Having IBD is a challenge at the best of times, but having some useful items on hand can make it that little bit easier. I have one of these kits with me everywhere – in my car, at work, at the gym, when out for a walk, and of course, at home – these are my essentials.
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These are a lifesaver. I keep flushable wipes in my bathroom at home as they are so much gentler and more soothing than regular toilet paper when you have to wipe for the hundredth time that hour!
I also keep them with me pretty much everywhere else not only for the above reason but also because they are also super helpful if you have the dreaded public accident. You can clean up the mess effectively and flush away the evidence!
Healing Cream / Ointment
Aquaphor or some other soothing cream like those sold for diaper rash or hemorrhoids are wonderful to have on hand when your butt is suffering after all the wiping and moisture down there that inevitably comes with a flare. ☹ Don’t suffer more than you have to!
You will be so glad you had these when you have an accident! Trust me – I didn’t have any the first couple of times I had accidents and I regret it. It’s horrible to have to think about, but unfortunately, this is so a thing that will happen to most of us at some time or other, especially those with ulcerative colitis. Being prepared can make the stressful experience a little less terrible.
A Change of Clothes
I hope you will never have to use a spare set of clothes but knowing that they are available if you do need them can give you huge peace of mind.
I’ve always carried tissues in my purse anyway, but they are very useful if you need to use the restrooms urgently and they are all out of toilet paper. You can also use them to dry off if you have to use water or a lot of wipes to clean up.
Hand sanitizer is your best friend if you have to have an urgent bm or accident somewhere that water is not available to clean your hands afterward.
IBD is painful, we all know this. Between abdominal pain/cramps, pain from going to the bathroom, and various extra-intestinal issues like eye and joint pain it seems like something always hurts. So, keep a travel-sized pack of painkillers in your emergency kit and you will never have to suffer without again. Just make sure you use an acetaminophen-based product like Tylenol, rather than NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) as NSAIDs have been shown to exacerbate the symptoms of IBD.
A barber’s cape can be an embarrassment shield if you are caught out and desperate to go somewhere semi-public, for example, a hiking trail, parking lot, or side of the road. The cape is long enough to hide everything when you are crouched down, in case some other hapless walker or driver comes along.
To be clear, I am not suggesting you just drop your pants in the middle of Main Street, but there are certain places that you can probably get away with it!
A Travel Toilet
You can keep one of these in the trunk of your car for if you get caught out whilst driving. It’s also useful for camping trips where the restrooms might be some distance away and/or have a line.
Car Seat Protectors
If you are worried about having an accident whilst traveling in the car, throw down a waterproof liner on the seat that can simply be tossed in the trash when soiled. It’s not ideal but it is much better than trying to clean the seats!
If you are particularly worried about having an accident or are having them frequently, adult diapers are well worth using. As a teacher, I have used these since I couldn’t run off to the restroom and leave my young students unattended. I’ve even worn them at home when I was in a very bad flare. I struggled with the idea of having to use these as someone in my early 30s, but they have saved my ass, literally and figuratively, more than once and were definitely worth using.
You might want to consider keeping a bathroom spray like Poo-Pourri before-you-go smell neutralizer or any number of air fresheners. I don’t have this in my kit right now, but I’ve been recommended it by other IBD sufferers for if you are worried about making a smell in a shared work toilet or public restrooms.
Having an IBD is tough, but you are tougher – stay fabulous, warriors!