It seems like every month brings another round of blockbusters and tearjerkers to the cinema. But a trip to the movies can seem like a Very Bad Idea for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) sufferers (especially when it’s meant to be a date). But never fear, the cinema can be an IBD-friendly place, so here’s a list of top tips to help you get the best out of the movies.

1) Book your ideal seats

Most cinemas allow you to book online, which is great for moviegoers as it guarantees you a seat before you arrive. But when you’ve got IBD, it’s all about which seat you get. Aisle seats that are closest to the exits are obviously your best bet in case you need to quickly duck out. Being stuck in the middle of a row of people, worrying that you’ll need to leave multiple times and step on everyone’s toes in the process is a sure-fire way to have a crummy experience. So jump online and get in early to make sure you’ve got the right seat so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the show, or make a quick exit Batman-style if you need to go.

2) Call ahead about toilets

If you’re really worried about making it to the loo in time, obviously you don’t want to be desperately navigating a series of corridors in a major multiplex in search of the bathroom. But there’s no reason why you can’t call up a cinema ahead of time to find out which individual screens are closest to the toilets and which movies are playing on them. As we all know, knowledge about your environment is key to managing your IBD and there’s no shame in being up front about the information you need – and that goes for any kind of venue you frequent. The difference between knowing the bathroom is just outside your session – and not knowing where it is at all – can be the difference between the experience feeling more like a romantic comedy or more like some sort of anxiety-laden thriller.

3) Be careful at the snack bar

If you suffer from IBD, popcorn, sadly, probably isn’t your best friend. Popcorn is a difficult wholegrain to digest and can cause discomfort and flare-ups in some people with IBD. Actually, snack bars in general aren’t the most IBD-friendly establishments. They tend to stock quick processed foods which have ingredients that fall into the ‘no-no’ category – things that are less-than-easy on an IBD-digestive system and could trigger symptoms.

Carbonated drinks and confectionary contain high levels of refined sugar, nuts can be tough on the digestive system and sorbitol is often found hiding in ‘sugar free’ gums and candies. Do a bit of research prior to choosing your snack of choice. Also, some theatres will allow guests to bring in outside snacks – just be sure to check with them first. This can be a double bonus; you’ll end up with a happier tummy and a happier wallet.

4) The previews are your buffer zone

So you’ve tried to call ahead regarding the bathrooms but the cinema wasn’t picking up the phone. And, you’re trying to find a snack that won’t cause a flare-up halfway through the film. But the clock is ticking and it’s getting closer and closer to your session’s start time. You’re basically starting to feel like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible.

Take a breath and relax – you’ve actually got more time than you think. Most major multiplexes have between 15-20 minutes of ads and movie trailers before the session. That buffer zone can always be spent doing bathroom recon or snack research. So keep in mind that you’ll always have that little bit more time up your sleeve to get yourself informed and settled before the movie actually starts.

19/09/2014 IRIS number AU-REM0326

July Post 2 Cinema