Traveling abroad

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Regular Member

Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 11/22/2008 9:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,

I haven't been here in a while because I've been doing so well, I barely even remember that I have UC. I am still taking 4 sulfasalazine a day.

I'm really nervous though because I'm going to Scotland for 10 days next week. My doctor warned me that a plane ride might cause some bleeding, and we realized that my last flare--the one that forced me to get diagnosed--began because I took a long plane flight. Obviously, this worries me, especially because I am traveling with people who do not know I have UC and I would like to try and keep this to myself if possible. I have some questions.

1. I'm taking an overnight flight. Part of my stress involves when to take my medicine and how often. Should I take an extra pill since I'll be up a lot longer than I would normally? I think the chances of me falling asleep on the flight are very slim, and if things go the same way they did the last time I traveled to Europe, I will be awake for two days straight. This confuses me. Do I take the pill every 6 hours whatever which would result in an extra pill when I normally would have been sleeping? Or do I just stick with my 4 a day? Also, if I do fall asleep on the flight, I will miss my last dose of the day. Obviously, I can take it as soon as the flight lands, but that will be several hours too late. Alternately, if things go the same as my last trip to Europe, I slept 14 hours the first night of my stay. That is about 6 hours than I normally receive. Could this be a problem? Sorry for all the minor questions, but I am stressing, and I have OCD, so I need to know the rules in advance so I have guidelines to follow. Tell me it doesn't matter, please! I tend to make things more strict for myself and then cause even more stress than I should have.

2. In the event that I do have bleeding, is there anything I can do to control it? I mean, I'm going there to sight see. The last thing I want to do is be tied to a bathroom. So I want to know what my options are to control a flare besides my usual meds. If you do begin bleeding because of a flight when you're already on meds, will they help control it? This is the first flight I'm taking since I've been diagnosed. Also, could this trigger a flare? I must admit, the thought of going back into a flare scares me more than anything. The other thing I worry about is that I'll have an emergency on the flight but all the bathrooms will be occupied. Ugh, don't want to think about this possibility...

3. This isn't a question, more like venting because I don't know who else to talk about this with. But man, I am so worried I'm going to be a pain to my travel companions. Even now, I feel like my life revolves around my next pill dose. I'm always checking the clock. I'm always worrying about it. Because not only do I need to take it with food and at least 8oz of water, but I need to be near a bathroom after I take it since the water makes me have to pee (though, thankfully, that's all the pills make me do). I've had a lot of problems because I wasn't near a bathroom when it came time to take the pill. I've learned to deal with it, and usually I have someone with me who understands my situation, btu I'm afraid my fellow travelers will not understand why I constantly need to stop and use the restroom or why I eat snacks before dinner because dinner is too late to take my pill with. Ugh. I booked this trip way before I was diagnosed.

Thanks in advance.
27 years old, Female, NYC
Diagnosed with severe UC on May 13, 2008 (though I'd apparently had it for years)
500 MG Sulfasalazine two pills x3 a day
Daily Multi-V, Folic Acid

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 11/22/2008 10:28 PM (GMT -6)   
I have traveled from the US to Singapore and Thailand w/ Crohns and from the US to Spain w/ undiagnosed Crohns. I understand your concerns. I have found that low dose of xanax really helps me w/ my anxieties about having trouble in flight. I would call the airline and make sure you have an aisle seat. It was my experience that most people sleep throughout the flight and the only time there was a line at the bathroom was right after meals or right before landing when we were all woken up. Everyone on my flights were really nice. I brought my own snacks so I could refuse the meal when I didn't want to be stuck in my seat. That way I could also eat when others weren't eating and there wouldn't be a bathroom line. Also, international flights are huge and have lots of bathrooms compared to flights stateside.

I ate the meals I wanted ot eat. If I skipped a meal and was hungry later I would ask a flight attendant for a snack, they often had left over meals too. I was on Singapore Air which has exceptional service.

As far as stressing about inconveniencing your travel companions - I find I stress a lot less if my friends/coworkers know about my condition. They are always very understanding about my need for stops. But if you don't want to tell them, that is your choice. When I traveled I was on 4 pentasa, 4 times per day. I just tried to take them when the meals were served on the plane. I had a hard time keeping track of the time since we went through sooooo many time zones. If your med is a maintenence med its ok to be off a dose or two.

I had no problems when traveling. I actually felt so much healthier than I do here.
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I also take a birth control pill to allow some fun in my life.

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