Traveler’s Diarrhea: Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Also commonly known as Tourist Diarrhea

It is the health problem most frequently encountered by travelers. On average, one in three people suffers from this disease.

The traveler is exposed to unfamiliar germs; the stomach is sensitive to toxins secreted by bacteria.

These toxins cling to the intestinal wall and cause abnormal secretion and many fluids. This causes diarrhea that can ruin the vacations that they longed for.

In most cases, it is a benign condition that disappears spontaneously after a few days. Its origin is mainly bacterial, viral, and parasitic.

Even today, there are many myths in public regarding the origin and treatment of traveler’s diarrhea.




Traveler’s diarrhea is manifested by a sudden increase in stool frequency, volume, or fluidity and may be associated with nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and sometimes fever.

Several possible causes:

Microbes: the traveler does not make sure to follow the basic rules of hygiene and conservation of food.

Intolerance or food allergy: fats, alcohol, milk, lactose, and many other products can cause diarrhea.

Stress and anxiety: Some situations can be stressful even during vacations and lead to diarrhea as a side effect.

Other medications: Some medications have side effects, such as diarrhea. Always check its results before ingesting them.

All these causes can stimulate abnormally liquid intestinal secretions.

Treatment for traveler’s diarrhea

Rehydration is always essential to replace the loss of fluid caused by diarrhea.

A proper oral rehydration solution: 1 liter of water, eight teaspoons of sugar, one orange, and 1 lemon; this will help you to recover all the lost liquid or simply oral serum that you can buy in a pharmacy.

Diet. Foods rich in carbohydrates and starches (pasta, lentils, potatoes, rice, etc.) are not compatible with the spread of diarrhea and are therefore recommended.

Dairy products tend to be temporarily avoided.

Antidiarrheals. They should be used with caution to slow the bowel when necessary, such as taking public transport.

It should be used with caution because delaying the excretion of the infectious agent can sometimes cause aggravation.

They are counter-indicated in the presence of high fever or blood in the stool.

Antibiotic. Antibiotics reduce the duration of traveler’s diarrhea and related symptoms. If diarrhea is essential, the antibiotic is used; more than eight diarrheic stools in 24 hours, without fever or blood in the stool.


  • Be careful what you eat and drink.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if you do not have access to soap and water. Be considerate and keep it with you during the trip.
  • Take oral rehydration salts.
  • Get information about travel diarrhea prevention and treatment options with your health care provider before traveling.

Monitor your health

Consult a doctor in the presence of bloody diarrhea, high fever, persistent vomiting, severe abdominal pain, profuse sweating, or signs of dehydration.

In some cases, diarrhea may indicate the presence of other infections (e.g., malaria); It is essential to consult a health professional, describe his symptoms, and do not forget to tell him where he has traveled or lived.

See a doctor immediately if your baby or toddler shows dehydration, bloody diarrhea, fever, or persistent vomiting.