Illness advice needed - I have IBS which has gotten worse in the past year. WFH has been a blessing, sometimes I’ll need to make it to a bathroom within 30s-1m or have an accident. I’m not sure if I can manage working in person with how my condition has worsened. Q1: Does anyone live with IBS and how do you manage? Q2: Should I turn my full-attention to looking for a remote-only job?

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I do live with it & I easily excuse myself if I need to run to the bathroom. Also, there’s medication to control it. You shouldn’t think of shaping your lifestyle around your IBS; take control of your life & don’t let your condition control you. Talk to a doctor to give you prescription… also, go to a naturopath; tons of natural remedies (e.g. proper probiotics, etc.) that can help with the root cause.

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Yes! I use senekot and magnesium bisglycinate pills every night to make sure it helps with my constipation (one of the things that aggravates IBS) and my bowls are cleared in the morning. I also take 60-100 billion probiotics. Taking vitamin D, B, zinc, and other supplements prescribed by my naturopath have helped immensely. Go to a renowned naturopath in your town/city and let them look at you holistically … plus make sure medically you do all necessary tests to ensure there’s nothing serious going on.

I am actually in the same exact position: have IBS which I finally got a formal diagnosis for, after working with a nutritionist and GI specialist over the past year. Have always had it and struggled with it my whole life and it ebbs and flows in terms of intensity or “flare ups.” Mine has definitely been a lot worse over the past year too, bc of the stress and anxiety of everything (I think). I agree: WFH has been such a blessing to be able to manage it and be near a bathroom, wear more accommodating clothing (the bloating can cause me to shift entire pants sizes from one day to the next) and eat home cooked food with ingredients I control. Plus the reduced stress of not having to commute, etc. I am looking at ways to stay remote on a more permanent basis as well but have been told to basically talk to my boss to work it out so I plan to have those conversations. Not sure I will feel comfortable using my personal illness as a medical reason to ask for the accommodation, I feel sort of weird talking about it as it’s so personal. But I feel the same in terms of worrying about missing out on relationship building opportunities and getting left behind bc of lack of visibility. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten mine under control yet, but I do recommend taking the steps to see a GI specialist and entertain the idea of the elimination diet. Also purchase the Monash app - it is quite helpful. And look up Kate Scarlata - she is a great advocate in this space. And absolutely find an incredibly strong probiotic that works for you. I hope some of these tidbits will help you! I feel for you! The IBS itself can actually cause more anxiety, so it’s such a terrible, vicious cycle!

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Thank you!!!

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Just know that IBS qualifies as a disability under Equal Opportunity Employment and employers are recruited to make reasonable accommodations (such as allowing remote work where possible)

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See a gastro doc and figure out the gut issues. Chronic inflammatory illnesses like IBS often lead to even more serious health issues.

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I’m in a similar position as you — recently diagnosed with IBS-D after experiencing symptoms for a long time, which worsened this past year (thankful for WFH). Just went to a new GI doc for a second opinion and was prescribed a two week course of Xifaxan (rifaximin). A few days in and my symptoms have all subsided or mostly normalized. I’ve read that it can get worse after the treatment is done and sometimes you need two rounds so not getting my hopes up but it’s been awesome so far. I would try a round of this antibiotic before looking for a remote only job.

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Cutting out raw vegetables (and all salads) has been a GAME CHANGER for me. Like I can’t even begin to describe what a difference it made.

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I can relate to this as I have a chronic pain condition that has gotten worse over the past year. WFH has allowed me to do the pain management that I need to at home, that wouldn’t be accessible at the office. I haven’t looked into it but you could probably get a doctor’s note that you need to be accommodated. My job current works well remotely, not sure what management’s decision will be over the next months. I’ve also considered looking for FT remote. Obviously I am concerned about my trajectory if I will be away from the office while most are there.

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Thank you for sharing C1. Agreed, if office becomes the norm again, it would feel like a huge miss to not have face time. It’s hard.

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How did you find you have IBS? I’ve been feeling I have but am afraid to ask the doc

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Sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well! There’s no test to definitely diagnose it. I just…need to be near a bathroom at all times because of diarrhea. The doc can do tests for Crohns disease and celiac, but those didn’t apply to me.

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WFH habits can worsen IBS. I know personally I am not moving around as much in a remote environment. Lack of exercise can make the symptoms worse.

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I don’t have ibs but my husband either has ibs or at least has a seriously sensitive stomach as he often has to run to the bathroom and feels horrible for the day & spends much of it in the bathroom. Anyway, I’d look into what triggers it for you, why it has worsened, keep food log, see a gastro dr and any other drs that specialize in it. Maybe a nutritionist could help too? What if WFH is what has made it worse and going back to the office would actually help? Idk. Sorry I can’t be of more assistance but I would work to improve the issue before changing career goals :)

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LOL that would be one silver lining of going back to the office! I do food logs, nothing really stands out. Sometimes it’s fatty foods, but other times my body is ok with it. Sometimes eating too much of anything in general. Sometimes coffee. Sometimes cold drinks. I’ll have to be super super careful if we go back to the office and see how it goes. Hello saltines and tea 🥲

Yo are you me? I’m so scared about this. With working from home I have gotten more relaxed about my diet - nothing crazy but I can eat takeout or make a salad or have dairy whenever because I’m... at home. Definitely will have to make changes when I go back.

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I am you! The number of times I hung up on a teams call to sprint to the bathroom, then come back claiming “bad wifi issues” is like, greater than 10 lol.

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My boyfriend has the same issue but he has been managing it since before covid. Did you get tested for UC as well? That’s what he has and the symptoms sound the same. As far as I can tell, he manages it with medication and doesn’t change his diet, but does eat at different times depending on plans for the day.

Also, his doctor has made it abundantly clear that changing his diet wouldn’t help cure his disease, but just help manage symptoms. There is also a difference between IBS and IBD - you should get checked out to see if you have IBD because in that case, diet wouldn’t change anything. All to say, it’s not your fault and you should absolutely be accommodated for it if this is a concern for you.

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