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My IBS Flared At The Grocery Store

There is nothing worse than experiencing a sudden IBS flare while out in public. Throughout my years of being diagnosed, I have had this happen to me many times. Thankfully, the last couple of months I have been doing pretty well and the anxiety of going out has lessened due to improved symptoms.

Well of course, right when you think things are going well, IBS decides to rear its ugly head.

Flare at the grocery store

Was it something I ate? Was it the heat? Could it have been stress? I have no idea, to be honest, but when I was in the middle of the aisle looking for gluten-free tortilla wraps, I suddenly started to feel urgent symptoms.

My stomach began to gurgle, and cramping in my low abdominals intensified quickly. Then within minutes, the urgency smacked me in the face. I needed a bathroom fast!

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Thankfully, I know by experience that at the grocery store the bathrooms are typically in the very front of the store or in the very back. Since I was visiting from out of town and not familiar with this particular store, I immediately located the restroom in the back as I happened to be in sight of the restroom signage.

If you can only imagine, me clenching and my face all tense, as I pushed my cart full of groceries with an intense focus towards the washroom. I was dodging customers like it was my job. And up ahead there was a cart blocking my way. No time to waste! Without asking I hopped towards it and moved the obstacle. Time is of the essence people!

I parked my grocery cart in the hallway of the bathroom and ran like there was no tomorrow into the bathroom.

The panic of an IBS flare

Isn’t it the worst when you are in the middle of an urgent flare, and as you are making a b-line to the restroom, all you can do is pray that there is an open stall? You think: Dear Lord, I hope there is a toilet available. Please, let there be a toilet available! The anxiety of it all can really crank up quickly. If there is a line, you are already planning something to say: I am so sorry but I am having an emergency, can I please go next? Oof, the things we have to go through.

My restroom experience

Well, in this instance, I was in luck. When I opened the door there were multiple stalls open. I ran into the one furthest from the door and exploded. Of course, the flare only got worse. I started to feel nauseated and soon I started to throw up. Thank God, there was no one in the bathroom to hear the craziness occur because it is always mortifying to go through something like that while others are in the restroom hearing you.

Recovering from the flare

I took my time recuperating from feeling ill. I sort of sat on the loo just waiting to feel a bit better before I got up. I do this often when flares happen in public. At home, if I have an episode I get up quickly to go lay down on the couch or in bed. But when I’m out, I don’t have that luxury.

Within some time, I cleaned up, washed my hands, and finished my grocery shopping. When I finished paying, the woman checking me out said: Thank you for shopping with us, have a great day! I couldn’t help but think: if only she knew what I just went through.

I smiled back politely, and off I went.

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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