3 Tips for Managing IBD During the Holiday Season
Health Hacks With sweet dairy treats or savory snacks, the holidays represent food, fun and family festivities. But for those living with inflammatory bowel diseases, the holidays can be cause for concern.
The holiday season is in full swing, and many use this time of year to travel near and far to visit family and friends. Upon arrival to the destination, chances are the table is set with a feast of favorites. The warm, comfortable atmosphere may become a reason to overindulge.
For patients living with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which cause chronic inflammation and damage to the gastrointestinal tract, both holiday travel and diet takes careful planning. Here are three tips for managing IBD during the season:
1. Avoid trigger foods
Those living with IBD are likely to be aware of what foods can aggravate their symptoms. While it might be tempting to take advantage of a holiday spread, it is not advisable. Focus on what you know and avoid foods that may worsen or trigger symptoms. Although diet is different for everyone, some foods that may trigger symptoms include lactose, some high-fiber foods, and non-absorbable sugars. Don’t be afraid to inform your holiday host of any special dietary needs or requests. If you are dining in a restaurant, review the menu ahead of time online – which can help identify potential food problems – and call the restaurant if you have any questions.
2. Know your restrooms
Access to restrooms is one of the greatest concerns. Most people with IBD memorize locations of restrooms during their daily routines. Treat travel time with the same respect. The GI Buddy is a great online and mobile tool to track your symptoms and diet, and it also has a find restroom finder. If you’re planning a road trip to your holiday destination you can use the tracker to locate bathrooms and plan your route accordingly.
3. Anticipate flying issues
When flying, find out where the closest bathroom is and book your seat in close proximity. You can also download the TSA notification card, which you can show to inform officers that you have a medical condition. While you will still need to go through security screening, the card allows you to request alternative screening procedure to avoid waiting in long lines.
With a little research and advance planning, patients living with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or other digestive health issues can have a happy and healthy holiday season.