What Is Bali Belly? Its Causes, Symptoms, And How To Prevent It

Going to another country is always exciting as you will get to immerse in their culture and experience cuisine that you’ve never had before. Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations because of its natural beauty, cultural sights, and food culture.

If you are planning a trip to Bali soon, you might have heard of the term “Bali belly”. It is another term for traveler’s diarrhea as it is caused by ingesting food or drinks that are contaminated with viruses, parasites, or bacteria. Diarrhea, vomiting, and fever are some of the symptoms of this condition.

There are other symptoms of Bali belly and we will be talking about them in this article. We will also be talking about what Bali belly is, its causes, and how to treat Bali belly in detail. Having Bali belly during your trip is no fun and if you want to have a smooth and virus-free trip, read on!

What Is Bali Belly?

Bali belly seems like a fancy name for tourists who visits Bali but what does Bali belly mean? Bali belly, or Balinese belly, is a term given to travelers visiting Bali who are experiencing stomach and digestive problems.

It is another term for gastroenteritis or traveler’s diarrhea and it does not only happen to tourists visiting Indonesia, specifically Bali. Traveler’s diarrhea is also often experienced by tourists who visit other Southeast Asian countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Bali is a beautiful place and it has a lot to offer. Bali has a lot of cultural attractions, islands, and artworks among others. Unfortunately, getting a Bali belly may also be a part of your Bali experience. As long as you are careful with what you eat and drink and be on top of your hygiene practices while you are in Bali, there is a high chance that you won’t get to experience Bali belly.

What Are The Symptoms Of Bali Belly?

Hopefully, you won’t contract Bali belly if you do visit Bali or other countries. Knowing the symptoms of Bali belly is essential so you can have an idea of what actions to take in case you find yourself experiencing this condition.

Here are the symptoms of Bali belly:

– Stomach cramps and/or pain

– Diarrhea

– Vomiting

– Dizziness

– High fever

– Being lethargic

– Loss of appetite

What Causes Bali Belly?

Bali belly is typically caused by viruses, parasites, or bacterial infections such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Shigella, Salmonella, or Campylobacter entering the stomach. Travelers who experience Bali belly typically ingested contaminated food or water.

Since Bali is a hot and humid country, it is easy for bacteria to thrive in this environment. This can cause food to spoil faster, especially when it is not prepared or stored properly.

Drinking tap water in Bali is also one of the causes of this condition. Bali does not have a good reputation when it comes to tap water. It is advisable to drink bottled water to avoid getting sick.

Aside from contaminated water and food, poor hygiene and a sudden change in diet can cause Bali belly. Not washing your hands before eating can cause bacteria from your hands to transfer to the utensils, especially if you hold the top of a straw with unclean hands.

If you are not used to eating Balinese food, make sure to have it in moderation and ease into eating local cuisine so your stomach can get accustomed to the flavors. Eating spicy food if you are not used to it can also cause an upset stomach. If you are going to be drinking alcohol during your trip, drink in moderation and make sure to drink bottled or filtered water often so as to not irritate your stomach lining.

What Is The Treatment For Bali Belly?

Getting Bali belly during your trip is not fun. It is better to prevent Bali belly than to cure it while you are on vacation.

While you probably want to eat like a local and experience authentic Balinese cuisine, you might want to be careful about what you eat or drink. If you want to avoid Bali belly, make sure to avoid eating fruits or leafy salads that have been washed with tap water. This will prevent you from getting food poisoning.

Bali experience is not complete without eating street food. However, make sure that the street food vendor you will buy from has a clean station and that the food also appears clean. Avoid drinking tap water or putting ice in your drinks. While brushing your teeth with tap water is generally safe as long as you don’t swallow the water, it is best if you use filtered water instead of the tap. Always sanitize your hands before eating, after going to the toilet, after getting out of the cab, and even after handling money to avoid transferring possible bacteria to your food or drink.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Bali belly, make sure to drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated. You can also drink oral rehydration solutions to replace the electrolytes that you are losing.

Avoid dairy foods and make sure to only eat plain foods as your stomach will be sensitive for a couple of days. Activated charcoal pills or tablets, like Norit, are also available in Bali supermarkets. These tablets are typically taken at the first sign of Bali belly symptoms. These can help prevent the poison from being absorbed by the stomach.

If symptoms persist after a few days, it is best to seek medical advice at a nearby hospital or clinic to help you treat Bali belly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Bali Belly Contagious?

Bali belly itself is not contagious but, the bacteria that caused the condition can be transmitted to other people. E. coli, salmonella, and other bacterial infections that cause Bali belly can also be passed on by consuming contaminated food and water. This is why proper hygiene and watching what you eat and drink are important when you are in Bali.

What Are The First Symptoms Of Bali Belly?

If you are starting to experience a sudden onset of fever, nausea, bloating, or stomach pains, it might be the start of having Bali belly. If these symptoms get worse, you will likely experience diarrhea and vomiting next. On the first sign of Bali belly, even if you are not sure if it is Bali belly, take care to drink and eat plain foods to avoid upsetting your stomach further.

How Long Does Bali Belly Last?

This condition typically lasts anywhere between 1 to 5 days. You will likely experience loose and watery bowels, vomiting, stomach cramps, and fever. Beli belly usually goes away on its own as the body recovers but if symptoms persist, seek medical attention right away.

Is Yakult Good For Bali Belly?

Yakult is a probiotic drink that contains Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota (LcS). These probiotic bacteria have health benefits that can help improve your digestion and protect the body from bad bacteria. Drinking Yakult can help restore good bacteria and reduce Bali belly symptoms.

Is Bali Belly Painful?

Yes, it can be painful as you will be experiencing stomach cramps, pain, dizziness, vomiting, and fever.

Wrap Up

You can have a fun trip to Bali without worrying about having Bali belly or traveler’s diarrhea. Don’t let this condition prevent you from enjoying Bali. As long as you practice proper hygiene, watch what you eat, and avoid drinking tap water, you will avoid the dreaded Bali belly.

This article talked about what Bali belly is, its symptoms, its causes, and how to treat it so you can have a smooth trip to Bali. If you have other questions, let us know via the contact form on our website and we will get back to you!

Related Articles

renting a boat in hvar featured image

Renting A Boat In Hvar

Hvar is a Croatian island known for its natural landscapes, beautiful beaches, active nightlife, and historic city center. Island hopping is also very popular on

Read More »