That’s why they call it Bali belly.
If you’re spending more time in your hotel room bathroom than you expect, it’s easy to lose your sight. While I’ve used my phone dozens of times before, it wasn’t until a recent trip to India that I understood why it was there. This way you can call your family and say goodbye. Yes, dear reader, after many trips to island paradises, I have succumbed to a dreaded GI scourge, the Bali belly.
The culprit was likely some dodgy ice cubes in the drinks, after a hell of a trip between hotels, I just prayed the old o-rings would stick. it did. only. I don’t want to say too much here, but there are times when I feel like I’m strapped to a jetpack. Although I ate white rice, I lost a full four kilos after my trip. So, swings and roundabouts.
So that you don’t have to spend an extra minute in the suite, we asked Travel Doctor’s Medical Director, Dr. Sonny Lau, for his advice.
What Causes Diarrhea While Traveling?
In addition to food poisoning, which many travelers know and fear, Liu identified two infections that can cause real problems. “The first,” he says, “is traveller’s diarrhea—mostly a bacterial infection. The second is a viral gastrointestinal infection.” Interestingly, Liu sees another player as a potential prompter, “travel-related. Anxiety and stress—especially from international travel.”
How can I prevent diarrhea when traveling?
Remember how COVID-19 has radically improved our hygiene — especially when it comes to handwashing. Bring it back to your everyday life in Bali. Once you’ve ticked that box, it’s time to live by Liu’s gourmet motto: “Cook it, cook it, wash it, peel it or leave it.”
What to do about holiday diarrhea?
Liu’s first piece of advice here is to “travel with appropriate medical supplies.” There are two mandatory requirements. The first is an electrolyte tablet that dissolves in water. These can help you hydrate more effectively and are available in large supermarkets, pharmacies and Amazon. Over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medications can also be packed in your luggage just in case. You don’t want to wander through the night in Bali, praying that the pharmacy is still open. Carry some Gastro-Stop (available from pharmacies and supermarkets) just in case, and always follow the directions on the package. In severe cases, if quality medical care is not available, you may have to resort to “empirical treatment with oral antibiotics,” Liu said. This must be pre-arranged with the travel medical provider and distributed prior to departure. “
How long does a Bali belly last?
We have good news and bad news here. Let’s start with the bad: it’s not a 24-hour thing. The good news, though, is that, according to Better Health Victoria, “in most cases, traveller’s diarrhea is self-limited and tends to resolve within four days.”