Answering Readers Questions: Flying Upsets My Stomach!!

Every time I fly, my stomach gets upset. Do you have some tips to avoid this? Thanks!!

I can totally relate to this one. I have a fairly sensitive system, and I have to be super careful I take care of myself or I will get very nauseous, very quickly. At first I thought it was all in my head, but I have read that the pressure changes you experience while flying mess with the gases in your stomach, potentially upsetting it.  And then of course there is simple motion sickness. Here are some of the tips that have worked for me to beat this before it starts:

  • Eat before every flight. Even if it’s just a snack, having something in your stomach can keep it from getting upset. A handful of nuts, some cheese, or a piece of fruit don’t take up much room in a bag but can be lifesavers! (And on the same token, don’t stuff yourself. That can also be very uncomfortable during flying.)
  • Eat small meals every chance you get. This one goes with eating before every flight. Why do you think cruise ships have midnight buffets? Because the more you eat, the less sick you get! And all it takes is one time running late (so you don’t eat at the airport), then getting stuck on the tarmac, then barely making your connecting flight, and sitting on the tarmac AGAIN, ravenous with hunger, about to start eating the plastic cup your water came in, for this one to hit home.
  • Keep snacks with you. Again, keeping something in your stomach can keep it from getting too upset. But if you are stuck in a plane for a long time or don’t have a chance to get food, having snacks with you is so important. Nuts, protein bars, and trail mix are all easily carried in a purse or laptop bag.
  • Stay hydrated. I have found that not drinking enough water can exacerbate any icky feelings that I already have. So make sure to drink at least 4-8oz of water per hour of flying.
  • Drink Ginger Ale (or Sprite). Ginger has been shown to alleviate nausea, motion sickness, and indigestion. Drink a 12 oz. glass of ginger ale 30 minutes before travel for the best results. And although Sprite doesn’t have the same preventative powers of ginger, it sure makes me feel better if there is no ginger ale around.

Just a few suggestions, but they all can help to stop upset stomach due to flying before it starts. And if none of this works, there’s always Pepto.

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