A figure with intense bowel pain stands in the middle of a labyrinth

IBD Is More Than a Pooping Disease… but It’s Still a Pooping Disease!

We all know that IBD is way more than a pooping disease, right? But it's also still a pooping disease.

I've been living in Crohn's disease remission for most of the last few years, but experienced a full-fledged flare early this year. Steroids calmed down my symptoms and allowed me to settle back into my regular routine, but the frequency of stomach pain, discomfort, cramps, and needing to poop have remained increased.

Recently, I struggled with a really awkward encounter stirred up by living with IBD, and I thought sharing it might make someone else feel less alone.

Another poop emergency with Crohn's

I had an in-person doctor's appointment a few weeks ago, and it wasn't even to see my GI. It was to receive treatment from my migraine specialist.

This particular appointment was a 75-minute drive from my house, and before I even got close to the office my body started giving me the warning signs. But, I knew this building, and this location, and as soon as I parked and walked in the door there was a public bathroom in the hallway. I knew I could make it.

When I arrived, I found that the once public bathroom had locked doors. Frustrated, I walked into my doctor's office, waited while shifting foot to foot, and finally checked in for the appointment. Then, I asked if I could use their restroom. I was told that I couldn't until I was called back for my appointment, but that I could grab the key for the one in the hall and head back that way. Except – the key was missing.

Someone else was using the key to the six-stall public restroom, meaning I still couldn't access it. My anxiety revved as my stomach churned. I started to panic. I knew...

A full-on evacuation

Then, my name was called. As the tech began walking me through the office hallways, I asked to use the restroom. She stopped, pointed at it, and said I'll wait right here.

I tried to tell her – nonchalantly while squeezing my butt cheeks together – I could find my exam room myself, that it might be a few minutes, etc., and she just wasn't getting it. She told me this was their protocol.

I slammed the bathroom door behind me, locked it, turned on the faucet, and sat down on the toilet just in the nick of time. But what I wasn't counting on was this wasn't just urgency. It was a full-on evacuation. And all I could do was sit there and wait through it, knowing that the lady on the other side of the door was not only listening to me but watching her watch and I felt completely trapped.

Here I was, at a doctor's office to get treatment for my migraines, unable to escape the undeniably overwhelming challenges of living with Crohn's disease.

IBD can definitely be embarrassing

I started to sweat as my body emptied and my anxiety and discomfort grew. When I was finally finished, I washed my hands and exited the bathroom, 3 shades of red, and unable to make eye contact or mutter anything logical to the woman who had demanded to wait outside. I felt in many ways that she took away or removed the opportunity for me to have any privacy, and I felt extremely vulnerable by the interaction.

Honestly, this woman probably didn't think about me again after that afternoon, but this event has played over in my mind several times – as it isn't the first time or the last time I'll experience something like this. Thank goodness IBD has given me some perspective, right?

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