Woman experiencing a Crohn's flare squatting on a hill between two busy roads

The most awkward places my Crohn's has flared

We all know that when battling a flare-up, being in the comfort of your home is the best option. But unfortunately, real life doesn’t always make that possible. We might be traveling, socializing or working. And whilst it’s sensible to rest when we’re unwell, a flare can sometimes last and last; making it impossible to put life on hold. Today I thought I’d share some of the most awkward and random places that my Crohn’s has sprung to life (along with some of my fellow IBDers). I’d love to hear yours too!

When a flare strikes in another country

There’s nothing more awkward than a flare when you’re out of your country, but try living in China-a country famed for its squat toilets and you’ll get the picture! China not only has squat toilets; forcing you to adopt an uncomfortable position, hovering over the hole in the floor; but sometimes also dispenses with doors altogether so you can chat to your stall mate!! I was actually diagnosed when living in China and, looking back, had no idea how I coped living there so long!

It’s not just about squat toilets, the lack of clean toilet facilities in many countries can make traveling there impossible.

“Once in a lodge in Ghana, there wasn’t enough water left in the bucket to flush the loo,” explains another IBD sufferer who I chatted to. “So I crept out into the garden and squatted over a pile of leaves, praying there weren’t any spider or snakes around!”

Where’s the worst country you’ve found for dashing to the toilet? And where’s the best?

Flaring in the middle of a conversation

Wherever you are in the world, is there anything more awkward than that pang right when you are in the middle of a conversation with someone new? You start to feel sweaty, you clench hard and your stomach is cramping; all whilst nodding along politely (honestly, we should get a medal at times). Do you wait for a break in the conversation or do you just butt in? Dash off and explain later or hang on as long as possible and end up doing that awful ‘pretending to be calm but actually running’ to the toilet once you break free? My Crohn’s has created so many awkward conversations and I’ve lost count of how many times my head has screamed ‘you need the toilet!!’ whilst my mouth stays closed!

A flare on public transport

Even in the UK, the toilet situation isn’t ideal; we’re losing more public toilets than ever before. And when on public transport, I have lost count of the times I’ve seen an ‘out of order’ sign on the train’s only loo. And that’s when they actually have toilets, the London Underground during commuting hours on a hot summers day is something else altogether. You’re lucky to find a place to perch, let alone a toilet!

Whilst we can feel in more control when driving, we can still be left vulnerable! “Driving down a motorway one day years ago, I realized I had to find the loo urgently!” explained another pal with Crohn’s. “My husband pulled over into the hard shoulder and my plan was to scramble up to the slope and relieve myself on the other side of the hill out of view of traffic. However, once I reached the top; I realized there was a road on the other side too! I was horrified but absolutely desperate-so there I went, up there for all to see between two busy roads!”

It gets to a point where we just need to let go of the awkwardness and put ourselves first, but giving the taboo that still surrounds our toilet habits, it isn’t easy. I’d love you to share the most awkward place you’ve ever flared to help all of us realize we’re not alone...

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.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.