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Traveling with Friends Who Understand Ulcerative Colitis

I’ve shared before how traveling with ulcerative colitis presented its challenges. Being honest with my fellow explorers while traveling has helped ease some of the stress that comes along on the trip.

Thankful for good friends

I recently came back from a trip abroad with three girlfriends who are well aware of my colitis needs and understood my only request when looking for hotel or Airbnb accommodations was having more than one bathroom. They were supportive throughout our vacation, checking in on how my stomach was doing but not over the top. It made exploring the new areas much easier knowing they’d understand if I had to run home or pop into a random restaurant for a restroom.

Always be prepared

Unfortunately, on our way back from a 2.5 hour day trip to the middle of the country, I had an emergency and needed a bathroom ASAP. Our tour guide had actually asked our driver to make a pitstop in the middle of nowhere and went into some woman’s house for something. It was then that my stomach started to churn. I looked around knowing there were no rest stops for awhile and I realized it was now… or on the side of the road. I asked the tour guide when she returned if I could use her friend’s bathroom. She was hesitant and said, “No, I don’t think so. Are you ok?” I said, “No I’m going to be sick…. I’m going to throw up. Is there anywhere else we can go?” She looked uncomfortable but was also compassionate and said, “Ok, let’s go inside.” It was a very rustic house with no indoor plumbing, but luckily I had my baby wipes and sanitizer, and knew to use the buckets of water to “flush.” (I will never travel even on a local road trip without baby wipes and sanitizer again – it helped keep me at ease even when I didn’t need it).

When I got back to the car, none of my friends said a word, which I was so incredibly grateful for. I was already feeling embarrassed and was glad they didn’t ask questions in front of the driver or tour guide. They knew what was going on, and they knew I didn’t need to throw up. When we got back to our Airbnb, they did ask how I was and were incredibly supportive of my near emergency.

It truly has made a world of difference to be honest about my ulcerative colitis with friends. I wish there wasn’t as much stigma around pooping – it’s kind of silly that my default to strangers is “I’m going to throw up.” I wonder if others use different excuses?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    4 months ago

    I don’t think it’s silly at all that you use “I’m going to throw up” during emergency situations. I actually find that very smart. I also heard of someone using “im pregnant and really need to use the bathroom” and thought that was good too.

    As for me, I typically just say “I feel really sick.” I guess I have no shame lol. One time I had the urgency hit me hard and the closest thing to me was an ice cream parlor. This was the first time I was ever denied using the restroom because I was not a customer. I looked at the employee straight in the face and said “if I don’t use the restroom now, you are going to have a huge mess to clean up,” then I walked straight into the bathroom lol.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • crystal.harper moderator
    6 months ago

    True friends are hard to come by and it sounds like you have an amazing circle of great people in your life!

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