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Surviving IBS: 1-Bathroom Home and Mobility Issues

So, I cannot run to the bathroom. Running is something I physically cannot do now. This has created its own set of challenges when dealing with acute flares. Add in the fact that I live in a 1-bathroom home with 2 other people, and that becomes an even bigger problem.

While they do everything they can to accommodate my needs, having a single bathroom means that there are times when the bathroom is not available to me. This is a big problem when sudden emergency situations arise.

Waiting for someone else to get out of the bathroom

It never fails. When the need to go is most urgent, the bathroom is occupied. My first thought is the same every single time: “Why does this always happen?” It seems like almost every time a flare suddenly hits with no warning, someone else is in the bathroom.

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If you have IBS, you understand the urgency of the situation. The unrelenting need to go right now is overwhelming and all-consuming. You cannot ignore it. It can quickly become an embarrassing situation. Waiting for someone to get out of the bathroom is not always possible. That is a huge problem.

Trying to run to the bathroom while it is unoccupied

As soon as I hear the bathroom door open, I start trying to make my way down the hall as quickly as possible. The problem is I cannot move very quickly. I am then faced with a dilemma. I can try to move quicker, which can result in an accident, or I can move at my regular pace, which can also result in an accident.

Moving quickly means I could fall, and a fall means I could get hurt and I certainly would not make it to the bathroom in time. Moving at my regular pace means I might not make it to the bathroom in time. With these 2 options, my best choice is to move at my regular pace and hope for the best. IBS and mobility issues are a bad combination.

Maybe you are wondering why I am not waiting at the door when the bathroom becomes free. I cannot stand for very long, so waiting by the door is not possible. Besides, I know how much I loathe people hanging around the door while I am in the bathroom.

Coping with the pain and urgency of acute flares

While I wait for someone to exit the bathroom, I deal with pain. IBS and the urgent need to go can be quite painful. I am sure all of you know what I mean. The cramping is very intense. Waves of pain send chills throughout your body. Trying to hold it while you wait causes even more pain. The more urgent it becomes, the more the pain intensifies.

What can I do? Keep my fingers crossed, my legs crossed, and wipe the sweat off my brow. Time seems to stop. As dire as the situation is, I am always thankful. I am thankful I am home rather than being in public. I am thankful that if I have an accident it will be less embarrassing than being in a crowd of people when it happens.

How do you cope when the bathroom is occupied? If you have mobility issues, how do you deal with trying to get to the bathroom quickly?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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