When is an upset stomach more than just an upset stomach? When it's Montezuma's revenge! (You read that in your old-timey announcer voice, right?)
This cursed form of digestive distress can be a burden, and we're here to help. We've got the scoop on how to alleviate symptoms and how to avoid this monstrosity in the first place.
The Infamous Montezuma's Revenge Explained
"Montezuma's revenge" is a nickname for traveler's diarrhea. The term originated in the 1960s. More specifically, Montezuma's revenge is TD that starts in Mexico — hence the Montezuma part; Montezuma led the Aztec Empire at its peak.
TD is also sometimes referred to as "Delhi belly" or "Nile runs," but all three hackneyed aliases have lost favor with time and better judgment. You know when Charlotte famously gets sick in the Sex and the City movie? That's Montezuma's revenge.
Symptoms of Traveler’s Diarrhea
Traveler's diarrhea is an infection of the digestive system. Most cases are bacterial and relatively short: Think no more than four days of feeling rotten. Roughly one in 10 people with TD experience week-long symptoms.
Since TD affects your stomach and intestines, it can produce a handful of gnarly symptoms:
These are probably not the words you thought would sum up your vacation, business travel, or mission trip.
TD typically hits during the first two weeks of travel and tends to affect younger people in more significant numbers than older people. It occurs most often in developing nations across Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, although it also frequently occurs in China, Russia, and Southern Europe.
At-Home Remedies to Avoid or Settle Traveler's Diarrhea
If you develop a wicked case of TD, the good(ish?) news is that you're not alone. The CDC estimates anywhere from 30 to 70% of travelers to the developing world experience TD.1
The even better news is TD typically resolves itself on its own. This means no searching for medical care in an unfamiliar place using a language you don't understand.
When it comes to avoiding TD in the first place, meanwhile, the keys are planning and paying attention.
Say Goodbye to Ice Cubes
Bacteria loves to hitch a ride on water. It doesn't matter if it's flowing out of a tap or frozen in a cube; bacteria are down to clown. As such, one of the very best things you can do to avoid TD when abroad is to just say "no" to water.
It sounds easy enough, but you ingest water more often than you think, and it only takes a few drops to transfer germs. When you're traveling and the water will likely make you sick:
- Don't add ice to your beverages.
- Wipe off all bottles and cans before drinking.
- If you want to drink water, stick to bottled water only.
- Brush your teeth using bottled water, too.
Stick to Eating Cooked Foods
Unless you're preparing those greens or cleaning that fruit personally, it's best to avoid raw foods when traveling to TD hotspots. For example, when you order a salad, it's impossible to know for sure if the lettuce and any other raw veggies in there were washed in safe water. (Spoiler alert: They almost certainly were not.)
The same goes for raw fruits and vegetables that you may find in restaurants or sold on the street. Unless you clean it and peel it yourself, you're risking exposure to bacteria that may cause TD.
Limit your menu to cooked foods found in restaurants and packaged foods from groceries. Watch out for undercooked meat and fish, and avoid dairy products if you can, too, as several dairy items boost your risk of catching TD.
Hydrate With Herbal Cleanses
In addition to bottled water, Detoxify's herbal cleanses are another smart, safe way to stay well-hydrated while traveling. The proprietary blend of cleansing herbs in our formulations delivers hydration to your bloodstream faster than water alone, and added vitamins and minerals replenish what your body needs to get back to optimal function.
Herbal Cleanses Hydrate Faster Shop Detoxify Herbal Cleanses
Pack Your Care Packages
Every traveler is wise to stock up on packaged goods that are safe to eat. Think cereal, balance bars, and the like. If you can purchase these on the go where you are, do it. If you can stash them in your luggage (and customs are cool with it), that's another solid option. You can even enlist the help of a friend or coworker to mail you a prepared care package from home while you're away.
Coconut Water for the Win
Coconut water is another A-level star of the hydration world. It essentially straddles the line between old, dependable water and flashy sports drinks. It contains electrolytes (good!) and sugar (not so good!) like a sports drink, but it's lower in sodium and calories.
Don't Forget Your Polisorb!
If you do come down with TD, you'll be happy you packed your Polisorb. It provides support for an upset stomach in as little as 15 minutes by rounding up irritants, gently showing them the door, and politely asking them to never, ever return. Ever.
We're certain that nobody in the history of the world has ever scribbled "get traveler's diarrhea" on their itinerary right there in between "dinner with Doug" and "tour of the small regional museum with no public restrooms." Still, it happens. The CDC says it happens a lot, in fact. Decrease the chance of it happening to you by planning ahead.
Relief From Upset Stomach in 15 Minutes Shop Polisorb