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Do bowel movements increase when you travel to a high altitude ?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
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Do bowel movements increase when you travel to a high altitude such as Mt. Hood in Oregon which is about 4500 ft.?
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 1 hour later
Hello ,
Thanks for posting your query.
Yes, there is a possibility of gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea, anorexia, increased flatulence etc at the mentioned high altitude.
Infact, Gastrointestinal (GI) problems at high altitude are commonplace. The manifestations differ considerably in short-term visitors, long-term residents and native highlanders. Although the main causes are changes in blood circulation anf hypoxia with resultant hormone disturbances,
diarrhoea, is often related to poor hygiene and sanitation is also frequently seen especially among the short-term visitors.The human body can adapt to high altitude through immediate and long-term acclimatization. Full acclimatization, however, requires days or even weeks.
So if you are experiencing bowel upset or any respiratory or cardiovascular symptoms it's best to consult your physician for thorough evaluation and management.
If the visit is short lasting you may wait and watch for self resolution. XXXXXXX breathing exercises may help the body to combat the altitude related problems.Also maintain adequate fluid intake to prevent dehydration.
But if symptoms worsen or persist for more than ten days do seek prompt consultation.
Hope I have answered your query.

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