IBD Worst-Case Scenario Handbook

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) never takes a break, so it comes with you wherever you go. If you ever want to leave your house, you need to have some plans in place for when the worst happens. With some forethought, you can avoid having a little problem turn into an embarrassing situation that ruins your day. Some of the common problems that can be bothersome to people with IBD is finding a restroom, cleaning a dirty toilet, having a bathroom accident, and a clogged toilet. Read on to find out how you can prepare for some worst-case scenarios that happen to people with IBD.


Problem: There's No Restroom

Bathroom sign with an arrow
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Solution: Wherever there are humans, there are bathrooms. You just need to know where to find one, and how to get in when you need it. My best advice to get past the customers-only sign is to walk right in like you own the place and head right for the nearest stall. If you live in a state with the Restroom Access Act, you have a legal right to use a bathroom, even if it's for "employees only." On top of that, there are some other bathroom tactics, like asking to go to the front of the line, that you can use to get to the front of the line and prevent accidents.


Problem: A Dirty Toilet

Cleaning Products
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Solution: There could be many reasons why you'd need to clean a toilet real quick. Maybe you're out somewhere, you need to go, and the only toilet is really dirty. Or perhaps you're at a friends' house, and the diarrhea hits you unexpectedly. Never fear, as long as you have a few things that are normally found in a bathroom, like a toilet brush and some bathroom cleaner, you should be able to clean up quick. If you have your emergency IBD kit with you, you'll be in even better shape. You can use the wet wipes in your kit to do a quick clean up, and if you have some disposable gloves, you'll be on your way in minutes.


Problem: Bathroom Accident

Empty Toilet Paper Rolls
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Solution: This problem is one that you need to prepare for in advance. The good news is, though, it should only take a few minutes of your time, and you are set. Anyone who has IBD should have an emergency kit -- and maybe even more than one. Stock this kit with the things you need in case you have a bathroom accident when you are out. The key, and this is absolutely the most important thing, is to restock your kit after you've used it. Some people find that having the kit, which offers a measure of security, even helps with some of the anxiety that comes from living from bathroom to bathroom. Your kit is going to be as individual as you are, but you should at least have extra underwear, wet wipes, plastic gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, paper towels).


Problem: Clogged Toilet

Toilet plunger
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Solution: A clogged toilet is a really common problem that can happen to anyone. In order to avoid the clogged toilet in the first place, I recommend flushing multiple times: flush once before you are even finished with your bowel movement, and then flush again when you are done. You may even need a third flush if you've needed to use wet wipes or copious amounts of toilet tissue. Even so, a toilet clog can happen pretty easily. Your first clue that the toilet is clogged is that the water doesn't go down all the way when you flush. Do not flush again!

Find a toilet plunger and use it by covering the opening in the bottom of the toilet with the plunger end. Push down on the handle firmly and swiftly, taking care not to go too fast or too vigorous, in order to avoid splashback. Most clogs will clear easily with a few plunges. The water in the bowl will lower when the clog is clear. Flush again to ensure that the clog has cleared completely.

Be Prepared

In most cases, it is being prepared that is going to save you from unexpected situations. Having a plan in place before things get out of hand could do wonders for your peace of mind and help you get out and enjoy a social life. Start by knowing where the bathrooms are and having your emergency kit available at all times.

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