The Importance of Preparing for Stomach Issues
Mexico is a beautiful country filled with rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious food. Unfortunately, many travelers experience stomach problems during their trip which can quickly put a damper on their vacation.
Whether it's Montezuma's revenge or simply a case of indigestion, it's essential to prepare for stomach issues before embarking on your journey to Mexico.
Why Stomach Issues are Common in Mexico
The most common cause of stomach problems in Mexico is the consumption of contaminated food and water. The tap water in Mexico is not safe to drink, even for locals.
As a tourist, it's imperative to avoid drinking tap water and using ice cubes made from tap water. Generally speaking most ice here is made from RO process and should be safe, especially in larger cities. Additionally, street food that may not have been prepared under hygienic conditions can also lead to stomach issues.
If you do get sick and have to run to the baño, have no fear! Check out this guide on using public restrooms in Mexico. It's probably a little different from what you are used to.
Get a taste of Mexico's vibrant cuisine - check our guide for all things Mexico.
What Can Happen If You Don't Prepare
If you don't take any steps to prepare for stomach issues when traveling to Mexico, you could end up spending more time than planned in your room. No one wants that. I have been sick many times but have always been prepared. Well after the first time, lets just say that haha.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may need medical attention and could miss out on your planned activities.
The Importance of Enjoying Local Cuisine Safely
One of the things I love about traveling is indulging in new foods and experiencing local cuisine. However, it's crucial not only to enjoy these dishes but also do so safely by taking precautions against potential contamination and bacteria that may cause stomach issues.
Although getting sick while traveling can happen anywhere in the world, preparing for potential stomach problems before heading off on your Mexican adventure can make all the difference between enjoying an unforgettable vacation or being stuck indoors feeling miserable.
My Go to List for What to Take to Mexico for Your Stomach
I have put together a list of my go to items that I take with me on my trips to Mexico and abroad.
- Colostrum: Colostrum is great for gut health and recovering from food poisoning. It is the first milk produced by a mother after giving birth and contains high levels of antibodies and nutrients that boost the immune system. Colostrum can help repair any damage done to the gut lining and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
It also aids in the absorption of nutrients and can improve overall digestive health. In addition, it has been shown to be effective in helping the body recover from food poisoning by reducing inflammation and promoting healing.
- Probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your digestive system. Taking a probiotic supplement can help maintain the balance of bacteria in your gut, which can be disrupted by unfamiliar foods and water in Mexico.
- Imodium: Imodium is an over-the-counter medication that helps relieve diarrhea. It can be a lifesaver if you suffer from a sudden bout of diarrhea, which is common in Mexico due to changes in diet and water sources. Use this as a last resort.
- Pepto-Bismol: Pepto-Bismol is another over-the-counter medication that helps relieve stomach problems such as nausea, heartburn, and indigestion. It is useful in case you overindulge in spicy food or alcohol, which can irritate your stomach.
- Hand sanitizer: Good hand hygiene is critical to avoid getting sick in Mexico. Carry a bottle of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to sanitize your hands before eating or touching your face.
- Water bottle with filter: If you plan on traveling outside the cities then bring this, the tap water in Mexico is not recommended due to the risk of contamination. Bring a refillable water bottle with a filter to purify water from other sources or use water bottles there.
- Anti-bacterial wipes: Clean and disinfect surfaces such as tables, chairs, and bathroom fixtures with anti-bacterial wipes to reduce your exposure to germs.
General Tips for Stomach Health in Mexico
Drink bottled water
One of the most important things to keep in mind when traveling to Mexico is to pay attention to what you drink. Tap water in Mexico is not always safe for consumption, so it's important to stick with bottled water or other sealed beverages.
Wash hands frequently and carry hand sanitizer
Good hygiene practices are key when it comes to avoiding stomach issues in Mexico. Make sure you wash your hands frequently throughout the day using soap and clean running water.
If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer instead. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag or pocket so you can easily access it when needed.
It's especially important to wash your hands before eating or handling any food products. By following these simple tips for maintaining stomach health while traveling in Mexico, you can help ensure a more enjoyable trip without any unexpected stomach issues getting in the way!
Medications to Pack
Eating unfamiliar foods or drinking a lot of tap water can easily lead to stomach issues, such as bloating, diarrhea, or even food poisoning. It is important to pack some essential medications ahead of time to keep your belly healthy and happy during your stay in Mexico.
When it comes to over-the-counter medications for stomach issues in Mexico, Pepto-Bismol is the go-to for many travelers. This pink liquid provides relief for upset stomachs, nausea, bloating and diarrhea. Imodium A-D is another popular choice that helps control diarrhea by slowing down the digestive system.
Tums are great for soothing heartburn or acid reflux caused by spicy Mexican food. Remember to read the labels carefully before using any medication in order to properly follow the recommended dosage.
If you suffer from more severe digestive issues like acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it's important that you bring your prescription medication with you to Mexico.
Be sure to talk with your doctor first about possible side effects and interactions with other medicines before taking them abroad. While you will likely be able to find them in a pharmacy in Mexico, having your prescriptions on hand will help if you start feeling illl.
Probiotics to promote healthy gut bacteria
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found naturally in the digestive system that help break down food and promote overall gut health. If you don't eat enough fermented foods like yogurt or kimchi regularly, consider packing some probiotics supplements while traveling. Taking probiotics daily will help populate your gut with healthy bacteria and improve digestion, so you can enjoy all the delicious foods Mexico has to offer without worrying about stomach problems.
Foods to Eat for Stomach Health in Mexico
When it comes to eating in Mexico, it's important to be cautious about what you consume. However, if you’re a foodie like me that can be easier said than done.
If you are feeling a little sour or sick, stick with plain rice dishes, cooked vegetables, and grilled meats. These items are usually prepared at high temperatures for a long time which helps kill off any harmful bacteria that may be present.
Yogurt with Live Cultures
Yogurt is a great addition to your diet while traveling in Mexico. Not only is it a tasty snack or breakfast option but it also contains live cultures that promote healthy digestion. These live cultures help keep your gut flora balanced and can offer protection against harmful bacteria that you may encounter while traveling.
Fruits That Can Be Peeled
Fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients when traveling in Mexico. However, not all fruits are created equal.
Fruits that cannot be peeled (such as berries) may have come into contact with contaminated water or soil during growth which can lead to illness if consumed uncooked. Instead, opt for fruits such as bananas or oranges which have a protective peel that can be removed before consumption.
This will help ensure they're safe to eat and won't cause any stomach issues during your trip. Remembering these food tips will help you stay healthy during your visit to Mexico while still enjoying the local cuisine without worry!
You can pick up some cheap fruits and vegetables at tainguis on the weekends (usually Sunday).
Additional Tips for Stomach Health in Mexico
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
When traveling to Mexico, it's important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Staying hydrated can help prevent stomach issues such as diarrhea and constipation.
However, it's important to only drink bottled or purified water and avoid tap water. You can find bottled water easily in convenience stores throughout Mexico.
Rest when feeling unwell
If you start feeling unwell during your travels in Mexico, it's essential that you rest and give your body the time it needs to recover. Pushing yourself too hard when feeling sick can make things worse and potentially ruin your trip altogether.
Seek medical attention
In case of severe stomach issues that persist for more than a couple of days or if you experience symptoms such as high fever or dehydration, don't hesitate to seek medical attention. Mexico has many good hospitals and clinics where you can receive quality care.
Traveling to Mexico is an exciting experience, but it comes with certain risks for stomach health due to differences in food, water, and hygiene practices. I have only been sick a couple of times while in Mexico and they were all from restaurants oddly enough.
I eat street food at least once a week and can say I've never been sick, so I advise any one that wants to try it to go for it!
By following the tips outlined in this article such as drinking bottled water only and packing necessary medications including colostrum and probiotics for healthy gut bacteria along with seeking medical attention if needed will help ensure that your trip is memorable for all the right reasons!
I consider myself a world-travelling nomad and a foodie at heart. Born in Germany and raised in East Tennessee, my passion for exploration has taken me all over the planet - exploring unfamiliar lands and cultures is what truly inspires my soul!
I live outside of Doha and consider myself an inside expert on all things Qatar. I love exploring all the country has to offer and look forward to giving you valuable insights of where I call home!