Two women look out at a park, with a public restroom emphasized by a location icon floating above.

3 Strategies to Attend Outdoor Events With IBS

I recently was invited to a birthday party at the park. Going to the park while experiencing an IBS flare can be a nightmare if you are unprepared.

Outdoor event questions

First, will there be bathrooms nearby? There are some parks where bathrooms are only located at the entrance. So if you will be hanging out towards the end or middle of the park, the walk to the restroom seems to be eons away. Not a good idea when you are hit with major urgency.

Secondly, some parks aren’t well managed, and either their bathrooms don’t work, or they are extremely dirty and make using them a horrifying experience.

Thirdly, just the mental kick in the butt to fear having diarrhea while being in the middle of the park, with no quick access to a washroom, is debilitating.

Managing an outdoor event and IBS

So, how did I manage this outing? I’ll give you a breakdown.

First, I will be honest and say that I almost did not go. That day was a weird day for me and my IBS symptoms. I was mostly feeling great, actually, but I hadn’t had my usual bowel movement yet, which was odd. So the fact that it hadn’t occurred really screwed me up, as I figured it would just happen while I was at the event. This fact alone had me in a tizzy. But I said to myself, let's try to make this work and create options to make me feel comfortable. Here is what I did:

Research the bathroom situation

I called a family member that was there already and asked if there were bathrooms nearby. He confirmed a yes and even sent a picture of where it was in position to where the party was. Talk about easing my nerves.

Are the bathrooms clean?

In addition, I asked if the toilets worked and if they were clean. I had both yes answers, and my nerves calmed down even more.

Bring a portable toilet, toilet paper, and wipes

This is key. In addition to knowing the bathrooms were good to go, I still wanted a backup. So I brought a portable toilet and toilet paper in the car. This is mostly for mental help. It just solidifies in my head that I have somewhere to go no matter what happens, so the fear of having an accident goes away.

Easing my mind with IBS

Those are the 3 things I did to ease my mind. And of course, as I was about to leave, I felt my stomach gurgle, and I almost backed out. But it settled, and I decided to go. Lo and behold, the moment I got there, I felt the urge to go. This worked out in my favor. I used the restroom. I was able to empty out, and then when I joined the party, I felt great. I ended up leaving 2 more times to use the restroom, but each time was quick, and overall, I enjoyed the fresh air.

Do you attend events at the park? If so, what tips do you have that you can share? We love to hear from you.

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