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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I apologize if this topic has been covered; I'm new to this board. I have a few questions regarding IBS at work...1) How do people deal with IBS if it comes on at work? I have a computer/desk job. I either have to camp out in the bathroom, or run back and fourth from my desk to the loo (which is rather embarrassing). Stay at work or go home?2) What if it "hits" you in the morning? Stay at home or go to work and hope for the best?3) I'm sick again today and leaving early to go to another doctor, thusly missing more work. Naturally every workplace is different, but in general, do employers understand the unpredictability and nature of IBS?4) It's hard for me to keep in line with my company's corporate dress code. Wearing fitted clothing, skirts, pantyhose; even dress shoes (which change the natural placement/movement of my posture and muscles) are exceptionally uncomfortable. How do others deal with this issue?I've been newly diagnosed with IBS and haven't found a successful combination of medications to help control/ease my symptoms, which are highly prevalent and painful everyday. To date, the meds I've tried are either non-effective, or have made everything (constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, gas, bloating, etc.) worse. Until my IBS somewhat normalizes, I don't know how to address these problems.I'm also stressing about going on vacation (to the beach). I know stress makes IBS worse, but what's the point of going on vacation if I'm miserably bloated or stuck in the bathroom? I guess a bad time at the beach is better than a good day at work, right?!Thanks so much for any feedback and insight; I'm glad to have found this message board.Over It!
 

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hey over it! i have been off work since the middle of april. today i was supposed to go back for a 1/2 day, but getting ready was too much and my d came back. i'm in agreement that my d is linked to anxiety somewhat. i'm hesitant to go back - wondering if they'll cart me back out the door with my belongings or if i'll just get the snoody looks and snide remarks. no - it's not well understood by coworkers, especially since the weather is getting better, what a great disease to "fake" and enjoy free time off - at least that's what i think everyone is saying in their minds about me... it's stressful. i'm trying to bite the bullet and make myself go back. i'm on short term disability and my doctor is in full support of me being off work, so that helps, but it's really frustrating. i hope others post to this thread too and i can get some info as well. someone posted one time about some kind of act, like american's with disabilities act, i think i remember that ibs is considered a disability... i don't remember though! anyone????
 

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I don't think IBS is recognized as a disability in terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some of the doctors out there still think it's in our heads and most of us ARE somewhat functional, so I am not holding my breath on that one. Besides, I'd rather work.I was very upfront with my employers about my condition. The reason they accept that there are days I can't come in (I seem to average a day or two a month) is because I have made myself highly productive when I am there. My supervisor even told me they'd rather have me at 75% than someone else at 100% because my 75% is still a lot better. Make yourself invaluable on the good days so that they will overlook the bad days and give you a pass. Plus, I have to walk past my boss when I head out to the bathroom, so she knows when I'm having a bad day. Normal people don't spend 15 minutes in the bathroom, you know? If they really want to know I suppose they can walk into the loo after me and make sure I stunk the place up for real.
I usually know if I have a bout in the morning whether or not it will continue all day or if it is just a morning thing. I stay home only when the nausea outweighs the cramping, or if the D seems a bit uncontrollable. For me the key is normally my level of nausea, particularly after I try to eat breakfast. If I am not sure, I go to work and "hope for the best" as you say, and if it gets to the point that it is affecting my overall performance I go home sick. I get no questions when this happens because they know I don't abuse it. Besides, I'm usually several shades of green or yellow when I do go home, so it is fairly obvious I am not faking it.As far as clothing goes, I always wear my slacks a size too big or leave them unbuttoned. Perhaps I don't look as crisp as everyone else, but no one else feels bloated and feels pain with the slightest bit of pressure on the abdomen. Face it, we are NOT like everyone else. Once I accepted that, it was a lot easier for me to just not care what anyone thought of either how I dress or how many times I run to the toilet. They all know what's up with me and frankly, once they found out, to a person they feel bad for me. I also will joke with them about it and that really goes a long way toward lessening the amount of embarrassment.As far as vacations and outings, that's a tough one. The first 2 or 3 years of my IBS I had it really bad, and I just didn't go anywhere except work, church, sometimes the store, and home. That's it. After I learned to control the symptoms somewhat I ventured out for small vacations once in a while, and now I have no problem planning anything. I just have to let whoever I am with know that if I start to feel bad, I will ride it out to see if it will go away, and if it doesn't, I'm heading home. Maybe I just have good friends, co-workers, and bosses, but I have found that honesty and humor go a long way.
 

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I have been gradually changing my wardrobe to clothing that is more ibs-friendly...I've been getting pants with a little elastic in the sides (these are dress slacks).Blouses that don't need to be tucked in - they are cut straight across the bottom, some have a little slit at the sides.If you have to wear skirts, ditch the pantyhose and try thigh-highs (Hanes makes good ones), or try to get longer skirts and wear knee highs.Get shoes with a low heel - buy insoles, not the ones to keep them from being smelly, there are ones that have support features. There are somes brands (SAS) that are designed for more support.I've been buying a lot of my clothes at Chico's - they are comfortable, but also appropriate for work.Last year I was having really bad problems from the ibs, and had to have a colonoscopy, so that opened the discussion with my supervisor and a few coworkers. So if I call in and say I'm running late because of "stomach problems" they know what's going on.If you have D in the morning, see how you do with a small dose of Immodium (or similar medication). I've found that 1/2 tablet will stop it enough to get me to work ok, without getting C later. (I'm normally C, but have occasional D flare-ups).Being comfortable and avoiding stress are very important at work, I hope you will find ways to make it work for you.
 

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Thanks for your responses. I feel a little better knowing that others have the same issues I do.Since I've had IBS I've gone from 143 to 119 lbs, so pretty much all my clothes are too big for me. I don't like looking sloppy, but it sure does feel a lot better.WD40, you have good suggestions regarding discussing this with my boss, he's been very understanding and generous about my time off when I've either been sick or at doctors appointments. I have a number of other things going on (gynecological, and terrible stress and anxiety mood issues), adding IBS to the mix just makes my time off a bit more suspicious. Even-though I'm not happy with my job, I am an invaluable employee (the only one in my very public, high-tech company with my title), which is good and bad. Good that I have job security, bad because its sometimes problematic and quite visible if I'm not there. I frequently take my laptop home with me, but as Ebbie mentioned I wouldn't be surprised if co-workers doubted my illness.I had a laparoscopy at the end of April, three different follow-up appointments last week, leave for another appointment at 2:00 every Wednesday, had a second-opinion (for IBS) yesterday, and have a colonoscopy and upper scope scheduled for the first.My boss approved a week of vacation that I requested only two and a half weeks prior to the vacation, but it turns out I'm not going. He was very supportive, "Approved. I hope you take this as an opportunity to get well and relax.", which makes things a lot easier.As for D, is it okay to take Immodium? I would have thought that could worsen the C, which I have most frequently. Of course, both are just as painful (cramping, severe sweats with D, horrible bloating, cramping and pressure with C - I'm pretty much nauseous all the time, throw-up quite frequently).Yesterday I picked up bananas, apples, oranges, peaches, broccoli, green beans, pears, carrots and canned legumes; my doctor said to eat at least 4-5 servings of fruits and vegs a day. Because I'm nauseous it's difficult for me to each so much, but I guess I have to. Additionally, Citracil makes me even more nauseous, but I guess I don't have a choice in the matter. I had HORRIBLE vomiting and D from Zelnorm, so that's not an option.Sigh.Still over it.
 

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Over It, be careful adding all that fruit/vegetable fibre all at once. Some IBSers find that makes things worse. Your doctor may not know that fructose (fruit sugar) can be a trigger for IBS. Taking immodium frequently is not a good idea as it can prevent your bowel ever getting back to a stable place. If you take a metamucil type fibre make sure you slowly ease into the dosage and back off if you get bloating etc. But it is worth trying. With a little patience it can stabilise your bowel and prevent cramping by always making sure your bowel has something to work with. But take it at the same times every time to stabilise your bowel. If this works for you it should help minimise the D too. But slowly up the dose. It also sounds like you could use an anti-anxiety or anti-depressant treatment to calm things down and get you back to a happy place. Again be patient. It could take awhile to find the right drug but you may find it well worth it. Good Luck!
 

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Hi Over It- Not sure if I can add much to what everyone else has expertly advised, but I will tell you this - the key to living with IBS is living with it. Don't let it get in the way of all you want to do. That can add even more stress to your life - leading to more IBS attacks. Stress triggers a lot more than just the worry and hand-wringing we're all used to doing. And sounds like in your case, the stress is caused not only by job, life, etc... it's caused by worrying about what will happen - or people's reactions - to you having IBS attacks. I don't have a remedy for that, but anti-anxiety medication can help minimize the effects of this. Also, doing things you love to do - devoting more time to rest and relaxation - can help. I will say it's made a difference in the frequency of my attacks. I guess another way to look at it is that you have IBS. It doesn't have you.Clothing wise, I've found that low-riding pants and jeans are a great way to relieve pressure in bloated tummies. Wearing these with nice, longer-cut blouses gives a nice professional look for the office. For going out, these pants go nicely with t-shirts and other tops for a more fashionable look. Work-wise... you mentioned that your supervisor is open-minded about lots of things. Perhaps if you approach him/her with suggestions of how s/he can help you stay productive, you'll see (or infer)a lot less doubt from him/her. One suggestion could be a desk closer to the restroom, so you don't have far to go, or even a laptop you take into the restroom with you to keep working when IBS rears its ugly head. Maybe working at home a few days a week (if that's allowable) will not only help you get work done, but also cut down on your daily build-up of office stress. Not to mention, let you work in your jammies. Much more comfy.When it comes to taking medications like immodium or metamucil - take them with caution. I think Soundie gave some good advice about that. Believe it or not, your body is trying to heal itself. Sometimes the best medicine is time, patience, and the right nutrients. I recommend eating whole foods - foods that aren't processed or flavored prior to purchase. I'd also cut down on visits to restaurants. You really don't know what you're eating there. Remember IBS is a symptom, or your body's reaction to a food, situation, thing, etc. that's toxic to you. Eliminating the causes will help to rectify the reaction. Good luck to you!
 
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