Vacationing w/ Crohn's?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 69
   Posted 6/6/2010 2:32 PM (GMT -6)   
   So in a month I'm due for vacation time. My girlfriend really wants to go away for a week and so do I. I feel I really need one. But I'm scared.
   Last year when we went on vacation thats where I got my first flare. Day 1 in Aruba. Bloody diarrhea 20x a day and no decent hospital and no open flight out. So that situation kind of scarred me.
   We were supposed to go to Florida (I wanted to keep it in the US in case I need a hospital) but now the oil has reached the coast.
   I have been good for months. Only occasional diarrhea and some anal irritation. Nothing major. But it still lingers. And I would love to go a nice resort in the Caribbean (because they are really cheap too) but again, there is no real healthcare there.
   What does everyone do when they want to go away? Thanks.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 6/6/2010 3:51 PM (GMT -6)   
This is one of my major worries with my husband as well. So far though, thankfully he's not gotten ill when we've been away from home. Before I go anywhere on vacation I read about the medical facilities there, and also try to locate hospitals, just in case. We've made the choice to vacation mostly in the US and in some parts of Europe, where I feel confident he can get good care.

Also, before we head too far on vacation, I usually get some scripts filled from him GI (for steroids, antibiotics). Also, his GI is nice enough to give us his cell phone number in case of an emergency, so at least we can get a phone consult, or let his attending physician consult with him. We've never needed it, and I'm glad for that.

Also, just to not throw his routine and tummy into chaos, I try to control his schedule and eating as much as possible. So, if we go on vacation, instead of staying at a hotel and eating at restaurants, we get a cabin or rent a condo or something, and cook at eat there, and pretty much stick to the same routine as home, and make sure he gets plenty of rest.

Yes, it sounds boring to just not let go and do whatever, but in our case, this has worked for us, and we also have fun on vacation - while also remaining cautious.

But ultimately things really are not in your control, you can just give yourself the best fighting chance of having an enjoyable trip. Don't let this disease ruin your life; just take precautions (don't go to places that you know doesn't have decent healthcare, don't eat or drink anything if it isn't safe, and all the usual common sense precautions), and that is the best you can do.

Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Crohn's in Remission since June 2008
C-diff recurrence Sep 2009
Reactive Arthritis Nov 2009
Currently c-diff free
Osteopenia of spine (Mar 2010)
Canasa (1gm), Lialda (4.8 gms), Remicade (8 weeks)
Currently In Remission

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 947
   Posted 6/6/2010 3:57 PM (GMT -6)   
I just go! i figure I only get to live once and I'm going to make the best of it. Sept 2008 was in hospital for blockage and told the stricture is really narrow and need surgery. We had a cruise planned for end of Jan 2009. Doctor said go and have a good time. I ate everything and anything on the cruise and did not have any real problems other then "D". We got home and 2 weeks later had surgery. Surgeon was amazed at how narrow the stricture was and could not believe I was passing food through there and no pain to boot. So my advise is to "Live Life" go and enjoy yourself!!!

Diagnosed with Crohns in 2001
First and hopefully last Ileocecectomy 2/18/2009

Medications:Humira,  Asacol, FolicAcid,  Multivitamin, 1000mg Calcium, Vitamin D, Probiotics, Pepcid Complete, Questran,  Monthly B-12 injections.

Living a Great life with my Wife and my two Chocolate Labs
Hunter & Hailey.
I love them dearly.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1811
   Posted 6/6/2010 4:17 PM (GMT -6)   
If it works for you and it could help - take a bottle of immodium with you. I hope you have a wonderful vacation!

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 49
   Posted 6/6/2010 6:40 PM (GMT -6)   
If you feel alright prior to the trip, go. I went to Morocco in December, right in the middle of a nasty flare. Probably wasn't the best idea, but I enjoyed myself nonetheless. I knew that the hospitals were not exactly the best, so I brought a box of baby rice cereal, and ate that when I couldn't eat what they had to offer.

I just told myself WCS, I would fly back home or to Europe if a problem arose and I couldn't ride it out.
Diagnosed at 17, currently 23 :)  Have had 1 resection so far.  It's been an adventure!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 925
   Posted 6/6/2010 9:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I just did a short trip with the wife.  Was kinda miserable trying not to worry, eat the right types of food at all the restaurants.  I know next time I will take more of my "OWN" food with me.  Cuz all my pills are supposed to be taken with food anyway.  Was also worried about the 1 bathroom situation.  My belly was feeling a bit rough the whole time but never really went "full metal jacket" on me.   Agreed, the better you feel before you go the better off (probably) you'll be.

Diagnosed (FINALLY) UC Sept 09/Diagnosis amended 5-3-10 to Crohn's
Taking Pentasa 500mg/8x/day
Entocort 3X/day
Bentyl as needed
1000 mg Vitamin C
Prilosec 1X/day

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 6/7/2010 12:04 AM (GMT -6)   
Seconding the immodium. Made my trip to FL much easier.

Equestrian Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3106
   Posted 6/7/2010 8:23 AM (GMT -6)   
Try South Carolina or even Georgia...warm and oil shakehead

you are still near a hospital, if you need it, and that might remove some stress to leaving home!

Buy a BIG box of Imodium, bring your favorite TP and pain meds if you need them...and even get a 'Suite' with kitchen so you can cook a meal if you prefer :-)

Enjoy a week away!!
Crohn’s dx 1989
some terrible years before my
Proctocolectomy in 2008

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 6/7/2010 8:25 AM (GMT -6)   
My husband and I travel to Mexico 1 to 2 times a year to visit his family. The first time we went I was a nervous wreck. I became so anxious because I was continually worrying about the what if's. My doctor prescribed me a low dose of Xanax to take twice a day for 10 days. It really helped!! And for 10 days you don't have to worry about dependency on this med, and in fact, I quit taking it a few days after we arrived, because I saw I was fine.

I think that once you get there and are able to relax you will see you will be just fine. I now find I actually do feel better while on vacation as I am truly able to relax. Good luck and hope you have a good time. Hugs!
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease 
Crohn's Disease for over 34 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium, Vit D, and Xanax prn. Resections in 2002 & 2005. Also diagnosed w/ Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, & Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 300
   Posted 6/7/2010 2:49 PM (GMT -6)   
ibdoer, which area in Florida were you thinking of. I have heard that some area have tar balls popping up but otherwise the water is still beautiful. We just got back from Destin about a week and a half ago and it was beautiful there. Luckily I only had one issue with nightime diarhhea while I was there and that was because I was not eating normally for me. I myself am hesitant to go to other countries where I have to worry about water, food etc and healthcare should I need it. I am much more confy staying within he united states. I would be ok with places like Canada, uk, australia,..etc because you can get good care there but some countries are just out of bounds for me. I was in Guatemala 4 1/2 years ago for a week and it was a beautiful country but thank goodness I did not know about my Crohns then because I would be paranoid about it. By the end of the week I did have some massive Diarrhea going on!!
Dx with crohns February 25, 2010. But suspect I had it since 2002 with very mild symptoms.
4 lialda a day.
3 entocort daily for the next few months
hyosamine for daytime
Bentyl for evening
Ferrous Sulfate(iron supplement)

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 430
   Posted 6/7/2010 3:29 PM (GMT -6)   
I would stick within the US this trip. Especially since now the airline don't allow anyone to use the bathroom the last hour of international flights. Should be able to go where you want when you want but realistically I'm never taking a vacation where I spend more time wondering "what if..." than having a good time.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 1810
   Posted 6/8/2010 6:33 PM (GMT -6)   
There are some oil balls washing up around Pensacola but so far, it hasn't gotten too much further. Places on the Gulf like Tampa, Clearwater, Ft. Myers, Sanibel Captiva should be just fine. Or you have the entire east coast that is nice.
I hope you find a nice place to vacation. It's too important to pass up!
d 1/09 with colitis sigmoid colon with some diverticular disease as well
IBS, asthma/allergies,  high BP, fibromyalgia, GERD, restless legs and periodic limb movement in sleep, low thyroid, the list keeps growing..........................
claritin, singulair, diovan, progesterone, VSL#3 probiotic, Vit. D, colazal, plaquenil back on cymbalta for pain, nexium for reflux (trying again)
Blood test positive for Crohn's via prometheus ibd serology panel ASCA
Positive ANA rheumatologist suspects mixed connective tissue disease 4/2010
Collitis doing OK for now, it's fatigue and joint pain that are plagueing me right now!!!

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 250
   Posted 6/8/2010 8:11 PM (GMT -6)   
cleo35 said...
I would stick within the US this trip. Especially since now the airline don't allow anyone to use the bathroom the last hour of international flights. Should be able to go where you want when you want but realistically I'm never taking a vacation where I spend more time wondering "what if..." than having a good time.  Yeah what's the deal with this??  I've never really worried about the airplane situation until I heard this.  This is scary.  Might have to wear a diaper!

Current meds:  Remicade
Tried:  Prednisone, sulfasalzine, lialda, antibiotics, imuran
29 yr old female w/ crohn's colitis and SEVERE leg pain

ski bum
Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 451
   Posted 6/8/2010 8:13 PM (GMT -6)   
I find cruises are the best way for me to travel. On days at sea, it's easy to enjoy all the cruise ship has to offer and your room and private bathroom are always available. On days off the ship, I eat very carefully and as long as I take my Questran, I'm good for most of the day. There's a doctor on ship if necessary. There's plenty of choices for every meal. I work out in the gym everyday. It's a great way to spend a week or two. My husband and I have already booked a Mediterranean cruise for 2011. I like road trips too. The only kind of vacation that stresses me out is when I travel with girlfriends and have to share a room and bathroom. I bring plenty of Just a Drop and matches. I hope you're able to get away and enjoy a wonderful vacation with your GF. SB
50 y/o F. CD dx'd Aug 05. Initially on Pentasa, then Imuran 125 mg. Started Humira (very reluctantly) on 10/24/07. Ileocolectomy 4/08. Back on Pentasa as maintenance.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 1289
   Posted 6/9/2010 12:25 AM (GMT -6)   
the no bathroom thing on the planes is a bit freaky...what if you have an emergency and really have to go? are they going to tackle you and hold you down while you have an accident? scary! i totally get it though...just wonder how that sit. would pay out...

we're going to san diego next week for a few days...i guess we'll plan on beaches with public restrooms nearby. i've travelled extensively in the past but the past almost 2 years now my flare has been so bad and continuous that we haven't gone anywhere. i'm a bit nervous about the flight etc. but with the pain meds, imodium and xanax i hopefully will be ok- plus the flight is short from phoenix.
35 year old male living in AZ.  Diagnosed with Crohns at age of 15.
Currently off Pred.  still taking Asacol.  Just had 1st Remicade infusion a week and a half ago
In the middle of a bad flare now for a year...lost almost 30 lbs. -- gained most of it back now.

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