Careful Planning Helps Me Manage UC at Work

By Adam Leonard
Updated 2024-03-28 18:29:11 | Published 2021-03-01 22:54:54
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  • Ulcerative Colitis
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    • In this section of the iMedix Blog, learn about Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Find detailed information on its symptoms, treatment, and strategies for managing the condition. This resource is designed to assist patients and their families in navigating the challenges of living with Ulcerative Colitis.

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Managing the symptoms of ulcerative colitis is no easy task. As a college professor, I consider myself fortunate that my job made it easier for me to handle my frequent bowel movements when I was first diagnosed and struggling to control my condition. I often think about how challenging it would be to have an inflammatory bowel disease in a job that lacks convenient access to a bathroom, like my father, who worked as a delivery driver for over 30 years.

During the school year, my typical day consists of teaching, office hours, and attending meetings. My classes and meetings usually last 50-75 minutes. When I was experiencing up to 10 bowel movements a day, I managed to avoid any issues by utilizing the bathroom right before and after my classes and meetings. This routine was developed over a couple of months in the fall of 2016 as my condition worsened. It proved highly successful, as I only had to leave class once to use the bathroom. Fortunately, it was during a test day, so my absence went unnoticed.

Ulcerative colitis often leads to urgent bowel movements. Even though I had already used the bathroom before class, I would sometimes find it difficult to make it through the entire 50 minutes without needing to go again. Thankfully, the closest bathroom was conveniently located down the hall, allowing me to avoid any embarrassing situations.

Despite having easy access to a bathroom at work, there were still days when I wore adult diapers, just in case of accidents. Initially, I worried that my colleagues or students would hear the crinkle of the plastic diaper when I sat down or notice its bulkiness. However, I don't believe anyone ever realized. If they did notice, it was never obvious to me. And even if they did, it shouldn't matter.

If you suffer from an inflammatory bowel disease and work in a job without easy access to a bathroom, consider speaking to your supervisor about your needs. Although it may be embarrassing, people are typically understanding and sympathetic. They don't want to discuss your bowel movements any more than you do, so be brave and have the conversation if necessary. The same goes for wearing adult diapers. The initial embarrassment is much less than the potential embarrassment of having an accident without them. Even if you do have an accident, remember that it's not your fault. Be kind to yourself. Managing frequent bowel movements is challenging, especially at work.

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