travel advice needed

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 493
   Posted 2/17/2008 12:40 PM (GMT -7)   
In a few weeks, I will spend 10 days in Italy. While I am very excited, we planned this trip while my health was very good. I was eating everything--grains, cheese, greens,etc. and using the bathroom just 2 or 3 times a day. Now in the 6th week of a flare, I'm getting worried about how I'll be able to eat, how I'll find a bathroom, and about my stamina for walking/sight-seeing. I'm packing immodium and some teas--maybe ask my GI for an antibiotic?? Any and all advice would be appreciated.
23 years with moderate Crohn's/colitis; fistulizing crohn's; pentasa

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2004
Total Posts : 422
   Posted 2/17/2008 1:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Is that not the most frustrating thing? To be feeling well, make trip plans and then be in a flare?! UGH! Just happened to me back in November - although I was only travelling a state away...not to Italy! I, too, packed up the Anti-Diarreheal, Charmin and saltine crackers. A week AFTER my trip, I went to my GI and he gave me an antibiotic for small intestinal bacteria. My symptoms cleared up (flare was gone - HPylori had been active) and the NEXT week I was enjoying a day at Disney!

This is probably not a great drink for Crohnies because of the sugar, but sometimes I find that Powerade gives me energy to get through those times I would normally be tired/weak from flares. Helps get me over the hump of tiredness.

So I think you're moving along the right lines of the immodium & antibiotic. I would also go online and look around the area you're planning on visiting in Italy. I, personally, would want to know about the bathrooms in the place you're staying and if you can use bathrooms in their stores over there -n- such. Maybe there's someone from Italy on this board who can tell you that!

I went to NYC recently and was really anxious about whether or not I'd need a bathroom quickly. Luckily, I didn't have any flares. But every time we stopped somewhere, I made a note of the bathroom situation. The Staten Island Ferry dock has a GREAT bathroom... :)

Good luck!
Diagnosed in October, 2003 at age 31.
Currently taking Colazal, Nexium, One-A-Day multivitamin
Secondary conditions: mouth ulcers, joint pain, extreme fatigue

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 2/17/2008 3:57 PM (GMT -7)   
You have all good advice so far. If sugar is a problem switch to pedialyte (I like the unflavored) to keep you hydrated and energetic. Try a liquid diet (but make sure you get enough protein, fat, sugar, and vitamens) for a few days before you go. Ask your doc for an anti-anxiety med (I like .25 xanax) to keep your stomach calm during those times one would normally be nervous (take off and landing for example.) I am going to DC for a wedding and I might take one the morning before if I know I will be driving in traffic sans potty. I would also bring along whatever butt comforts you regulary use at home. I always bring wipes, hydrocortizone cream, and epsom salts. If you bring the salts get the really small container that looks like a mini milk carton from CVS. That way they won't spill and look like drugs in your suitcase lol. Next I would pick up whatever you can always eat (for me balance bars and ramen noodles) and bring those with you too. If you dont feel up to eating with your group just order tea (or whatever you can drink) and eat your balance bar after. I also really like the idea of bathroom scoping. It will probably be hard to do before you leave. Remember that your hotel probably has a bathroom in the lobby in addition to in your room. If someone from your group is showering and you have to go head to the lobby, or the pool, or gym, or bar in your hotel. You should find a bathroom there.

When I was in Spain all the resturants and cafe's had bathrooms and I would just buy a bottle of water and ask to use el bano. Look up how to ask for the restroom in Italian. Make sure you have some small change with you (in euros). Again, when I was in more rural parts of Spain we had to bribe people to let us use their restroom but they never said no once we offered a buck or two. Finally, remember that people are more afraid and less grossed out by vomit than diarrhea for some reason. If you need the restroom in an emergency you can run in and ask for the bathroom motioning to your mouth like you are going to vomit. I think you would get ushered in right away. You could look up the Italian word for car sick. That may be more embarassing than telling someone you have to poop lol.

In American cities sometimes I will just walk in and say "I really don't feel well, may I please use your restroom." Or, if there is a female matri-d Ill imply that I just got my period...(without grossly saying that.) When someone hesitate once when I asked for the bathroom I just whispered surprise female issue and she said oooohhhh go right ahead. So be creative, learn a few phrases, bring your comforts... oh I also have a microwave heating pad I bring places. Lots of hotel lobbies have hot water for tea that I use for my ramen and a microwave I use for my heating pad.

Finally, I believe Italy has siesta (nap time) just like Spain. Mid afternoon EVERYTHING closes. That is probably not the time for you to be out and about walking around and a great opportunity to take a nap just like the natives!!! Do the things you are comfortable with and come up with some back up plans for yourself when people want to go somewhere you arent comfortable. As long as they know you are happy doing something fun they won't mind going on without you and you wont feel like you are holding them back or end up being miserable because you forced yourself to go along.

I hope you find a way to have fun!!!

1 more thing... I just checked your meds and you are just on Pentasa? What about trying entocort or prednizone to get you through? Entocort really helped me!!
26 Year old married female.  Diagnosed w/ CD 3 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD.  Currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day, hysociamine prn, nexium, and ortho evra.  Good times!!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1885
   Posted 2/17/2008 4:48 PM (GMT -7)   
The full dose of Pentasa is 4 grams...if you have been on the full dose for more than four weeks, and yet are still in flare, then it makes sense to look at other meds.
Antibiotics like Cipro and Flagyl might have battled this dang disease for a long time, so you probably already know about them. And know that they are not that effective for most people.
So, to quickly arrest a full flare, that leaves pred or Entocort. Pred is quick, but Entocort could take weeks to reach full effectiveness. Also, it works only for Crohn's localized in the terminal ileum. That said, Entocort has been wonderful for my daughter.
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