A black woman looks distressed with a rumbling stomach and stands uncomfortably in a crowded elevator.

Dealing with Major IBS Urgency at the Grocery Store

Last updated: November 2022

I was heading to the grocery store to grab some things before I showed up at a family gathering. I hadn’t had breakfast yet, and it was late morning. This is usually a recipe for disaster for me, but I needed to stop at the grocery store for dessert and bread, as I promised.

Panic in the parking lot

As I parked in the parking spot, my stomach started to rebel. It was instant and very urgent. I had to go badly, and I was far from the restroom. It turned out that at this particular grocery store, I had to take an elevator from the parking garage down to the first floor, which was where the store was located. I was in a slight panic.

And if you wouldn't know, I had a similar experience while going to my apartment just a couple of days prior. Urgency hit hard just as I parked in my spot and the nearest bathroom was in the lobby, which involved me hitching a ride on the elevator.

There is nothing worse when you are in the pain of dealing with major urgency and having to hitch a ride on the elevator. It is so hard to remain calm, but it is the only way to get through the experience. Breathing and positive self-talk is the only way I can get through these moments.

Reassuring myself of nearby toilets

I literally repeat to myself, "You're almost there, you're almost there." Over and over again. Or things like "You can make it. You will make it." And honestly, that positivity gives you an extra boost to make it to the bathroom.

In this particular instance, the elevator I rode was full of about 7 people. Just my luck. And I positioned myself right in front of the door, so I could bolt out the moment they opened. Here I am, breathing quietly, trying to stay focused, praying for my designated floor to arrive quickly. It was not at all what I would say—pleasant.

Beating urgency with IBS

The moment the doors parted, I went to the restroom, which was right nearby. I must say I do appreciate that, for the most part, grocery store bathrooms are very clean. And this one was just as expected. Clean and empty.

By God’s grace, I made it in time to the restroom and was able to regroup. I am always thankful that I carry with me the essentials. For me, it includes feminine pads, wipes, and a travel-sized air freshener. I am always relieved whenever I can pull these essentials out from my purse. They are lifesaving. I also have a clean pair of underwear in one of the zipper pockets in my purse, just in case. You can also go as far as having a bag in your trunk with a change of clothes. You can even store a portable toilet there if you have long drives.

Have you ever had to suffer on an elevator ride while your insides are about to burst? How did you cope? Share with us, it’s nice to know we aren’t alone.

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