Track running through department store

5 Tips for Managing IBS in the Department Store

Why is it that when you are out running errands in a store doing necessary shopping like finding a birthday gift, or looking for a formal dress for a wedding, that the urgency always loves to make its appearance? Gosh, I wish it would just chill out during those moments in life. But who are we kidding? It’s the name of the game with IBS.

So, in turn, we must, and I stress, we must be prepared always! Get ahead of the anxiety and panic and have your plan of attack. It’s inevitable, we will always have to make our way to the department store at some point, so it’s better to be prepared than not.

Tips when shopping with IBS

Here are some tips I suggest to go by when out shopping in a department store:

Secure your cart

Depending on where you are shopping if you will be using a cart, grab one on your way into the store, and immediately put a random item in it. This will automatically secure your cart and show that it is being used.

This is so important because if urgency hits you at a point of your shopping where you haven’t grabbed an item yet when you leave it to use the restroom it may be taken by another shopper or employee to return back to the front of the store. Then after your bathroom visit, you have to take a hike and find a new cart. This prevents all of that from happening.

Locate the restroom upon arrival and use it

The moment you enter the department store, locate the restroom. This will be incredibly calming mentally, knowing where the restroom is. If you can’t find the restroom sign when you arrive, take the time to ask the employee where it is before you begin your shopping.

Another tip is once you locate the restroom and have your cart, of course, go and use the washroom, even if you don’t feel the need. I find that this can be more helpful mentally than anything. You know your bowels are empty before you begin your buying and this will keep anxiety at bay.

Use breathing techniques

In the event of abrupt urgency while shopping, while you make your way to the restroom clenching your cheeks and power walking, make sure to use calm breathing. Believe me, I know the awful feeling. You are browsing the store and perhaps looking at blouses when all of a sudden your stomach drops and you HAVE to use the restroom immediately!

At that moment, if you begin to panic and start hyperventilating, you will worsen the urgency and symptoms. Of course, you will be making your way to the bathroom as quickly as you can in terms of speed, but try and keep your breathing calm and steady. This will help keep your symptoms from escalating.

Have an emergency kit

Always, always, always have an emergency kit. For example, I always have extra underwear, wipes, pads, and Poo-Pourri inside my purse. Therefore, in the event of an unexpected accident, I have a plan B which can turn a bad situation, into a not-so-bad one.

Communicate with those in line

In the event that you make it to the restroom and there is a long line, communicate!  Calmly head to the first person in line and say: “I am having an emergency, can I please use the next available stall?” You will see that people are more compassionate than you think. There is only a tiny, tiny percentage that you will be denied. So always communicate!

How about you? Any other tips for shopping in a department store during an IBS flare? Share below.

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