Let’s have a frank chat about bathrooms.

Chances are if you’re living with a chronic gastro condition such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you’re going to spend a few more hours in the loo over your lifetime than a person with a healthy digestive tract. More bathroom time usually equates to the more uncomfortable symptoms associated with your condition. You know, things people don’t exactly like to talk about – bloating, gas, diarrhoea, ulcers, painful bowel movements, abdominal discomfort… the list goes on. Not really a walk in the park.

If your illness means you’re going to spend more time than average locked in your loo, sometimes in pain or discomfort, you might as well make these situations as pleasant as they can be.

Sprucing up your WC can be simple and doesn’t need to cost the earth. A few cheap improvements can make your bathroom a helluvalot more comfortable and make symptom flare ups just that little bit more bearable.

1. Make it sparkle

Obviously a sparkling clean bathroom is important for hygiene reasons, but if you spend a decent amount of time upon the porcelain throne, you don’t want to be sitting there castigating yourself for slacking off on the spray and wipe. If you need to be intimately acquainted with your WC you’ll want to know that it’s spotless and hygienic. Bathrooms should be cleaned thoroughly at least once per week with an antibacterial cleaning agent such as bleach or a good bathroom spray. Natural alternatives like vinegar solutions and vodka can also do the trick. Be sure to use a disposable cloth and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Keep the toilet brush and some surface cleaner in your bathroom cabinet, shelf or a basket so they’re on hand to take care of anything urgent between weekly cleans.

2. Reading material

Extended periods of time in the bathroom can be a drag. Whiling away the time and getting your mind off any gastro unpleasantness is much easier if you’ve got something interesting to leaf through. A book or some magazines on rotation in a basket or magazine rack in the loo can provide some pleasant distraction from..erm.. the business at hand. Just be sure to wash your hands afterwards and once your reading material has crossed the threshold of the bathroom door be sure that it doesn’t return to normal household circulation for hygiene reasons.

3. Cushion your toosh

If you’re not mad about your toilet’s look or comfort factor, replacing the toilet seat can be a cheap and quick update to improve matters. You might like to go for a classic wood finish or maybe a minimalist white plastic is more to your taste. Just make sure it’s comfortable!

4. Fragrance

People are sensitive and easily embarrassed creatures. Google ‘bathroom anxiety’ and you’ll get plenty of results from the average public, let alone those coping with IBD. Having something handy in the bathroom to deal with unpleasant smells can help relieve some bathroom anxiety. Try a classic citrus or vanilla air freshener stashed discretely beside the toilet, or maybe you’re more the scented candle type (which also means you need to keep a set of matches handy in the loo). Essential oils with reed diffusers are good options as well. Whatever you choose, not only will it make your bathroom smell fresher but also it can help reduce some other stress and embarrassment you might experience when symptoms hit, especially if you don’t live alone.

For more beautiful bathroom style inspiration, check out this Pinterest board.

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