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NHS Choices Condition

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Access to toilet facilities

Finding access to toilets can be an important issue if you are experiencing symptoms of sudden and urgent diarrhoea. In the most severe cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), some people are afraid to visit public places in case they experience an episode of incontinence.

There are a number of steps that you can take to help you deal with the problem. For example, the IBS charity, 'The Gut Trust' operates a 'Can't Wait' card scheme. This is a small card, confirming that you have a medical condition which indicates that you may require immediate access to toilet facilities. Should you need to, you can use the card to gain access to the toilet facilities of businesses, supermarkets, or other organisations.

Another alternative is to join the National Key Scheme. The National Key Scheme (NKS) offers independent access to people with certain health conditions, such as IBS, to around 7,000 locked public toilets around the country.

Psychological impact

As IBS is not a life-threatening condition, it is sometimes trivialised it as being nothing more that a form of indigestion. However, the pain, discomfort, and inconvenience caused by IBS can have a profound psychological affect on the individual.

It is estimated that the majority of people with moderate to severe IBS will experience feelings of depression and anxiety at some point in their life.

If you find that you have been feeling particularly down over the past month, and you no longer take pleasure in the things that you used to enjoy, you may be depressed. You should see your GP for advice and treatment.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may also help you cope better with your condition and any feelings of depression and anxiety that you have.

You may also want to consider joining an IBS support group because talking to people who share your condition can reduce feelings of loneliness, isolation, and stress. Your GP may be able to provide details of support groups in your local area.

view information about Irritable Bowel Syndrome on www.nhs.co.uk »

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