Have you ever been out in public and needed a toilet — but there wasn’t one available?
This has happened to everyone who lives with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), which is why so many of us have “bathroom accident” stories. Needing to use the bathroom is a basic human need, but it’s treated like an afterthought. That’s where the Restroom Access Act comes into play: a law passed in several states that allows people to request access to a toilet when they live with certain conditions.
There is no such law currently in California. That’s hopefully going to change thanks to the efforts of Ashlyn Saltzburg and Kelly Silk. Ashlyn is a teenager living with IBD and Kelly is her mom. Their effort to get a law passed in California is nothing short of heroic. Learn about how they got started on this journey to have the Restroom Access Act passed in California, and how you can help.
Send your letters of support for AB 1632 to Assemblymember Weber’s Legislative Assistant, Raymond G. Contreras: firstname.lastname@example.org
The impact of human activities on the environment is well-documented. Many people are concerned about how their daily lives can have a negative effect on the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the health of ourselves and of our children. My background is in environmental science: it began in high school when I worked to institute a recycling program in the lunchroom. I went on to earn my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Michigan State University.
While there’s nothing we can do about having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), there is something we can do about how it impacts our environment. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis need treatment over a lifetime and this comes with a variety of choices. Environmental responsibility may be pretty far down on the list of things most people with IBD are concerned about, but there are some simple choices we can make that can have an impact.
The place were we have a lot of control as patients is in our own home and in how we manage our disease (alongside our healthcare teams). A few little changes can make a positive impact in how your IBD affects the word around you. I present some areas where we can think about making choices in regards to our IBD that may help us leave a smaller footprint.
Did you know that more than 70% of people with IBD have reported bathroom accidents (fecal incontinence)? Did you also know that only around 20% ask for help from their physicians? It’s a sensitive topic, to be sure, which is why I offer advice on how to cope with this problem and how to avoid it in the first place. If you’re struggling with this issue I have tips that you can use today but the best advice is to talk to your doctor about it (and I discuss that also!).
I do enjoy a good bathroom. This fun women’s room entry is found at the M&M store in New York. (I also enjoy a good M&M. Or any M&M, really.)
I was using the so-called “courtesy flush” long before I knew it had a name. Flushing something particularly odorous quickly or flushing to mask the sound of flatulence are common reasons for the courtesy flush. You might use this tactic at a friend’s house or even at home, but most often it’s used in public bathrooms, especially those that are not well-trafficked.
Anyone who has inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has used the courtesy flush. Maybe there are some who couldn’t care less what the person in the next stall hears or smells, but others feel some embarrassment.