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Old 09-02-2019, 02:41 AM   #1
forest dweller
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Bizarre but serious question!

Any of you have a major uptick in losing control of your bowels on multi day backpacking trips?

I don't make it to the bathroom about once every two years or so and at least 50% of the time it's when I'm backpacking!

So, get the laughs out of the way first and then serious replies please...because it's happened more than once on backpacking trips and it RARELY happens back home in civilization!

I don't know if it's the crappy limited backpackers diet or what...I just want to thicken **** up so I have more control!
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Old 09-02-2019, 07:35 AM   #2
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Do you exercise much in your day to day life? I know if I’m just getting back into exercising the activity makes things get moving (sorry can’t say I’ve ever needed new underoos though!). That’s my first thought, sudden exercise triggering things.
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Old 09-02-2019, 09:06 AM   #3
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I always have a spare pair in the hiking pack! Do you notice that you are "hot", maybe starting to get overheated when this occurs. My (thankfully) rare experiences have often been when I was over exerted. Do you carry and use hand sanitizer? All kinds of invisible nasties hanging out on all those " natural" surfaces, who knows what kind of havoc they can wreck in a gut. Even if you are extra fastidious about hand mouth contact, the disinfection adds an extra layer of vigilance. Nature is beautiful, but if you look a little closer everything is either eating, being eaten or starting to rot away, tons of bacteria, molds, fungi, etc involved in all that.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:04 AM   #4
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Both of the above are good points.
The most obvious place to look - so I guess you all ready have - would be in your food preparation (assuming you make your own backpacking food) as well as cleaning up your cooking utensils. Sorry to mention this in but you do not seem to care much for the food you're having so it follows may not be giving adequate attention to it's preparation.
You may or may not want to try ready made meals from: hawkvittles.com/
I haven't had them, but others have recommended them over the years.

it would not be inappropriate to discuss this with your family doctor.

Interesting thread........
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:03 PM   #5
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Do you exercise much in your day to day life? I know if Iím just getting back into exercising the activity makes things get moving (sorry canít say Iíve ever needed new underoos though!). Thatís my first thought, sudden exercise triggering things.
No actually I don't, and that has crossed my mind as the possible reason...but I could see exercising making me more regular - I just don't know why it causes a softer stool with far more pressure behind it!
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Old 09-02-2019, 01:25 PM   #6
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could it be the food itself? Do you eat different things when in the woods? For example freeze dried foods like Mountain House?
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Old 09-02-2019, 02:24 PM   #7
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I'd bet it is much of the above mentioned causes, different food, exercise ,dehydration, being tired and sanitation, maybe even anxiety/stress. Face it, when backpacking you are living and leading a whole different life than at home.
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Old 09-02-2019, 02:27 PM   #8
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could it be the food itself? Do you eat different things when in the woods? For example freeze dried foods like Mountain House?
I eat tortellini / ravioli twice (divide jar of sauce between 2 small rubbermaid containers), usually suffer through just add boiling water backpackers foods a few nights...assorted nuts and dried fruits until I can't stomach it any more...oatmeal...chocolate...jerky...
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Old 09-02-2019, 02:29 PM   #9
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I'd bet it is much of the above mentioned causes, different food, exercise ,dehydration, being tired and sanitation, maybe even anxiety/stress. Face it, when backpacking you are living and leading a whole different life than at home.
I think you may be right...so the answer may be to try to naturally "solidify" things a bit? Any thoughts on how to do that?
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:13 PM   #10
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I think you may be right...so the answer may be to try to naturally "solidify" things a bit? Any thoughts on how to do that?
Short answer, No. But think about it. Even tho you are enjoying being in the woods you still get stressed, which way to go, watching your step, carrying your load, weather factors, when to eat, where to camp, etc. So you have to adapt and relax...knowing all plans can go wrong.
Stay hydrated.
Use the sanitation methods mentioned above.
Be careful, maybe even cut back the day before, on what you eat...and go before you hit the trail if possible.
Get more exercise when home.
What was described in the beginning of this thread I believe happened to me a couple times but I went in the woods and never thought much about it after.
If it continues to happen to you I suggest seeing your primary care doctor.
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Old 09-03-2019, 01:52 AM   #11
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Nearly any of your “regular” meals that you eat at home can be dried in your oven and brought with you in the woods.
That way you’ll enjoy the meals more and should have similar, uhmm, movements too.
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Old 09-03-2019, 06:36 AM   #12
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Nearly any of your ďregularĒ meals that you eat at home can be dried in your oven and brought with you in the woods.
That way youíll enjoy the meals more and should have similar, uhmm, movements too.
I do this a lot, chop things a bit smaller and I use a dehydrator. Put it in a freezer bag and store in freezer till the next trip.
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Old 09-03-2019, 07:45 AM   #13
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You could always pop a couple of Imodium before you leave on your trip and bring some of the pills with you. I always have some in my kit for emergencies.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:43 AM   #14
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Especially in the early part of this season, filtering from runoff streams where the resultant water is often brown, I wondered enough to look into it. Apparently water with heavy tannin content can cause stomach irritation. Just something to at least consider, I don't think there's anything to be done about that.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:57 AM   #15
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You could always pop a couple of Imodium before you leave on your trip and bring some of the pills with you. I always have some in my kit for emergencies.
Great idea
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:32 PM   #16
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You could always pop a couple of Imodium before you leave on your trip and bring some of the pills with you. I always have some in my kit for emergencies.
Funny thing is it's not usually diarrhea...it's usually somewhat solid but comes on suddenly and with too much force behind it to fully control!

Sorry to be so gross and specific but it's no fun, I'd like to stop it...and it happens enough in the backcountry that I have to be sure to pack extra clothing and a wash cloth - weight I could do without...if I could do without.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:41 PM   #17
Justin
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Iím sure weíve all been there...

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Old 09-03-2019, 10:31 PM   #18
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Iím sure weíve all been there...

Yeah but as I said, it's rare in my everyday life but too common when I go backpacking, so I'm wondering the cause. PS - I'm very careful to filter and boil water.
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Old 09-04-2019, 09:19 AM   #19
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I'm not a MD, and it's hard to say without more gross and specific info, but it could be IBS.

Easiest way to treat an intermittent IBS flare up is some kind of short acting anxiety med e.g. Xanax, Klonopin, etc... The gut and the head are strongly interconnected and you may not even notice the anxiety. Sometimes intestinal distress can trigger the anxiety, which then becomes a vicious cycle.

My suggestion is to fix the problem where the rubber meets the road, but to get this stuff legally you'll have to see your PCP, a gastroenterologist and a psychiatrist. IBS, if it is that, is a really complex ailment. You should at least see the PCP and gastro to rule out anything like a polyp or other colon issues. Unlikely because it's not chronic, but always a good idea.

My bet is you take Xanax in situations where you've had the issue and it goes away.

Last edited by montcalm; 09-04-2019 at 12:46 PM..
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Old 09-04-2019, 06:23 PM   #20
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I second the possible IBS. As someone who had it when I was younger, I found that certain foods as well as stress were triggers. Anything high in fat was bad. My doc gave me an antispasmodic that I dissolved under my tongue when I felt the symptoms start. It worked well enough to calm things down long enough to get to a restroom. Hyoscyamine or something like that.

Last edited by JohnnyVirgil; 09-04-2019 at 06:37 PM..
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