Travelling overseas with UC flare-up

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Rio in Maryland
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 891
   Posted 11/14/2007 7:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone,
 
I'm new to the forum and am finding the forum posts extremely interesting (and useful).
 
I need to travel overseas often and am wondering what tips people have on travelling when you are having a UC flare-up.
I have been starving myself for a few days before I need to catch a plane so that I don't have any extreme urges to rush to the restroom when I am waiting in queue at some airport or on a flight a time when you can't leave your seat.  I hope someone has some better ideas. Thanks.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rio, 31 yr old male - diagnosed with UC in 07/2006.
 
Alternative therapies for several months (SCD, ayurvedic treatments, chinese herbs, VSL#3): didn't work and became anaemic.
Canasa, 2 daily: remission for a month then flared up.
Completed first (6-week) tapered course of Pred in 10/07, flaring up since coming off it.
Currently on: 4800mg Asacol (6 x 400mg, twice a day) & Aloe Elite (not sure if it works).
Holding off from taking next dose of Pred as the side-effects were strong, but may have to give in if I'm not better soon.


Scrap Girl
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 653
   Posted 11/14/2007 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Immodium.

Diagnosed with UC in Feb. 2005
 
Colazal (9 a day)
Folic Acid
Biotin
Calcium
Remicade remission


kb5
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 11/14/2007 7:47 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Rio, I am headed to Mexico on saturday and I too am flaring. Luckily I have no blood at the moment so it cold be a lot worse. Here is a link (sorry i don't know how to hyperlink) of advice from others. A lot of good stuff there.

http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=38&m=923886

My Gi did't want me to go but gave me a script for antibiotics in case I get travelers D. I also have a ton of immodium, pepto, ect. He also gave me the regular advice, don't drink the water, ice ect...don't eat anything that hasn't been fully cooked, don't eat any fruit that can't be peeled.

Where are you headed?

Hope others add to this. I am packing and grabbing anything I thinkmay help!

Good luck!
Kelly, 29

Left sided UC diagnosed 1/98 age 19, Pan colitis diagnosed 1/07
Currently on 4x3 Asacol, Rowasa every other night, 15 mg pred. until immuran kicks in...
75mg Imuran starting 8/23/07---bumped to 100mg 10/8/07
Prontonix once daily for acid reflux, zofran twice daily for nausea


wishiwasnormal
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 11/14/2007 7:58 AM (GMT -7)   
hi there

its also worth ringing the airline you are travelling with and asking them if you could have seats near to the toilets ....... gives you peace of mind if nothing else
ive done this on serveral occasions and they seem to be willing to help
also worth just having a word with the air hostess when you board just in case you need the toilet when the seat belt signs are on...... maybe taking a leaflet about uc with you might help not having to explain in great depths

hope you have a great time and try not to Stress
Diagnosed UC 1993
unable to remember what i USED to be on
currently 6 asacol


schrek-chewbacca hunk
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2666
   Posted 11/14/2007 7:59 AM (GMT -7)   

I fast the day before and the day of traveling only have weak tea and start lomotil script the day before.  I always plan a day to relax when I arrive at my international destination and eat normally.  My doc also perscribed antibiotics and the usual instructions.  I also always wear a depend fecal undergarment, and keep a few in my UC backpack (underwear, tissue, baby wipes, undergarments, soap, deoderant etc.)

Good luck

bob 


Rio in Maryland
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 891
   Posted 11/14/2007 9:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone for the feedback so far - I'll definitely take those ideas into account when I'm travelling.
Kelly, my next trip is to London in December (and hope you have a great time in Mexico!). 
Rio, 31 yr old male - diagnosed with UC in 07/2006.
 
Alternative therapies for several months (SCD, ayurvedic treatments, chinese herbs, VSL#3): didn't work and became anaemic.
Canasa, 2 daily: remission for a month then flared up.
Completed first (6-week) tapered course of Pred in 10/07, flaring up since coming off it.
Currently on: 4800mg Asacol (6 x 400mg, twice a day) & Aloe Elite (not sure if it works).
Holding off from taking next dose of Pred as the side-effects were strong, but may have to give in if I'm not better soon.


julee70
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 486
   Posted 11/14/2007 10:40 AM (GMT -7)   
There's a website with locations/ info on public bathrooms all over the world. I've found it helpful to take a look and note the locations of bathrooms near where I'm going.

http://www.thebathroomdiaries.com


As for the plane -- If you're going to eat lightly, just remember to keep drinking beverages. You don't want to be dehydrated. Avoid caffeine. I like to take a sleeping pill (or Tylenol PM) on the plane so that I sleep through it. Cuts down on worrying.
-------
UC for the last ten years
Current Meds: 6MP
Past Meds: You name it; I've tried it.


Probiotic
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2832
   Posted 11/14/2007 11:59 AM (GMT -7)   
As an alternative to immodium, consider glutamine or l-glutamine powder. In the literature it reads very well for wound-healing / anti-inflammatory properties, however I have not really noticed these benefits... all i notice is that it is fairly constipating. I reckon since it is used as a health supplement as well as athletic/sports-recovery supplement, it is a 'healthy' alternative to immodium. It is also fairly cheap.

Of course, I don't find constipation (whether induced by immodium or glutamine or whatever) very effective to reducing pain/disocmfort, and it can sometimes cause more discomfort by creating 'presure' inside ones sore gut, and/or when the dam finally bursts after the constipation recedes... i.e. it blocks up the butt without actually normalizing stool (you still end up with a D of sorts later), but it can be useful for these sorts of things like travelling on long flights.
Pancolitis dx'd 1986, full med-free remission 88-97
Flaring or simmering ever since
10 20 17.5 15 12.5 mg pred, 100 mg Imuran
Probiotics (Primal Defense and others), TSO
Turmeric/circumin, fish oil, many vits/minerals
Lower-carb version of Specific Carb Diet (SCD)
 
 
 


kazygirl
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 955
   Posted 11/15/2007 5:22 PM (GMT -7)   
i went overseas in july in the middle of a severe flare and i made sure i got seats next to the loo.
i also at the time had UC caused arthritis in my ankles and knees so i sat in the bulkhead.

i also used immodium and it was the WORST THING I EVER DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i will never use that stuff again. it kept me from going diarrhea, but i still had the pain and the cramping and the urge to go every 20 minutes and i would go in the toilet and sit there and i sounded like i was having a baby... but the immodium kept me from actually going.

so i had the unfortunate experience of needing to go but couldn't. i wouldv'e been so much better off just being able to poo on the flight rather than be all cramped up and in pain the whole time and stopped up. it was massively horrible.
sorry if im scaring you, but i just thought i would share my experience just in case it might help someone else not have the same problem.

i flew from australia to LA (20+ hours)

i didnt take any immodium on the way back and was fine. just sat by the toilets and went when i had to go.
the flight crew knew of my condition (cuz i told them) and if there was a line for the cans, they let me use business class restroom.

hope this helps
31 year old female - diagnosed UC in 2000
started as proctitis and now is pancolitis..this year long flare is now severe on left side only.
**3 weeks out of hospital/no colitis symptoms... normal bm's only 1x a day + no blood
50mg prednisone 1x  with lunch or breakfast
50mg imuran 1x  8pm stopped it to try and have a baby
2x 500mg mesalazine 2x day + night
VSL#3 didnt work
Aloe Elite didnt work
Budesonide 9mg day didnt work
ive lost 40+lbs and my legs look like sticks ... ewww
 


cap'n colitis
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 11/16/2007 11:55 AM (GMT -7)   
hey! I flew to Australia in 2005 and did ok, but I made sure that I had a bunch of Pred with me just in case. I talked to my GI and made a game plan in case I started to flare while I was over there, and he provided me with a prescription of Pred to keep in case of an emergency. So, that's my best advice. Just talk to your doc and make a game plan.
 
As far as the 16-hour flight over there, I was fine, but I flew on a 747-400 which has a bunch of crappers on it, so there were never really any major lines to wait in. Most people were usually sleeping except around meal times, and then it might have gotten a little busier around the facilities.  
 
In fact, speaking of being stuck in line, I ate a bunch of McNuggets and a chocolate shake right before we boarded the plane for the flight over. I don't know why, I never eat MC D's any more, and I don't even know if it was a UC related reaction, but I can remember standing in line to board and feeling a coup developing in my bowels. It turned into one of those, "My kingdom for a toilet!" moments. So, we finally get to our seats, and I set my bags down and head for the nearest airplane lavatory. On my way, I'm wondering, "does the ground crew even have the toilets prepped when the plane is still sitting at the gate?" But by that point, I didn't even care if I lifted the lid and saw the tarmac below me - I was committed.
 
So, after my re-creation of a particular scene in "Dumb and Dumber", I exited and no one was in line, thank goodness, as any governor would have declared the lav a disaster area after that storm.
 
So, get your pred, don't eat mcnuggets, and enjoy your flight and trip!

FitzyK23
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 11/16/2007 1:38 PM (GMT -7)   
cap'n colits- Im a crohnie but I love your name and LOVED LOVED your story. I am flying from Boston to GA in January and then *gasp* RI to Singapore in March, then Singapore to Phuket, and then finally a week later Maine to Baltimore. For someone who hates flying and hasn't flown in 5 years that is A LOT. And of course I stress about the bathroom access. I loved "if I lifted the lid and saw the tarmac below me, I was committed." I can just picture some guy staring up to reconnect some pipe and getting quite the surprise!!! On a flight back from Vegas I drank a Starbucks Frappaccino right before boarding. And I dont do coffee, caffeine, or dairy. I have NOOOOO idea what I was thinking. Well "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" because that frappacino was out of me before we hit cruising altitude. Ok thats a bit of an exageration. But, I was in the front seat of coach when the drink carts started rolling their way up from like 50 seats back. No up front coach bathroom and no way around the cart. Waiting was not an option. Teary eyed I ran into first class and told the startled flight attendant I was sick and needed to use the first class bathroom NOW b/c the drinks were blocking the way to coach. I have never seen someone jump out of the way so fast. Then I felt bad that those people paid thousands of dollars for their tickets and I just WRECKED their bathroom and probably stunk up the whole cabin. In the voice of Nelson from the Simpsons HA HA!!! Unfortuantly I repressed vomitting the rest of the ride home until the minute my foot stepped into Boston. Then my head was in the toilet for a good hour. I have not had ANY coffee products since.
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!!!
 
 


cap'n colitis
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 51
   Posted 11/16/2007 2:29 PM (GMT -7)   
fitzyk - I like coffee, but it destroys me so I feel your pain. Actually, I am convinced that a cup of coffee sent me into one of my worst flares about 15 years ago.
 
Glad you liked the story. It's important to keep a sense of humor when dealing with this horrible disease! It's nice to have a place to comiserate too :)
Male - Age 39
Diagnosed in 1988
Moderate Pan Colitis 10 years ago, but mild and fairly controlled since then
40mg Pred 30mg Pred 25mg Pred 20mg Pred
100mg Azathioprene
1600mg Asacol
Calcium Supp
Fish Oil Supp (or Flax Seed)
20mg Omeprazole
 
 
 
 

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