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IBS Forecast Looks Threatening: Stay Indoors

IBS Forecast Looks Threatening: Stay Indoors

Oh no, not again.
Not NOW.

I was having a long-awaited and much-needed afternoon with my girlfriends, laughing and sharing our challenges. As usual, we did a potluck assortment of great foods and beverages, and they are always kind to keep my dietary restrictions in mind, keeping some items separate or letting me know the ingredients of various foods.

Then I felt the rumbling in my abdomen, like thunder on the horizon.

Sometimes, it could just be rumbling. But this felt different. It was a foreshadowing of a coming storm. An IBS tsunami.

IBS is unpredictable

After I went to the bathroom three times in about 15 minutes, I figured I had enough of a window to be able to drive myself home before the next wave. I made my apologies and left the party, disappointed to be missing out on time with my friends but just wanting to be home when I felt so bad. I’m grateful to have friends who understand – they were disappointed for me and were kind and supportive of my need to leave.

I’d been doing so well – for the past few months my IBS symptoms had been mild and generally manageable. I’ve been sticking to the diet that works for me and hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary. I’d been avoiding my known triggers. But that’s IBS for you: it’s unpredictable. Just when we think we have everything under control, it laughs and comes crashing back.

Battening down the hatches

I spent the rest of the day and evening between the couch and the bathroom. Despite taking multiple doses of anti-diarrheal medication, I continued to have a flare of symptoms throughout the night. My sleep was interrupted multiple times as I made my way back to the toilet. I felt hollowed out. My energy was completely zapped. And despite drinking plenty of water and making sure I was replacing electrolytes, I felt dehydrated.

I just had to hunker down and ride it out. My sweet cat Elsie was a comfort, sitting on my lap when I was seated, or snuggling up nearby when I was lying down. I continued to drink plenty of water and other liquids, as well as eating mild, anti-inflammatory foods for the next 24 hours. Although it came on suddenly, it was much slower and seemed to take forever for it to finally end. The only good thing that comes with decades of experience with IBS is knowing now how best to support my body as it goes through these flares. And I know that it will pass, and I will continue to try to find ways to avoid this from happening again.

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.


  • JudyVan
    5 months ago

    I am so sorry that this happened to you. Most generally if I’ve been 3 times to the bathroom, I’m usually empty enough I can stay to visit. I now wear Depends all the time and carry an extra pair of slacks and a plastic bag everywhere I go. I finally found a medium sized purse that works. Used to have a brief case or tote bag. I might just abandon my old soiled slacks unless they were a favorite, but so far the Depends have held. enough. It’s a crappy way to live, isn’t it? But having the Depends really makes a difference.

    Last weekend I sang in a big choir at another church. They wanted to lock our purses up in a big room and I was frantic. So I ended up locking my purse in the car and carried the keys in my bra. I was afraid to ride in the van with others for fear of making them stop or smelling up the car. Of course I always sit on the end of the row at church in case I have to run to the bathroom. My worse fear is stringing diarrhea on the carpet of church, and so far I’ve only done it at home.

    I always carry a porta potty in our mini van. This fall I had diarrhea all over myself on a hiking trail, and had to clean up in the van. People were parked all around, but I sort of strung up a sheet and managed to clean up, but it truly was humiliating. This time the diaper didn’t hold it all,

    It’s a hard row to hoe, but I am determined to live a normal life. Thankfully I’ve never had a 3 day event. I guess confession is good for the soul.

  • Emily Downward author
    5 months ago

    Wow, JudyVan, sounds like you’ve had your share of IBS struggles, too. I’m glad you’re here among fellow IBS-ers! It can be tough, but as you suggested, we all strive to live life beyond our condition.

    5 months ago

    I feel sorry for you if Immodium wont even stop it after multiple doses!

  • Emily Downward author
    5 months ago

    Thanks, DollLady. Imodium is still one of my go-to’s, but sometimes it takes several doses before it works.

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