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A bathroom illuminated by a sinister red light reveals a mace in place of a toilet brush, a toilet with a spiked seat, and an hourglass.

IBS-C and the Wait: The Pain of Wasted Time Sitting

IBS-C is a real-time suck that just sucks. I have bouts of both IBS-D and IBS-C, and both types cause you to spend a good bit of time in the bathroom. However, the time I spend waiting to go when I am in the midst of a bout of constipation annoys me more. Why? It is unproductive. I spend a lot of time not going. I spend time waiting, and it seems like it is wasted time. If I am going to have to be in the bathroom for long periods of time, something should be going on in there. The waiting also causes a number of problems.

TMI on toilet troubles

I am going to step into a bit of what I consider TMI talk, which is unusual for me. Bear with me in my descriptions, or lack thereof, because I still have a lot of shame associated with potty talk.

IBS-C has caused more problems than the bloating, cramping, and nausea. I had had fissures, large hemorrhoids, and minor prolapses due to severe constipation. Sitting on a toilet for long periods of time aggravates all these things. The longer I sit in the bathroom doing nothing, the worse it is. All of this aggravates my IBS-C even more because it increases the amount of pain I have during the actual act of going. Fear of that pain doesn’t make it any easier to go.

Skipping treatment

Some people have asked why I do not treat bouts of constipation if it causes such severe problems. Well, if I treat constipation I end up with worse issues. I always have severe cramping no matter how mild the medication is. When I say severe, I mean cramps so awful that I end up doubled over and almost in tears. It will inevitably relieve constipation, but it just starts the cycle all over again. I find the suffering is worse, so I generally skip treatment and wait it out if I can.

I have also had people ask why I do not take medication for irritable bowel syndrome. If I treat for IBS-C, it creates more problems than it solves. If I treat for IBS-D, I end up with a bout of IBS-C. I have been unable to find a middle ground that keeps both in check without triggering a flare of one or the other. Because of this, I opt to avoid treating it and ride out the flares as best I can.

Flip-flop flares: Which is worse?

While both types cause me to spend a good bit of time in the bathroom, I find I have more issues during IBS-C flares. I have troubles that follow me outside of the bathroom, sometimes making it difficult to sit. I do have irritation or mild issues with hemorrhoids when I have IBS-D flares. It is nothing compared to the issues I have after a severe IBS-C flare.

I know this is not the case for everyone. This is just my personal experience, and surely someone else shares my experience. If you find that you have these same issues, know that you are not alone. I feel your pain. It’s a real pain in the butt, and I do mean that quite literally.

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