This is a particularly distressing symptom to deal with. Often people are worried about the possibility of not being able to find a bathroom when they need it, and potentially having an accident. You should keep your doctor informed of any urgency, as they may need to change or tweak your IBD medications. Also, there are many medicines, both over the counter and on prescription, which can help to lessen diarrhea.

When you go out, make sure you know where the bathrooms are. Your local Crohn’s and colitis association may produce ‘can’t wait’ cards, which may persuade shop owners etc to allow you to use private facilities in an emergency. You can also join the RADAR scheme in the UK, which provides keys to disabled toilets.

You may wish to carry an emergency kit with you (or keep it in the car), consisting of items such as medication, spare clothes, wipes, bags, deodorant and cream, so that in the event of an accident you can deal with it promptly. In the winter, long coats and in the summer a sweater or jacket tied around the waist can help to prevent any embarrassment.

If urgency is particularly bad, and you are having frequent accidents, it may be necessary to use protection. For women, large sanitary towels placed to the back of the underwear may be sufficient. Alternatively, there are pads and disposable underwear available from many supermarkets, pharmacies and disability stores. You may be able to get free samples of products by visiting a disability store, or by contacting the manufacturer directly.

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