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A woman is show in several different stages of activity during her day - riding the train, at a job interview, each scene separated by a bathroom door.

Having IBS Has Taught Me To Allow Extra Time, Always

My stomach is usually at its most active and vocal in the morning. It’s had time to repair overnight and is raring to go from 6 a.m., ready to start digesting and emptying itself. My body is like clockwork and I know that I’ll need a morning poo before I crack on with my day, whether I need to leave the house or not.

To eliminate the risk of becoming a stressed and rushed mess, I get up earlier than I need to, allowing myself extra time in case I need to lock myself in the loo for 10 minutes or so.

Extra time eases the stress of IBS

Building in extra time for my often-unpredictable bowel habits is my answer to everything and has served me well. It takes away any potential stress, which is good for my anxiety, and means that if I get the overwhelming urge to go, I’m good to go and can try to relax in the process.

This works particularly well for the nervy poos. You know, the ones where you have a big meeting to go to and can feel the mix of excitement and nerves tingling down your back before the butterflies kick off in your stomach and you have to run to the nearest toilet. I know this is going to happen, my body is becoming predictable, so I make sure I block out that slither of time to do my business.

As a side note, I’ve learned that this happens because your body goes into fight or flight mode, or caveman mode, as I like to call it. Because if you were in a scenario where you came face-to-face with a saber-toothed tiger your body starts pumping blood to the areas that need it most and your gut works hard to eliminate any extra waste and weight, so you can run faster! It makes sense, the body is an amazing thing.

Tips for making extra time

I no longer let it stress me out. Instead, I live by the following rules:

  • If I’ve got an important meeting or presentation and know the nervy poos will strike, I block out a 10-minute period before I need to leave to allow for it.
  • If I’m catching the train somewhere and feel anxious about the journey, I build-in 10 minutes on each side, so I can complete my journey. I have allotted some time to use the toilet should I need to.
  • When I’m excited about a big family shindig which has given me the butterflies, I wake up a little earlier than normal so I don’t have to rush to get ready.

My basic equation for living with IBS and frequently experiencing the nervy poos is to add 10 minutes to EVERY SINGLE THING. It works for me. Do you allow extra time for your bowels?

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.


  • Lucy33
    4 months ago

    I basically do the same thing. Generally, I need at least 30 minutes, sometimes more.
    This means I must be up by 5:30 most mornings and if I am going to a competition, by 5:00 AM. It frequently means I don’t get enough sleep. I train and walk dogs and today was a bad morning, so I barely made it back in time from my first walk and on the second, made sure to head to a park with a restroom. Not sure what set this off but hope it settles down soon because I have a competition this weekend!

  • tmholland moderator
    4 months ago

    @lucy33, Here’s hoping you’re good for your competition this weekend and I’m hoping you are able to get enough sleep. Thank you for sharing your experiences and I hope today is tolerable for you :-). -Todd, Team

  • Lucy33
    4 months ago

    Oh, I will survive… just need to drink enough water and take Pepto Bismol. Nothing stops me.
    It had better improve though, because usually they have only a single outhouse at the grounds where I am competing this weekend.
    Thank you!


  • hbelle48
    4 months ago

    I get up two hours earlier if I have a meeting or ‘leave the house’ appointment in the am. I need at least two hours at home for ‘toileting’ and then I am fine!

  • Emily
    4 months ago

    I’m the same way. 10 mins made me laugh. It’s at least 2 hours sometimes even that isn’t enough.

  • Becky Oleson moderator
    4 months ago

    It sounds like a great strategy to get up extra earlier when you have to leave the house, hbelle48. Do you go to bed early the night before, too? Do you have any issues getting enough sleep? -Becky, Team

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