Conquering the fear of not finding a bathroom

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Robert S.
New Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/11/2006 4:53 PM (GMT -7)   
How does conquer the fear of not finding a bathroom while traveling? Does bio-feed-back help? Meditation?

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 105
   Posted 9/11/2006 5:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Robert S.  Welcome to healingwell. Sorry to hear that you are going through a hard time.  This fear you describe is probably one of the single most debilitating (emotionally) fears there is with this illness.  This is why people stay home, etc.  I'm not sure I have here what you really need. But i'll tell you the story of a friend.  She has had IBS for years and one time - it happened! What we all dread the most.  She got an attack while stuck in traffic.  Her boyfriend (now husband) pulled over and she had the big D in a parking lot over in the corner. She was humiliated (they were with another couple who unfortunately were not all that sympathetic to her plight) and felt pretty dejected too.  However, after this, she put together a crap kit.  She has it with her at all times in some form or other.  She carries a bag with pants, underpants, diaper wipes, alcohol wipes, camping toilet paper that disintegrates once you are done with it, and  a few other things- just in case she gets stuck somewhere away from a bathroom.  Obviously it's easiest in the car to carry this.  When she flies, same thing- just less in a little carry on bag.  I like the crap kit idea.  Just in case.  Hopefully most of us can find some sort of bathroom most of the time.  also, try taking some immodium, IF you don't have constipation problems. Before I had C issues too, I used to just take immodium if I was even driving across the city (note- I do not recommend this without asking your MD first.  I did this out of anxiety but it really isn't great to do to your body) That said, it may be Ok to take some if you are gonna fly or be ina  car long term, just don't take too much.  But again ,, ask your MD first.  Hope this helps some.  The kit makes my friend feel emotinally safer, so that in itself had her feeling less fearful. Good luck.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 31
   Posted 9/11/2006 8:06 PM (GMT -7)   
I have Ulcerative Colitis and I have anxiety about being in public, stuck in the car, sitting in class, etc., and not being able to find a bathroom in time. I was actually at the mall this past weekend and was trying on dresses when the I got the infamous URGE TO GO. I literally had to run out of the dressing room to the, luckily nearby, bathroom. When I resumed trying on dresses minutes later, I thought about the same idea (the "crap kit" as you refer to it) but figured I was being overly paranoid. I'm glad somebody else has thought about this (and actually does this). I think it's a great idea. Thanks for sharing this Carell.
  • Diagnosed with Left-Sided Colitis and Proctitis in Aug 2005
  • 400mg of Asacol (4X3daily)
  • Canasa Suppositories (twice daily)
  • Hydrocortisone enemas
  • Rowasa enemas
  • Acidophilus, Vitamins, Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Juice

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/12/2006 7:35 AM (GMT -7)   
We've also discussed on this board having a chamber pot or even an actual camping toliet in one's car. I read about someone who put one in the back of her SUV because she had IBS so bad; it was the only way to make it sometimes.

Robert S.
New Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/12/2006 7:42 AM (GMT -7)   
what about bio feed-back? Would that help calm the nerves?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 9/12/2006 11:17 AM (GMT -7)   
I've heard of bio-feedback, but I don't know what it is or what it does. But a few people have tried audio tapes for IBS that's supposed to help improve your anxiety and at least one has said she has had some improvement. We've talked about acupuncture on here before too, but I don't think anyone's tried it yet. Yoga has also been recommended. I would think that any program that allows you to be calm and destresses you would help anxious folks to some degree. Of course some people are so anxious they really need the help of a professional therapist. And while a lot of people want to try natural remedies first, anti-anxiety meds shouldn't be overlooked since some have been found to help IBS symptoms in a lot of people--even in those who aren't anxious to begin with.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 9/14/2006 8:54 AM (GMT -7)   
I think everyone of us has taken Imodium before going out at some point. I don't mean to stop diarrhea. I mean for the piece of mind that even if you have gas, bloating, belly ache etc. the chances of you REALLY needing the nearest tiolet will be less. When I do this I take either 1/2 a caplett or at the most just one. If you take more when you don't need it you'll have C for several days. Merri yeah

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 45
   Posted 9/20/2006 10:12 AM (GMT -7)   
I take an immodium whenever we go out, just really for reassurance. Usually just one, but there was a time when I had to take 2 and it still didn't work. I hate to have to think about that if I eat when we are out then I may have to run to a bathroom. I have ruined many trips cause I have to get to a bathroom at once. Just last week we were driving to my parents house 2 hours away and I felt the urge, I had to to tell my husband to pull over at the nearest station so I could go. Good thing I made it.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2004
Total Posts : 187
   Posted 9/21/2006 11:22 PM (GMT -7)   

I have UC and this is one of my biggest challenges.  Unfortunately not only do I get the "Oh No" feeling, but quite frequently I don't make it to a washroom in time.  This has lead to embarrassing moments in malls, the car, planes, trains, grocery stores, on hikes and well, just about anywhere!!  *sigh*
How I cope (this is a work in progress):
  • I wear a sanitary napkin everytime I leave the house and am feeling even a little bit unsure about how my tummy will behave.
  • I carry a "kit" with me that contains a spare pair of undies, wipes, a new pad, and a little perfume. 
  • I always have a change of clothes in my car.
  • At my worst I was wearing depends.
  • I wear dark pants/shorts always.
  • If traveling long distances I really moderate my diet for a few days before I leave, and then I take a swig of pepto and an immodium.
  • When I am stuck in traffic or another uncomfortable setting I breathe deeply and try to distract myself.
  • I am just starting to try bio-feedback and meditation.

Most of all, I have learned to except that this is going to happen to me.  People can judge what they want, and yes its very embarrasing - but I can't control it, so I try my best not to feel guilty about it.   For example, 2 weeks ago on a gorgeous sunny afternoon I really wanted to head outside to take some photos along the shore.  I felt "ok" so convinced myself all was fine, and headed out.  10 mins later I was out on this goreous rocky beach, with a few people along the shoreline near me, when I got the "OH NO" sensation.  There truely was no place to squat, no bathroom to run to, nothing.  So I pooped my pants (I had a pad on).  Then i finished taking the photos I wanted to get - headed back to my car - avoiding people 'cause I felt soooo stinky and headed home to a shower and clean clothes.

Not an ideal day - but at least I got out. :-)


Diagnosed with UC in 1996, symptoms since 1990
Dignosed with Depression - Jan 17th, take SAM-e and fish oil + therapy
Currently in a UC flare since spring 2003 (on and off, but always there)
Salofalk Sup per day, + fiber & aloe;
New city & new job as of 2 months ago!!
But still trying to watch my diet and stress levels

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/29/2006 10:12 PM (GMT -7)   
I am also a big immodium taker!! I gives you peace of mind. Actually, my doctor told me it was ok to take one a day. She also told me if I am going somewhere, it is ok to take 2.

New Member

Date Joined May 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/5/2017 2:51 AM (GMT -7)   
I am so glad I found this forum post. I suffer from severe anxiety when in a situation that prevents be me from finding a restroom. It's come to dominate my life. I can go all day at home or relatives without fear ( or the urge to go) but as soon as i leave my comfort zone I immediately begin thinking about having to go number 2. I begin to have a panic attack. 99 percent of the time when i find the restroom I dont even have to use it and I walk away feeling releived for a bit only to have the anxiety return.

Ms Kathy
New Member

Date Joined May 2017
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 5/9/2017 7:25 AM (GMT -7)   
I am so relieved to have found this forum and know that I'm not alone. I recently started taking Align recommended by a friend to hopefully get my gastrointestinal tract in a pleasant place so I can hopefully find a way to live my life without the constant anxiety of finding a bathroom when I am away from home. I feel incredibly anxious in many situations....sitting in a dentist chair, waiting in a doctor's exam room, getting my hair colored, getting a pedicure. I'm fearful that I will have to interrupt the service to 'go' and then when I get back I get hit with another (what I consider) an anxiety attack and have to leave again to 'go'. It's so embarrassing! I have (Thank God) not soiled myself, but have come close a few times. I am going on a weekend vacation with a friend very soon. Our drive will be stretches with no bathrooms and sharing a 2 bedroom, ONE bathroom apartment which brings on more anxiety. I so wish I could get past this and feel normal again. I also take Imodium and watch what I eat closely when I know I will be in a remote situation. I am so thankful to have a husband who has had IBS and understands when I need to find a bathroom NOW!

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 146
   Posted 5/20/2017 9:07 PM (GMT -7)   
I think one of the most frustrating things is your not sure if it's just air or you have to go, it feels the same. Can't count the many times I found a washroom and it was nothing, the uncertainty can drag you down and keep you from going out. I have some undergarments (grownup diapers) if things get bad, they are not as awkward as you think pretty comfortable. Most public washrooms are pretty nasty too, that doesn't help to relax you either. I just don't eat out when I know there's a chance there might not be a decent washroom available to use. Good luck.
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