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A cat is pacing back and forth in front of a bathroom door. Various expressions of discomfort and pain are shown on his face.

When Someone Else Is In The Bathroom!

I realize that because of my IBS, I have developed quite a few pet peeves. One of them being when someone else is in the bathroom when I urgently need to use it. For this reason, I don’t always like having company spend the night over my house, and I’m also not a huge fan of staying over other people’s homes either. My IBS is usually at its worst in the mornings, and of course, it’s always at the worst times when someone else is using the bathroom and I need to use it. Let me share with you a couple of real examples in my life when someone else was in the bathroom at a moment where I felt like my IBS was about to make me explode.

My father-in-law was in the bathroom when I urgently needed to use it

Mild Example #1: My wife and I were visiting her parents for the weekend. Well, one very early morning, I kept getting nudged out of my sleep from a prickly sensation surfacing my entire body. As I became more awake and aware, the uncomfortable feeling started to translate into gas pain, which quickly turned into an urgency to use the toilet. As I rushed downstairs from the upstairs-bedroom to the only bathroom in the house, my father-in-law was already in there doing the very act I so desperately needed to do. So, unfortunately, I had no choice but to wait until he was done, which was no easy feat for me to do due to my painful circumstances. As many of you may already know, visceral hypersensitivity is a symptom for many of us with IBS, which basically means I feel normal activity in my gut at a very heightened and painful level. So, as I was waiting for my father-in-law to finish up, it felt like my bowel was slowly being sliced open as the waste was seeping through my intestines. Yes, quite an image, I know. Thankfully, he finished up soon enough that I got to use the toilet before any accidents happened.

My cousin was in the bathroom when I urgently needed to use it

More Intense Example #2: My wife and I are visiting my very close cousin and his girlfriend in the Bronx, New York. We end up going out to a Korean restaurant, and needless to say, I ate and drank things that were not only delicious, but I knew would trigger my IBS symptoms. Well, fast-forward to very early the next morning, and yet again, I get shoved out of my sleep by intense gas pain. As always, I try my best to ignore it, but the pain intensifies more and more over time, and I was forced to unwillingly wake up. I rushed to the bathroom, and as you can probably assume, my cousin was already on the toilet doing the very act I wish I was doing at that exact moment. When I knocked on the door and asked how long he was going to be, he said just a few more minutes. In my mind, a few more minutes felt like it was going to be an eternity, but I had no choice but to wait. By the way, I forgot to mention that this particular cousin of mine also has irritable bowel syndrome, and his can get pretty severe at times as well.

Panic and frustration

Well, with that being said, a few minutes start to go by, and the pain starts hitting me in painful waves. A few more minutes go by and I lay back down on the uncomfortable air mattress I brought with me in hopes to lessen the weight of gravity on my pain. Another ten minutes go by, and I’m not only panicking but getting very frustrated. I can’t be mad at my cousin because I obviously understand what it’s like to have IBS, but I also don’t have to be happy about the situation either (lol). I had to go number 1 and 2 so bad that I started contemplating a plan b in case he didn’t get out sooner. For example, wondering if the trash can or a plastic bag in a bucket was going to suffice. Well, one tactic I ended up using was urinating in an empty water bottle, which actually lessened the pressure on my bowels. Therefore, I was able to be patient just a little longer. Finally, after almost 30 minutes, he comes out of the bathroom and tries to stall me with a conversation. I ran past him, careless about what was coming out of his mouth, and handled my business in excruciating pain.

Can any of you reading this relate to my experiences? Have you ever been in a situation when you really needed to use the toilet but someone else was in the bathroom, and for a long time at that? If so, please comment and share with us below. Thanks for reading and stay positive!

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

  • mphollins
    3 weeks ago

    Oh Boy. Every business that I shop, I must locate the bathroom first, then I do the shopping. I will even go into the men’s restroom if the women’s is locked. I am a lot better now after the surgery for incontinence. Our home only has only toilet, so I spend a lot of time praying the toilet is not occupied. I usually wear an incontinence panty and carry a change of underwear and washcloths, just in case I don’t make it in time.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    3 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing your experience mphollins. I know many here can relate to scoping out the restrooms right away in a new place. Wishing you relief ahead, Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • bhspilot67
    4 weeks ago

    I know that feeling all too well. For a while, I was living with roommates and there was only one bathroom. They were unaware of my IBS, because I found it embarrassing to talk about it. I have IBS-M (aka: IBS-A). This always seems to happen when I am on the diarrhea side of things. One time, I almost went outside and had my diarrhea attack behind a set of shrubs. Fortunately after about a 20 minute wait, she emerged and I was able to then go and relax on the toilet. After I got out of the bathroom (40 minutes later), she asked me if I was ok, because apparently she heard my bowels explode. Needless to say, I had to explain to her that I had IBS. She said, next time to let her know if that happens again, where she is in the bathroom, and she would get her business done a little faster. Now, I am married, and my wife is well aware and we have two bathrooms in our condo.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing your story and experience bhspilot67. I hope this article helped remind you that you are not alone here. Many here find comfort in having that extra bathroom. We appreciate you commenting. Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • Loving1
    4 weeks ago

    We have three married children. They have all moved numerous times. The first question I ask them about their house is, “How many bathrooms?” My youngest has IBS-D, so he understands my reason for asking. The oldest lives in an historical house in Wisconsin which is located in the business district. Next door to them is a 24 hour gas station. They call it their second bathroom.
    I almost had to run for it once, but made it in their bathroom on time. The first apartment they were in when they were married had one bathroom and the longest flushing toilet I ever remember!
    I have less problems now than I used to since I changed from IBS-D to IBS-C, but I eat very carefully when I travel. I usually have a protein banana shake in the morning and a light lunch. I avoid spicy foods or anything that I know will upset my stomach or give me gas pains.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    3 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing Loving1. Your banana shake sounds like a safe start to the day. Glad you have found some go-to foods while traveling. Wishing you relief. Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • Lucy33
    4 weeks ago

    I have delt with IBS since my late teens, so over 30 years. During this time, I regularly competed in horse shows and still compete in dog obedience trials. Stress and travel, obviously, trigger IBS so I have learned some strategies to manage it.
    First, if you are traveling or staying with someone, DO NOT indulge in trigger foods. Doesn’t matter how tempting, you will pay for it. I know what will exacerbate my symptoms. I have no problem telling someone something looks delicious but will cause me terrible problems if I eat it.
    Next, if I am staying in a motel with my husband while at a competition, we have a routine worked out so that I can usually get to the bathroom when I need it in the morning. I remind him each time, because people without IBS forget how difficult things can be for us. It can be embarrassing to do this with people who aren’t close family members so when we visit someone, I try to stay in a motel. I am also an earlier riser than most of my husband’s family, so I can get to the bathroom first.
    Another thing. Our bodies prefer routine. Try to get up at a normal time, eat close to the type and amount of food you would normally eat and get some exercise. I know this doesn’t sound like fun but people with illnesses such as diabetes also have to keep diet and exercise in mind no matter what. In the end, it makes life better.

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    4 weeks ago

    These are great and thoughtful tips Lucy33! Thank you for sharing! Wishing you relief on your next trip! Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • msh62
    4 weeks ago

    Great article! I’m glad to know about the visceral hypersensitivity. I’ve always been able to tell when stool was moving through my colon, and at times it is quite painful. For years, my doctors looked at me with disbelief.
    I am on the constipation side of things, but when I have to go it’s urgent!
    Your stories remind me of why I made sure my condo had 2 bathrooms!!
    Blessings,
    Mary Sophia

  • Kelly Dabel, RD moderator
    4 weeks ago

    Glad this article was helpful to you msh62. You are not alone here. We appreciate you sharing and being part of our community. Best, Kelly, Irritablebowelsyndrome.net Team Member

  • laurianne1974
    4 weeks ago

    I have this same problem. I was at my therapist appointment and I had to go. This place has only two bathrooms. The downstairs bathroom was occupied so I raced up the stairs to use that bathroom. I was so grateful I made it.

    My husband and I also had to move to a two bathroom house because he has colon issues. I had so many close calls to count when we had the one bathroom house.

  • HessP moderator author
    4 weeks ago

    I’m so glad you can relate, @laurianne1974. I think having 2 bathrooms is such a necessary thing to have for those of us suffering from any digestive problem, but especially IBS. I’m truly considering that for my home as well. Thanks so much for sharing and being a part of this community! Stay strong and positive! – Hess, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team member

  • cawcat333
    4 weeks ago

    I am so grateful for 2 bathrooms as well, in my house! My husband is in a water pill so constantly running to one of them!

  • cawcat333
    4 weeks ago

    My husband and I were touring the grounds of a Civil War era home. There was no one else there at the moment except for a workman. We had just eaten a buffet lunch and I have no idea what food triggered me but while he was looking at the barn, I pulled down my pants and went number 2 in the bushes. No one saw but I felt shame anyway! I cannot imagine the caretakers seeing that when they mow! ugh.

  • HessP moderator author
    4 weeks ago

    I’m so sorry to hear that you went through that experience, @cawcat333. Please know that I, and many others in this community, totally understand what you went through. Sometimes, when WE gotta go, WE just gotta GO, and there’s no telling our bowels otherwise. And, being the fact that it was outside near a barn, I’m sure the caretakers chopped it up to an animal lurking around handling its business. At least, that’s the story I’d tell myself to give me peace of mind, lol. Again, please know you’re not alone and thanks so much for sharing! Sending positive vibes your way! – Hess, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team member

  • cawcat333
    4 weeks ago

    Thank you for understanding! I have also gone in the men’s restroom at a store when the women’s was busy.

  • webdeb704
    4 weeks ago

    I hear a lot more stories on here about IBS-D. I suffer from IBS-C. Believe me, I know they are both bad. I would like to hear about more struggles with D. What are your daily struggles? Struggles with outings? Constant gas and bloating? Eating the wrong foods? Please share!!

  • HessP moderator author
    4 weeks ago

    Hi, @webdeb704! Thanks so much for sharing and showing interest! Since you said you suffer from IBS-C, I just want to be clear: Are you sure to want to hear more struggles with D, or did you mean C? Nonetheless, I, and many other contributors on this site, have tons of articles where we share many different aspects of living with IBS. Here is one that I think and hope you may be interested in: https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/living/fear-going-out/. I hope you find this article relatable! Please never hesitate to reach out for support! Best – Hess, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team member

  • ldonne
    1 month ago

    Lived in a home that always had two bathrooms growing up. There was six of us. Got used to being able to use it without waiting. That was always a good feeling to have.

    Moved out on my own to just the one bathroom. Which is fine for just me.
    Knowing that there is only one bathroom available makes my anxiety +++ worse especially if company is over, In a work setting, or being somewhere else that only has 1 toilet with so much people around. Not knowing if and when I need to use it will it be available for me.

    Financially right now I’m not able to cover the expense for another bathroom. But it definetely is something I’m saving up to to be able to put in. Just a toilet and sink.

  • tmholland moderator
    1 month ago

    @idonne,

    I can completely relate to the terror when there people over (I only have the one bathroom, too). Hence, I don’t have people over that often :-). It’s funny, the simple things that relieve so much stress. I hope you are able to get your second bathroom one day. Thanks for your comments, Idonne. Hope you are well today. -Todd, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team

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