Parent of Teenagers: An IBS Story

Throughout my time contributing to, many people have shared their trials and tribulations dealing with IBS and raising children. How do you explain that you are sick a lot of the time? Why do eat a certain way? Why are you in the BATHROOM SO LONG?

I think I wrote an article a while back about the struggle when my twin boys were about 12. That was hard. I’ve heard similar, but different stories regarding younger children. While the illness is still a part of the household, younger children don’t tend to notice or judge things the way older kids or teenagers do. My boys are now 16 years old. We live in a very small 2-bedroom apartment with 1 bathroom the size of a closet. They are in the bathroom a lot; I am in the bathroom a lot.

Life with IBS and teenagers

Glass half full is that my kids are not the judgmental types or the types that this type of conversation is funny. A lot of teenagers would find it hilarious or disgusting or any number of really negative responses. I raised my kids not to make bathroom jokes or go rolling on the floor if someone farts. This is fine if you have that kind of sense of humor. I’m their Father, and well, I don’t. Especially having to deal with IBS for the last 5 years. The problems don’t stem from the discussions or the excuses, but just managing the bathroom itself. The room, the lack of space, emergencies. In order to make it work, they have learned to be flexible and so have I. I never thought that I’d be living with two basically grown men who are in the bathroom almost as much as I am.

Finding a solution for me and the teenagers

When I started realizing that our normal IBS problem was exacerbating, I started to panic about what to do. One night I was watching Game of Thrones and someone threw the contents of a chamber pot out into the alley outside their window. Ew, gross, and no, that was not my epiphany.

What about a Porta-Potty? You know the kind you can take camping with you? Very inexpensive (around $125) for a pretty nice one on Amazon. I keep it well cleaned and ready to go in my closet. If flares suddenly hit, the corner of my bedroom becomes a second bathroom, complete with all the IBS amenities.

When I am feeling better, I clean like a madman and put the room back together in perfect order. Hell, it was what I decided on. I’m sure many of you have different stories and different ways of dealing with this issue. Please share your thoughts and feelings on the matter. We can all learn something from sharing these sometimes frustrating and sometimes very funny aspects of this illness. Thanks for reading.

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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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