<< Go back to blog

Understanding and Treating Traveler’s Diarrhea

travelers diarrhea

Aviation technology has made it so that we are able to travel around the globe for nearly a century now, but you know who doesn’t travel anywhere outside their local area ever? Germs. It’s these bugs that are the ones that make you sick when you visit whichever region of the planet, they call home, and it’s common to have traveler’s diarrhea as a result of the whole thing.

Diarrhea may be extremely unpleasant and a nuisance, but the reason that traveler’s diarrhea is more than just an unpleasantry is that it can deplete your bodies electrolyte levels. As a result, you may find yourself with common symptoms of low electrolytes. Having to spend so much time in the bathroom in your hotel room many be one thing, but headaches and fatigue can really put a damper on your spirits and may mess with adhering to your itinerary too.

An antibacterial like Xifaxan or Zithromax will often be enough to knock out the bugs you’ve acquired and are causing you to have traveler’s diarrhea. Fortunately, these medications are readily available in most of the countries you might be visiting, and they are certainly common in Mexico where so many North American get away from the winters up north but where traveler’s diarrhea is common.

Coli – Often the Bad Bug

If you’re inclined to ask what causes traveler’s diarrhea then the answer is simple. Traveller’s diarrhea is caused by exposure to bacteria that causes illness within the digestive tract. Generally, it is bacteria that your body doesn’t have any familiarity with because it’s not common where you live. Quite often the bug causing it is E. coli, and in many parts of the world you could ingest it by drinking contaminated water. The fact these places also have different sanitary standards in practice in comparison to those in North America may be a factor too.

Now, some of you who have a greater understanding of biology may be thinking at this point that E. coli bacteria is always present within the body anyways. And while there may be some truth to that, there are different types of E. Coli, and the one that can cause traveler’s diarrhea is different from the much more common type which is present at all times in your gut. The type that causes this kind of diarrhea is one that prompts your intestines to produce more water, and that’s what leads to the diarrhea.

Like any ailment, your experience of traveler’s diarrhea may have different severity than for others’. Regardless of how you contract it, we hope it’s more towards the milder side. For milder diarrhea, when traveling, you may not need an Rx antibiotic medication at all. An OTC product like Imodium may be all that is needed for relief. The loperamide in it makes muscles around your intestines contract more slowly and this usually normalizes bowel movement for people with mild traveler’s diarrhea.

For moderate or stronger cases, you may want to consider a diarrhea treatment medication that will cure you by preventing the growth of the harmful bacteria causing your sickness.

Traveler’s Diarrhea Treatment

Dysentery is a nasty step up from traveler’s diarrhea and is a much more serious condition that people can also find themselves in when traveling to some countries. Tropical countries with plenty of warmth, sunshine and nice beaches are the locations people are drawn to in the wintertime, and it’s these types of locations where amoebic dysentery occurs, and it makes traveller’s diarrhea seem like a walk in the park.

Many times, for severe intestinal infections causing diarrhea or other abnormal bowel movements it will be necessary to take a powerful antibiotic like Cipro (ciprofloxacin). Nowadays though many of the bugs that can make their way into your gut have developed an immunity to Cipro, and that’s another indicator of how antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem in the world. The medication that we mentioned earlier – Zithromax – is going to best for any type of severe diarrhea condition caused by bacterial infection.

One last mention here will be for probiotics for preventing traveller’s diarrhea. If you’re interested in supplementing your diet before you leave for travels then look for probiotics supplements that have the LGG probiotic strain or a blend of BB-12, LA-5, STY-31, and LBY-27. If this is all Greek to you then you can speak to a pharmacist and they will likely be able to help you. Traveler’s diarrhea can happen while you’re out of the country, but you don’t have to let it even come close to ruining your vacation.

<< Go back to blog

IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.


Please wait while the page is loading. Do not hit refresh or the browser back button to avoid any loss of information.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our Customer Service team via the chat option on our website or calling us toll free at: 1-800-891-0844