Pain Relief Mistake - When the English Language is Not the Same in Every Country

Debbie Centeno
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Traveling can Cause Constipation

You know when here, in the good old USA, we say, “I gotta go,” how anyone can understand the meaning of going to the bathroom? Well, we once had an incident while on vacation in Brussels, which was quite funny.

According to Dr. Vogler, from the Cleveland Clinic, there are a lot of habits related to comfortable bowel movements. Just a change in what you eat or drink can affect your digestive system. Therefore, when you’re traveling, it’s no wonder you can wind up with digestive system problems like constipation or diarrhea. We have experienced these digestive system problems—especially constipation.

We Needed Relief

After two days in the Netherlands and upon arrival in Brussels, my daughter needed something to relieve her constipation. Therefore, we stopped at a local pharmacy. Of course, they do not have the products we have here, so we searched for their version of laxatives. But most everything was in Dutch and we do not speak Dutch. The staff members did not speak English or Spanish either. Therefore, during our search, we came across a product called Relax and Go and thought, hm, this looks like it will help me “go” to the bathroom and move my bowels, so we bought it.

The Doubt Kicked In

Other than the name, they wrote everything else on the box in Dutch, therefore; we did not know what it contained or what it was for. We just went by the name. However, the product did not work for what we intended it for. My daughter took it a few times and other than feeling relaxed, it did nothing else. Her frustration kicked in and she was about to throw it away. I asked her to let me have them so I can research once we arrived back home and so she did.

Not What We Thought it Was

Once in the USA, I used Google translation to translate what was on the back of the package. Here is what Relax & Go is for, according to Google translation:

Relax & Go is a food supplement formulated with ginseng and saffron. Promotes a good mood and improves vitality. Reduces stress. Benefits include ginseng, which helps resistance to stress. Contributes to reducing fatigue and maintaining the well-being and vitality of the body. Protects cells from oxidation. Saffron helps improve mood and promotes mental and physical well-being. Contributes to relaxation and improves sleep.

Lesson Learned

I could not help but laugh as hard as I did. It taught us that when you are in a different country, not everything in English has the same meaning for us in our country. No wonder she felt relaxed. At least it worked for what they intended it for. Lesson learned! Next time we need to use a translator before buying the product.

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My writing journey began as a way to cope with grief. I realized I enjoyed writing and began a blog, Debbie’s Reflection ( I also enjoy traveling. Therefore, as a traveler, I began another blog, Traveler Wows (, in which I share tips on places, landmarks, and reviews on airlines, hotels, and restaurants. Thank you for joining me on my writing journey.

Orlando, FL

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