Tips for commuting with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Just getting to work can be stressful if you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In this article Edmund Murray gives some tips for commuting...

1. Never leave the house without some spare toilet paper/wet wipes, sanitiser and a plastic bag. You’d be surprised how many facilities don’t have toilet paper in them and in a worst-case scenario you could use the plastic bag as an emergency toilet

2. Obviously, if there are toilet facilities available to you on bus/train then sit as close to them as possible. Alternatively, know where you can jump off the bus/train or park the car briefly to use local facilities

3. Carry a 'Can’t Wait' card (available from some IBD charities and organisations) and a RADAR key with you at all times. Don’t be embarrassed to use them if needed. People are a lot more understanding than you’d think and, to be honest, the embarrassment of asking someone to use a bathroom is much less than anything worse happening

4. Carry some spare clothes and some items to clean up with with you if 'accidents' are an issue

5. Eating/drinking can set off the digestive system so, if possible, consider having your breakfast once you arrive at work

6. Try to time what you eat the day before to minimise the chances of mornings/evenings being problematic. Before my J-pouch surgery food used to take 24 hours to work its way through me so I would try to avoid eating at times that would cause it to be making its way out my system the next day during commuting times

7. Have something that will distract you from worrying about travelling while on the bus/train - such as reading a book or listening to music. Alternatively strike up a conversation with those around you, although not necessarily about IBD. You never know what friendships you might make!

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I have pancolits and in 2014 had restorative proctocolectomy with ileo-anal pouch (J-pouch) surgery.

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