Dr. Stephen Petteruti gives a quick checklist of medical problems that might interfere with romantic vacations, and how to prevent them from getting in the way.
Nothing can kill the buzz of a romantic getaway quicker than a medical problem, even a small one. If your travel plans incorporate an expectation of carnal bliss, be prepared to amplify your joy by avoiding some of the following tripwires. Of course, consult with your own doctor before taking any medications.
Being the thoughtful and caring lover you are, I’m sure you have paid great attention to every detail of your couples get-a-way. Here are some tips to take your preparations from very good to extraordinary.
Honeymoon cystitis. Bladder infections are more likely to occur after vigorous intercourse, or more frequent than usual encounters, and most commonly affect women. This is due in part to the short length of the urethra from its opening near the clitoris to the bladder, and to the proximity of the vagina and anus. E Coli and Klebsiella are two of the more common organisms that can be acquired through cross-contamination.
A dose of antibiotic taken prior to or right after relations can ward off infection. Ciprofloxacin, Macrodantin, or Bactrim are prescription medications often used for this purpose. Cranberry juice tends to fail and is difficult to pack. If your sexcapades include props, be sure they are all thoroughly washed and dried with plain soap and water before showtime.
Vaginal candidiasis. A raging yeast infection can challenge the creative abilities of the most dedicated lovers. Be sure to pack Diflucan oral tablets (prescription) or Monistat intravaginal cream or suppositories (over the counter).
The dreaded herpes outbreak. This can show up either as a cold sore on the lip or as genital sores. It may have been years, even decades since you had an outbreak. Mix the stress of travel with the bad luck of ill-timing and your whole vacation can be compromised. My best advice is to take Acyclovir 400 mg one pill twice daily starting one week prior to your vacation and continuing until you get home. The alternative is to take Acyclovir with you and start 800 mg three times a day at the first sign of infection. The problem with this approach is you may still be suffering through three or four days of symptoms before it kicks in. A prescription strength steroid ointment will reduce the pain and swelling in the event of an outbreak.
Erectile difficulties. While the romance of an exotic location may be a great aphrodisiac, the stress of travel the shifting of time zones and perhaps a bit more adult beverage then you typically consume can rob you of your vitality at a most inopportune time.
My first tip is to avoid drinking too much. One or two ounces of alcohol may be disinhibited, but much beyond that and you start to hinder performance. L-Arginine, an amino acid known to enhance bloodflow to the penis may be safely used in a dose of 1600 milligrams twice a day to improve general rigidity. Finally, be sure to pack some Viagra, Cialis or Levitra so you can be ready for a “command performance.” My best advice is to take this medication prior to kickoff. If you realize at the last minute that you would have benefited from a dose, it’s too late for it to get into your system and help you. Ideally, you should try the medication before departing to your destination to ensure you tolerate it well. These drugs work best when taken on an empty stomach 2 hours before activity.
Skin issues. Blisters, skin infections, splinters acquired during the day can be enormously distracting when the sun goes down. A product called moleskin can be acquired over-the-counter at any pharmacy. In the event of a blister, puncture a hole in the overlying, dead skin, drain the fluid, cut away the remaining white, dead skin. This skin has no pain fibers and will not bleed. Cover the base with the moleskin and march on.
Cellulitis This can be identified by red, tender skin. An oral antibiotic such keflex 500 mg three times a day for five days should be adequate especially if caught early.
Cuts and scrapes. In addition to prompt washing, Bactroban ointment applied twice a day can help prevent infection.
Travelers diarrhea. While most common with tropical destinations, this condition can occur with any out-of-country travel. You didn’t put forth all this energy and money so you can admire the details of your bathroom while cramping and suffering through watery diarrhea! Cipro 500 mg one or two doses is usually adequate to knock this out quickly.
Migraine headache. Be sure to pack Imitrex or your favorite antimigraine drugs. Even if you haven’t had one in years, the change of routine can sometimes be a trigger.
Constipation. If you’re predisposed towards this difficulty, start taking Colace 100 mg twice a day three days before departure. This gentle stool softener will not give you diarrhea but will keep things moving. Then bring along some MiraLAX packets. In the event of a significant failure to produce, these may help stimulate a normal movement.
While certainly not exhaustive, this list will help you keep in mind the necessity of preparing for predictable minor illnesses so the impact will be diminished should they occur. Perhaps the most important advice is to make an appointment with your family doctor before your departure. Discuss with him/her my suggestions and decide which options are most appropriate for your medical history.
In the event of something truly significant—a broken leg, heart attack, a life-threatening infection, be sure you have purchased medical evacuation insurance. Getting off your romantic island in the event of a medical emergency can be enormously expensive without it.
I hope these tips will help give you exciting nights and peaceful mornings! Please share with me and our readers other ideas you may have regarding travel preparation. Or better yet, share with us some stories that you have experienced or heard of that highlight the importance of this issue.
photo: Simon_sees / Flickr