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Is vacation constipation normal? Does it hurt my body to hold in poop for so long?

Escaping to a sandy beach or traveling through Europe may seem like a relaxing way to spend your vacation, but there's one part of your body that may be on edge until you return home.

Many people complain of constipation when they travel. Dr. Oz says this common problem is known as "safe-toilet syndrome."

"What happens is you go out on the road, and you get into an environment that's not as safe," he says. "Humans, in order to go to the bathroom, have to allow their autonomic system—the autopilot of our body—to go into relax mode. It's the only way that you can go to the bathroom. … So when you leave the comfort of your home, you get into an uncomfortable situation where you just don't ever relax."

Two other factors can contribute to vacation constipation—lack of fiber in your diet and not drinking enough water. "That one-two punch really stops you up," he says. If you're traveling to another time zone, a confused body clock might also be to blame.

If you're experiencing chronic constipation, Dr. Oz says it could be a symptom of something more serious, like cancer or irritable bowel syndrome. "The one we fear the most is cancer, because sometimes cancer can block off your intestinal track and you can't go to the bathroom," he says.

"But the much bigger cause is something called irritable bowel syndrome. … If the gut doesn't speak to the brain correctly, then we have the syndrome called irritable bowel."
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FROM: Ask Dr. Oz II
Published on January 01, 2006

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