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Hi everyoneThis is my first time posting on this forum and I am doing this today because I really need some help and advise concerning where I stand with my employer and how I get them to understand how hard it is living with IBS.I am 22 and have had symptoms of IBS for the last couple of years through university but have only just recently been diagnosed. I started my first full time career in January this year and have found it extreemly difficult coping with the very loose bm, abdominal cramps, gas, headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting etc infact you name it and ive probably had it at some point...although thankfully not all at once!!Since I started my job I have probably had around 20 days off with my IBS, a figure I believe to be reasonable considering my condition but work doesnt. Today I was told that if I have more than 2 days absent in the next couple of months then they will take disiplinary action and this could result in me loosing my job!!! Im really upset and I am completely confused about where I stand, Ive always thought they have never understood and I think they just proved it!!! I am renting my first house and I have rent and bills to pay and I dont think they realised the effect that they are having on me and the fact that stress actually makes my IBS worse. I've already lost my social life and I dont want to loose my job aswell. I spent hours tonight crying my eyes out on my boyfriend (who has been my rock through all this) but neither of us knows what to do next. To be honest I dont even want to work for them anymore, I feel people dont want me there, that I am a liability and a hassle to have as an employee. I found myself wanting to scream "Its not fair, its not my fault!" at my boss today but just ended up biting my tongue, walking away and then about 10min later running to the loo with an upset stomach.I am at a loose end and any advice would be greatfully appreciated. Do I leave and find another job? (although I probably cant afford to do that) Do I stand my ground and try and make them understand? Or do I even try and find some legal help!Thanks for any advicex x x
 

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Do you have a doctor that you regularly see? I don't know what the rules are like in the UK, but often in the US employers are willing to let absenteeism slide a bit more if they have a note from a doctor as opposed to you just calling in and saying you're sick (I believe you are sick, you know you are sick, but they might not). I know some doctors who are willing to write off your absences later on or develop a system where you call in and they can fax a note over. It might be worth a shot.Another option is taking a look at the work environment. Are there ways to still come to work but to back off (yet stay at work) while you're symptomatic? If you're in an office, is it possible for you to have your own bathroom or be moved closer to the bathroom? I'm generalizing here because I don't know the specifics of your work place and your job.Are you being properly treated by a doctor and been officially diagnosed with IBS? It's a little bit rarer for an IBSer to have vomiting, but not completely underheard of. The better you can get your symptoms under control, the fewer days you'll miss.There is a brochure off of the main page which helps non-IBS people understand what is going on with you. If that does not suffice, perhaps your doctor could write a general note explaining your condition to your boss(es)? Getting legal involved at this point might just wind up making you lose more money, though it depends on whether your work has any sort of disability, HR, etc representatives who might be able to help you.Good luck and best wishes!
 

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Definitely make your boss aware of what you have, i kept my IBS from my employer for almost 2 years and when there was questions about my absence i had to come out with it. I basically printed out the leaflet from i think it was this website on what IBS is and how it can actually feel like its destroying your life.. They have been very supportive since I've told them and have not had any problems with taking time off because they understand what I'm going through.hope this helps..
 

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It is very frustrating to be employable but not reliable enough to be employed! There does not seem to be much leeway with the Welfare State here in the UK on that issue.I know what it was like - I lived with it for 10 years and it was hard going. Having to nip to the loo and hope there was no one in there, or no one waiting when I came out!
As has been suggested, can you go back and have another chat with your Doctor (or even one that might be a bit more sympathetic in the same practice!) and get them to check that it is 'only' IBS (that, after all, is only a 'label' for something they don't know the answer to!).It may even be possible for your Doc to sign you off so that you could claim sickness benefit or something, if it doesn't look like it is going to clear up anytime soon.Personally, what helped me was to dump gluten and dairy and actually most carbs from my diet. Losing the gluten and dairy helped immediately and gradually by removing most carbs and sugars my digestion has improved no end. I have realised that whilst Candida was a problem for me for years, removing the carbs and sugars helps to starve the Candida and get it back under control. An overgrowth of things like Candida also means that they are producing a lot of toxins, like acetaldehyde which is an alcohol (hence why many people with Candida suffer with brain-fog) - apparently Candida can produce something in the region of 70 different toxins! All of those toxins need to be processed by the liver and elimination systems in the body and that takes a lot of water to deal with too.Good plain probiotic yogurt is a great help too - it can be a bit bloating at first, but that is the good bacteria fighting with the bad. I like the Total greek yoghurt available in most supermarkets. Avoid the Activia or similar stuff - they are packed full of sugar and that feeds the baddies as well as the goodies.The other thing I have discovered is that a lot of my problems with IBS-D came from being very dehydrated. I didn't feel dehydrated, and didn't know that I was dehydrated - I drank fluids every day, but I wasn't drinking water. It made me feel thirsty, so I would avoid it. Now I know that is because my body was begging for it! Doh!All the carbs and sugars and dairy and most of the drinks I was having were all dehydrating. Now I am rehydrating with my 8 or so glasses of water a day and a few pinches of sea or rock salt (about quarter teaspoon a day) here and there, my digestion is extremely grateful!I believe that D may well the the body's way of eliminating foods that it can't digest. The body will just use what water it can get hold of to drive the undigested and indigestible food through the gut as quickly as possible. Dehydration means that the stomach can't make enough acid for digestion, or bicarb for neutralisation or complete thousands of other processes in the body. I am pretty sure that pathogenic gut bugs also rob us of our valuable water too for their own ends.Now, although I still avoid the gluten stuff (I don't have gluten-free either because that stuff is highly processed, very carb-dense, and often contains a lot of sugar), I do eat pretty low-carb (just eat a few rice cakes or oatcakes) because I have realised how much damage the high-carb, high-sugar, highly processed Western diet is doing to everybody, and I do now have a little dairy here and there. Initially it gave me C, but now I am drinking plenty of water my digestion is able to cope with it.Not sure if this will help, but believe me I know where you are coming from!
 

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I hope things get better for you and your employer is more understanding. I wish I had some encouraging words for you, but I have lost almost every job I've had due to my IBS. After I told one employer I had IBS their attitude got worse and they fired me shortly thereafter. Where I live, in Wisconsin here in the U.S. there are no laws to protect employees and even tho I had notes from my doctor, I was still let go from my job. I currently started a new job, was told it would be part time, and now they have me working full time and due to my IBS being so severe I have had to miss several days of work already so I am again faced with losing yet another job. I don't know what I will do, I have no family left and I'm on my own and need to support myself..... I did apply for disability and hired a lawyer, but it seems to be an uphill battle. I have not yet found an amployer who is understanding about IBS.
 

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I think the employer makes the difference. I have had a terrible time with some of my employers and my present one is absolutely amazing. She is so understanding about it all. I told her in my interview before i started the job and she was desperate for staff, so luckily it went my way. I had so many late starts and days off - which was impossible to pevent but she is always really understanding. My worst boss used to stand outside the door with her watch and yes I was about 27 at this point. I had to have endless meetings and stress and was told i would have a written warning if I was late again. To this day I will never forgive her for being such a nightmare. Over the last few days I have had a stomach bug and been back to square one again and not being able to get off the toilet is the worst thing. It's impossible to be there on time if you physically cannot stop pooing and it's bad enough knowing that you're late and letting your workmates down without being told that you're going to get the sack. If you are having a particularly bad time I believe you can get a form to fill out from the doctors and sign yourself off sick for a week. Which I wish I knew about before when I really needed it. I think I would say you definitely need to tell your employer that there is a medical problem and I agree that a note from the doctor would probably help. Being upfront about my diarrhea problem was the best thing that I did.Sorry you're having such a rough time, I know exactly what you're going through.Claire
 
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