What a way to start my birthday celebration in Bali other than in the nearest bathroom. I know, TMI right, but this was when I learned the bathroom was a true place of solitude and torture from frequent visits. This experience lets me know Delhi Belly is real, how to treat it, and what precautions I need to take not to get it again.
What is Delhi Belly?
Delhi Belly is another name for Traveler’s Diarrhea. You know you got it if you’re constantly in search of a bathroom to poo or vomit. You can also have stomach cramps and nausea. Most get it from oral ingestion of contaminated food and water. So think street food, cheap restaurants, and ice. It's popular to get it while visiting third world countries in Asia, Africa, and South America.
My Delhi Belly Story
As I explored Asia, I made sure to plan it out so I could spend my birthday in Bali. I was all about getting my Eat, Pray, Love on and couldn’t wait to explore and take some epic pictures. I even made a new friend on my flight who might I add, was rather cute and entertaining that we talked the entire flight. By the time we landed in Bali, we had made plans to meet and explore Bali together.
Well, nothing was ever the same after that day. The next day, after enjoying what I thought was the best breakfast ever at my 5-star hotel, my stomach made THE LOUDEST noise I ever heard in life. So loud that the table in front of me heard it and started whispering. Before I could take my last bite, I about-faced and quickly found the nearest elevator to head to my room. I have never been so thankful for a bathroom…. and that was just the beginning.
I couldn’t step away from the bathroom. Every time I thought I was free my stomach drew me closer to the toilet. I had to cancel on my new friend because it just wasn't safe. Instead, I spent the day making bathroom breaks what seemed like every 15 minutes. Later on, I tried to pull myself together to turn up for the night, but I couldn't last that long. A few drinks in and my stomach started hurting so I went back to my room.
Feeling sorry for canceling, I pulled myself together and forced myself to go out the next day. I hadn’t seen anything outside of the hotel, and it was my new friend’s last full day in Bali. He set up a private tour for us to check out as many sites as we could in one day. We visited a textile and wood workshop, some temples, a waterfall, the rice fields, and afew other places. He even surprised me and added in a visit to the money sanctuary which I told him on the plane ride was the top thing to see in my to-do list. Isn’t he sweet? Well, unfortunately, it rained that afternoon and shortened a few of our stops, but I appreciated the day and all the thought and effort he put into planning the day for us.
Three days and another country later, I made my way to the pharmacy to get some medication. The doctor prescribed Imodium and told me to drink plenty of water. He also mentioned I should stop drinking caffeinated drinks and alcohol because it actually makes it worse. I felt dumb because I was the reason my symptoms lasted as liking as it did. Lesson learned.
How To Treat
They say symptoms seem to clear up on their own after a day or two, but mines didn’t. I started by drinking more water, but I prolonged my symptoms by drinking coffee and alcohol beverages. After a few more additional days of torture, I went to the pharmacy to grab some Imodium which is used to relieve the symptoms and stop the stress on your stomach.
If your symptoms continue, you begin to have blood in your stool, have a fever, have really bad stomach pains, or can’t keep anything down you should make your way to the nearest hospital.
Give it time.
Stay away from caffeine and alcohol.
Eat light clean meals. (Think broth soups and saltines)
And if all else fails, try some Pepto-Bismol or Imodium.
How To Prevent
Skip the ice. As much as I live for a cold drink, sometimes it’s best to drink it the way it’s provided.
Stay hydrated. With multiple flights and changes in terrain, your body can quickly become dehydrated.
Skip the raw foods. Unless you peel or shell yourself, it might be a great idea to skip it.
Cook thoroughly. Make sure all food, especially meat is cooked all the way through, and your meals are served hot.
Know your stomach. With travel, learn what your stomach can and can’t handle.
After getting ahold of my Delhi Belly, I took better precautions from that moment on out. I was super nervous to eat and stuck to a simple diet until it was time to leave Asia. I know for sure I will be better prepared next time.
Dheli Belly 1... Amanda 0, XOXO