Managing your IBS at work can be challenging but there are things you can do to improve your working life.
Talk to your employer
Taking time to explain your condition to a trusted manager may help them to better understand some of the challenges you are facing. Unless you tell them about your condition, they’ll not be able to support you. Some of our members say they find it embarrassing and uncomfortable, which is understandable, but many say having the conversation helps to alleviate some of their anxiety.
Manage stress and anxiety
When you speak with a trusted manager, it may be useful to tell them about the effect that additional stress can have on your symptoms. If necessary, ask your GP for a letter explaining your illness and how it impacts on your working life.
Self-manage your IBS
IBS is different for everyone. To help you understand your symptoms and triggers The IBS Network has created an IBS Self-Care Programme, which is available here.
Understand your symptoms better
Use The IBS Network’s Wellness Diary to better understand your symptoms, triggers and identify any patterns. Note how you are feeling and what you are eating. It’ll help you to plan your weekly meals, record what you have eaten and log what has been happening in your life. Having worked through the diary you will be able to share the information with your health care professional and together discuss any patterns that emerge.
Get into good eating habits
You could try the following:
• Get up early enough to allow plenty of time for breakfast and to go to the toilet before work
• Take a proper lunch break and avoid eating meals on the run
• Prepare your own food so you know what it contains and the portion sizes
• Don’t skip meals to avoid going to the toilet
• Aim to drink at least eight cups of fluid per day, especially water or other non-caffeinated drinks.
Keep a supply of any IBS medication you use, along with some wipes and anything else you think you might need, like spare underwear, together in a bag and keep in your car or in your drawer at work.
Give The IBS Network details to your manager
Managers can find extensive information from the charity’s website which will help them understand the condition and support their employees better. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.