avoiding Bali belly

Avoiding Bali belly this break

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Bali belly, Delhi belly, Pharaoh’s revenge. A rose by any other name. Whatever you want to call it, getting a dose of traveller’s diarrhoea is such a bummer (pun intended) for any holiday. If you are planning to travel anywhere these holidays, you’ll want to read this.

I worked in Egypt, many year ago, and I’m sure I still harbour critters from the number of times I had an upset stomach in that year. In fact, the beer’s motto in Cairo was, “Stella local, that which does not kill us makes us stronger!” One would never pass wind away from the toilet after a night out on that beer, if you get my drift…

Traveller’s diarrhoea (TD) is defined as:

  • 3 or more unformed poos each day during or after a journey
  • Any number of those poos accompanied by fever, cramping abdominal pain or vomiting. Happy days…

We usually get TD from faecally contaminated food or drink.

  • Raw or under cooked meats and seafood
  • Unpeeled raw fruits and veggies
  • Tap water; ice – I used to enjoy a masala chai (tea) every afternoon on the banks of the Ganges in Varanassi, India, until I watched how he made the tea – dipping his pot into the water between each brew…downstream from where they burnt the bodies! (I’m not sure where the water came from)
  • Dairy products

Interesting bits:

  • There are 12 million reported cases of diarrhoea every year worldwide.
  • The incubation period for traveller’s diarrhoea (TD) is about 2-3 days.
  • The duration of the ‘discomfort’ should generally be around 2-6 days
  • E-coli is the bug responsible for about 80% of all cases
  • AND you are at a higher risk of getting TD at a….5 STAR HOTEL!!! (I swear, I’m not making this up)
  • If you stay for 2 weeks or more, then you have a 50% chance of getting TD (SE Asia, Africa, Central and South America).

Why you want to prevent TD (and not just because of the inconvenience)

  • If you get traveller’s diarrhoea, you are five times more likely to develop post-infectious Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • If you have to take antibiotics that will increase the risk of developing post-infectious IBS by a further four fold .
  • The longer you have Bali Belly, the greater the risk of IBS.

How to prevent TD:

  • Avoid ice
  • Drink bottled water – not ideal for our planet. Follow this link to see how much plastic we consume…
  • Even better – bring your own water purifier. Consider investing in a First Need Water Purifier
  • Take a probiotic (Metagenics Ultra Flora LGG, Biomedica SB Pro – all available in the clinic)
  • Take a prebiotic – feed those good bugs before you leave. Galactooligosaccharides (GOS) are an excellent choice, starting one week before you leave.
  • Wash your hands with soap (give the anti-bacterial hand wipe a miss – there’s no evidence it works and disrupts your own good bugs).

IF Bali belly does strike:

  • Rehydrate with Ethical Nutrients Re-Hydrate (has no artificial sweeteners)
  • Try a banana – it contains potassium, which you lose when you poo a lot of…
  • Guava leaf tea. This plant is readily available in the tropics. Simmer the leaves for 20-30 minutes and drink.
  • Herbs, herbs, herbs – pomegranate husk, garlic, oregano, clove oil, thyme oil to name a few.

If you are travelling this break, contact us before you go so we can kit you out for a safe and happy holiday.

If you do come back with a dodgy gut, please make an appointment to see me ASAP so we can minimise the risk of infection down the track.

Stay safe these holidays and look after your good gut.

In health,