alt=a man smiling, sweating, and lying on the grass point up the clouds. Two people standing look over at him.

3 “Discreet” Tips for Managing IBS Cramps

The other day, my girlfriend and I were sitting down to play a card game. I’ve never been completely savvy with all the billions of intricate games that past card enthusiasts have conjured up, so I need to pay extra attention when learning the rules. She was explaining the rules and dealing the deck when my focus abruptly shifted. – gurgle

I had taken a prescribed dicyclomine pill with my burrito like I usually do. Sure, having food like that is EXTREMELY risky, but it hadn’t triggered me last time I had Mexican. Plus, I’m in my girlfriend’s apartment and her roommates aren’t home. No anxiety from strangers, an open path to a toilet, and medicine to calm any cramps. The perfect recipe for peace. – GURGLE!

Just like that, in a mere MOMENT, I felt that all too familiar cramp. So, I politely went to the bathroom while she thankfully, took that time to look up the rules to that card game on her computer. For now, I was safe, I mean 1 bathroom break was normal! I pushed out what I could, then sauntered back in like a new man. I went back and sat on the bed to be just be met by ANOTHER CRAMP. Now this one came from up from deep and hung in the air like a dank internal toot.

What to do when IBS cramps hit

I panicked. I mean, I’ve found very few resources along my IBS journey outlining ways to deal with cramps on the fly. Well, how about I share some of my own tips that ran through my head that night? So here are just a few of my cool and discreet techniques to handle IBS cramps either mid-conversation, or during a group activity.

Tip #1: Sit down

Find somewhere to sit. If you’re near a couch, great! Being able to take a load off is incredibly important, especially when you’re feeling light-headed. If anything, find an organic way to steer the conversation to a sitting position.

Example: “Oh you’re totally right, the wage gap is a real problem, Greg. But you’d be even more right if you were sitting like I am now.”

Tip #2: Lay down

If you cannot sit down, just lay on the ground. I’ve found that laying down desperately helps with managing my cramps. Just add a dash of abdominal massage and you’re golden. Any picnic or game of backyard badminton can be discreetly interrupted if you demand to look up and cloud watch.

Example: “Yeah I’ll serve in a second. But wow, you guys have gotta check out this big one. It looks so much like a bunny rabbit it’ll blow your minds!”

Tip #3: Make a joke

Blame your wacky and zany body. It’s something you cannot control! What people respect more than anything, is confidence. If you heard Tom Hanks on Conan talking about how he gets anxious and rips fat dukes into his toilet, we as a nation probably wouldn’t bat an eye. It can be hard to own your IBS, I’m right there with you. But I’ve found that if I poke fun at myself, it disarms people’s initial prejudices against talking about poop.

Examples:

  • “I’ll be right back. My body absolutely hates me.” 
  • “My butt decided it wanted to be on the outside.”
  • “I’m so sorry, I need to perform an exercise on my a**.”
  • “I don’t have long before my imminent butt death.”

These are just a few ways that you might handle your IBS flare-ups in a pinch. What have you found most helpful along your journey?

I ended up just laying down and playing cards on my back to soothe my stomach. I may have looked wild but jokes on you, I got the BEST neck workout!

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