A long road with red lights all along the way stretches out into the distance, ending with a bathroom sign.

Stuck In Traffic With IBS

One of the worst-case scenarios for many of us with IBS is being stuck in traffic, especially during an intense flare-up. What usually happens during a flare-up is intense stomach pain, an urgent need to empty the bowels, and possibly severe nausea.

In other words, everything feels extreme, and being in traffic is not a place you want to be when these things are happening to you. I have had very near accidents and I know of many others who actually did have an accident while being stuck in traffic. In this article, I would like to briefly highlight a few different scenarios of those with IBS who essentially had bad luck in traffic for the sake of raising awareness and showing how serious this condition is for so many of us who suffer from it.

Luckily, there was a gas station

A man with IBS was on his way home from work one day and started to feel a flare-up coming on. What made the situation worse for him was his heightened anxiety due to the massive ice storm he was driving in. He absolutely hated driving home in bad weather, it always slowed down his commute after a long day of work and made him extremely nervous.

Naturally, a horrible accident involving four cars a few miles ahead of him caused a major pileup of traffic. He checked his GPS app on his phone to see the estimated time of arrival at his house – 2 hours. His stomach dropped at the thought of what happened the last time this situation occurred. Sweat began to bead on his forehead as he held in his gas, knowing if he let it go, he would not be able to hold in anything else. He inched his way to the next highway exit, holding his bloated stomach in agony, hoping to find somewhere, ANYWHERE, that he could relieve himself.

Luckily, right off the highway, there was a gas station. So he hurried inside praying there was no one in the single bathroom already. He made it just in time… this time. [End Scene] This scene shows the unexpected and unfortunate cases where many of us with IBS must suffer and wait in extreme pain before we’re able to get back to our sanctuary and relieve ourselves.

Destination diarrhea

A young woman with IBS was on her way back to her college dorm after shopping at the mall. As she was driving, she started feeling sharp pains in her stomach, followed by the urge to push. She tried so hard not to speed or get in an accident while trying to hold it in, afraid she wasn’t going to make it back in time. As soon as she finally pulled into the college dorm parking lot, instant diarrhea just flowed out of her and unfortunately seeped through her clothes and got on her car seat and floor.

She was so upset and felt miserable about what happened, she cried in the car for about 30 minutes before gaining the courage to get out of her car and move as fast as she could to her dorm room. The entire time she prayed she wouldn’t see a single person or if she did, they wouldn’t notice her. [End Scene] This scene shows that IBS should not be taken lightly. There are many of us who suffer from severe IBS and have a hard time holding in our pee or poop. This is a normal reality for many of us.

Shedding a light on IBS

I wanted to shed light on these scenarios because it goes to show how serious this condition is for so many of us who not only find the pain debilitating but incontrollable as well. A common theme in these scenarios is the fact that each person suffered a flare-up while being stuck in traffic on the highway or simply driving home. That should tell people that an IBS flare-up can occur at any unexpected moment and we, the suffering, cannot do anything about it except deal with it.

So, when or if we ever must cancel plans or show up late to an event, usually our chronic illness is the main reason why. Also, a great lesson to take from these unfortunate scenarios for those who suffer from this horrible condition is to carry an IBS emergency kit in your car or with you whenever you’re out in public. The emergency kit can truly be a lifesaver during horrible circumstances such as these.

Can any of you relate to any of these scenarios of being stuck in traffic while suffering an intense flare-up? If so, please feel free to share your experience below in the comment section. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article and I look forward to reading your comments.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

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.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Do you have a good understanding of what triggers your flares?