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A panicked man in a bathroom is in hysterics as he notices that there is no lock on the door.

I Hate Using Another Person’s Bathroom

I really don’t like using other people’s bathrooms, especially because I have IBS. I don’t care if you’re family or friend – I just can’t ever feel, or better yet, get comfortable in someone else’s bathroom. For instance, I get panic attacks sometimes because I’m afraid someone might try to open the bathroom door or think I’m taking too long. I have also dealt with worst-case scenarios, such as not enough toilet paper, and/or no locks on the bathroom door.

Why I hate using public and other people’s bathrooms

Needless to say, my IBS is not an easy thing to deal with because of the fears it evokes in me, especially in public. So, when I make the sacrifice of leaving my comfort zone to face the struggles outside in someone else’s home, I brace myself for possible worst-case scenarios.

Panic attacks

One of the main reasons why I don’t like using someone else’s bathroom is because I get panic attacks. In my case, although the panic attacks are mild, they still exasperate my IBS symptoms. I hate panic attacks because it worsens my anxiety and makes me clench up, which makes it hard for me to release a bowel movement. It’s an ironic situation when you really have to use the toilet, but once you sit down, the panicking and anxiety takes over, which makes it hard to do the very thing you feel the urge to do. I know how my IBS works, therefore, it’s hard for me to be Speedy Gonzalez on someone else’s toilet, let alone in my own bathroom, because it takes so much concentration and patience. Since I know this about myself, the mild panic attacks occur because I’m afraid others won’t understand my IBS habits.

Some bathrooms are not Hess-friendly

Another reason why I don’t like using someone else’s bathroom is because they are not me-friendly. In other words, other people’s bathrooms don’t cater to my comfortability (and they shouldn’t). For instance, bathrooms that are Hess-friendly would have 4 simple things; a good number of toilet paper rolls, quality hand soap, a loud vent, and the most important of all, a lock on the door! I’ve gone to someone else’s home and they lacked many of these things, but the worst, for me, is when the door has no lock. How do you poop in peace with no lock on the door?! I’ve been in many situations where this is the case and I would always have to make sure whoever I’m with will “play bouncer” in front of the bathroom door to make sure no one else gets in but me.

Because of my IBS, there are so many other reasons why I don’t like using someone else’s bathroom. I find it hard to go out in public regularly because of these reasons, and, frankly, it’s just easier to deal with my IBS in the comfort of my own home.

Can any of you reading this article relate? Do you find it difficult using other people’s bathrooms? If so, what are your reasons? Please feel free to share below and thanks so much for reading my article!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • ollivier71
    2 months ago

    Hi !

    I recognize myself in your post. I also don’t like using other people’s bathrooms. Especially because I have IBS D, and the noise I can produce before a diarrhea can be very awkward and be heard by other people… there is also the smell… I am ashamed of using bathroom with people around. It’s the same at work…

    I prefer using public bathrooms because there are usually other people that you don’t know, so the noise and smell you make can be confused with other people. I feel less ashamed in public bathrooms.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    2 months ago

    Thanks for commenting ollivier71. Glad this post was helpful and hopefully helped remind you that you are not alone in this. Wishing you the best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • TracyAO
    2 months ago

    I have a big problem with diarrhea, so I may be in ,the bathroom for a while and I hope I don’t leave a mess in the toilet. I always travel with Imodium but that only stops it after! I Hate IBS!!!

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing TracyAO. For sure IBS-D symptoms can come on very quickly and unexpectedly. Do you have any other travel must-haves that help you cope? Wishing you the best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • Gossamer
    2 months ago

    Hi Hess. I’m relatively new to IBS and learning to live with it. Your article covered things I think about and now I know I’m not the only one with such thoughts. My worse thing about using other people’s bathrooms is the amount of time I have to spend and/or the number of trips I have to make. It’s usually easier to stay home when I’m having an episode. All my best to you and all who live with IBS.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    2 months ago

    I hope this article was helpful to you Gossamer and glad that it helped remind you that you are not alone in this. I hope you have friends who understand and support you. Wishing you relief ahead. Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • znoodlelady
    2 months ago

    I prefer small, private toilet with sink for clean up.
    Large facilities with toilets on one wall & sinks on the other wall are my least favorite.
    There are 2 toilets at home & one is mine quipped with extra clean underwear plus books & magazines for those times I need 30 minutes.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    2 months ago

    Great point znoodlelady. I have seen more and more of those private type restrooms with the sink. We appreciate you sharing and being part of our community. Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • shadow
    2 months ago

    I can relate to everything that Hess has mentioned. I panic when I have to use someone else’s bathroom because I fear running out of toilet paper and when you have IBS D the toilet bowl and under the seat many times are a mess, I get very embarrassed and anxious and this just makes things worse, the cramping starts all over again. I am going to dinner with friends tonight and I feel myself getting very anxious already. The first thing that I do upon arriving at the restaurant is to make sure that I know where the bathroom is located. I also always have Imodium with me.

  • tmholland moderator
    2 months ago

    @shadow,

    Yes, Hess hit the nail right on the head. Seems like an awful lot of people can relate to this struggle. Please try to relax (I truly realize easier said than done) and enjoy dinner tonight. You have a gameplan and you deserve to enjoy yourself. Thank you for sharing and remember we are here for support. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • JudyStaed
    2 months ago

    Hess, I am so sorry for what you go through. Sadly, I identify with your words too much. Living with chronic IBS (I do) brings with it endless stress and panic. These feelings can not readily be explained to people who don’t feel what we’re feeling. I avoid so much in life because of my condition. Also, in my case I can get severe pain prior to being able to go. The fear of public bathrooms is at the top of my list every time I leave this house. My worst experience was being in Macys on a Friday night. The store was loaded with shoppers and my pain hit. I got to the bathroom which had a lot of other people in it. There I sat…hoping it would all be over soon. Splat…that poop loudly went in the toilet with me ever aware that all around could hear it. As the years pass and I battle with this condition it just gets worse. Now I get what I call a leaking faucet which is the rectum meaning that I’ll go…try to get up…more will come and then more after that. Will I run out of toilet paper? Will I ever get out of here??? It is not an easy road with this condition and is life limiting. By nature I love people in general but tend to keep away from public situations. Friends of mine will meet for lunch or dinner. I never go…too much anxiety involved. Just know, Hess, that you are not alone. Know that others truly understand what you live with.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    2 months ago

    Thank you for your kind words JudyStaed and for sharing your story here. I know others in our community will be encouraged by what you’ve shared and reminded that no one is alone here. Wishing you the best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • mlabrie
    2 months ago

    I can use any bathroom anywhere… when you gotta go you gotta go. However Porta potties are my least fav.

  • tmholland moderator
    2 months ago

    @mlabrie,

    I love your attitude. I’m kinda the same. When you gotta go, you gotta go. It is our right to, uh, go :-). Thank you for sharing. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • Corgimom
    2 months ago

    I have no problem using other people’s bathrooms. I also know where every single McDonald’s is, within a 25 mile radius. The bathrooms are clean, you don’t have to ask permission to use it, you don’t have to buy anything to use it, and there rarely is a line. I keep individually wrapped wipes in my purse at all times in case there’s no toilet paper.

  • Redheadmom2
    2 months ago

    I can totally relate to this especially when it comes to using public bathrooms which can be pretty disgusting. Also I think some people without IBS don’t understand if you need to go again shortly after you just went. Yes….I need to go AGAIN

  • mlabrie
    2 months ago

    I feel you!

  • dethfire
    2 months ago

    on point! thanks!

  • SarahC13
    2 months ago

    I have always been uncomfortable using public or other people’s bathrooms, even as a kid (and before I was diagnosed). I’ve often wondered if my aversion to public (primarily) bathrooms messed up my system and contributed to my IBS.

  • tmholland moderator
    2 months ago

    Hi @sculbert13,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I think there are a lot of people who share your discomfort with bathrooms other than our own. I hope you are well today. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

  • lydiasmum78
    2 months ago

    Totally agree but I would also add to the must-have lost a pack of wipes. I don’t feel like I get clean without them. I have not been diagnosed with IBS but I have a lot of the symptoms that come with it. Never been to the doctor about it.
    It definitely creates an anxiety/panic if I have to go somewhere else as well. I have always wondered how common this fear is? Mine started in high school that I can remember. Possibly middle school but I don’t remember that time very well so who knows how early this fear started. It’s definitely real & I hate it.

  • tmholland moderator
    2 months ago

    @lydiasmum78,

    Oh, you couldn’t be more right. It is very real and I’m pretty sure we all hate it :-). Anxiety and fear is one of the worst parts. Thank you so much for your comments and I hope you are well today. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

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