacation or backpacking around the world, bacteria such as Escherichia coli species, Shigella and Salmonella are common triggers of digestive problems. They lurk everywhere and can quickly make the planned trip unenjoyable. Risk regions such as Latin America, Africa and Asia in particular can put a great deal of strain on the body.

Every year 80 million travelers suffer from digestive problems abroad. The reason why these problems usually only occur in travelers is that the intestinal flora of the locals is already adapted to the pathogen profile specific to the respective region. In the following section you will find useful tips that will help you to greatly reduce the risk of digestive problems abroad.

Prevention and Tips

1. "Cook it, peel it or forget it" in German: "Cook it, fry it, peel it or leave it alone!"

This mnemonic can help you to avoid the biggest risk factors that lead to digestive problems and should therefore be strictly observed. The following foods should always be avoided:

  • raw vegetables
  • Salad and salad dressings with mayonnaise
  • Raw egg dishes
  • cold buffets
  • Ice Cream
  • raw fish & seafood

Nevertheless, you should still make sure you consume enough dietary fiber, for example in the form of cooked vegetables, whole grain products and whole rice.

2. tap water

Not only should you avoid tap water in any case, ice cubes should also be avoided in risk regions. When ordering drinks, be sure to advise the waiter to leave out the ice cubes or make sure they are made with bottled mineral water to avoid unnecessary digestive problems.

3. brushing teeth and showering

When brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth, you quickly forget the contaminated tap water. Therefore, use packaged mineral water to brush your teeth and do not rinse your mouth with tap water. When showering, you should always be careful not to get tap water in your mouth.

4. Sanitary measures

Frequent and thorough washing of hands with soap helps to protect the body from germs. You should wash your hands thoroughly and, ideally, disinfect them with disinfectant, especially after short excursions and when you return to your hotel room. Infections and pathogens are usually transmitted by smear infection and can cause unpleasant digestive problems. Try to avoid rubbing your hands in your eyes or mouth, otherwise unwanted germs can enter your body.

5. Probiotic gut cultures

In addition to the measures listed above, there is the option of using probiotic foods to strengthen digestion. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and miso are good examples. If these foods are not an integral part of your daily diet, you have the option of using dietary supplements. These can either be taken in preparation before departure or to strengthen yourself during your trip. For optimal preparation, it makes sense to seek professional advice in a pharmacy.

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