Work on IBD while you work

Managing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a little easier when you’re at home surrounded by creature comforts, but how do you manage at work. We spend about a third of our day (or even more) at work, so it makes sense to make your 9-to-5 as pleasant and productive as possible. Here are a few things you can do to make things easier.

1. Consider discussing your condition with workmates

It is understandably hard to discuss something as personal as IBD, but telling your workmates may take some weight off your shoulders. Your colleagues will be in a better position to be sensitive toward your health and your needs. At the very least it is advisable to let your boss know about your condition, especially if it means you might need more time off or flexible working conditions (such as working remotely during periods of poor health).

2. Keep an emergency kit at work

In the event of a dramatic and sudden onset of symptoms, you will feel far more at ease if you’re prepared. Keep a stash of the important things such as medication, a clean change of clothes and underwear, antacids and disposable wipes somewhere in your office.

3. Don’t fear meetings

If you need to excuse yourself from a meeting it is perfectly reasonable to do so. Even people without IBD need bathroom breaks! If you feel the need to visit the loo, it is fine to just say that you are unwell (even if your workmates don’t know about your condition). After all, we are all human and we all get sick.

4. Manage your diet

Your diet is fundamental to managing your symptoms. Make sure you eat healthy regularly – don’t get stuck on a deadline or eat junk food between meetings. You need to prepare tummy-friendly lunches and some snacks, and then make time to eat mindfully. Gobbling down a sandwich in 30 seconds is a sure-fire way to kick off indigestion and possibly something much worse.

5. Use space to your advantage

Location matters. Try and ask for a desk close to the bathrooms. Explain the reason for your request to your supervisor and they’ll likely be accommodating to your needs.

How should I communicate with my colleagues?