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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center

How to Have a Confident Social Life With IBD

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Hang Out With Supportive Friends

Telling your friends or at least some friends that you have Crohn's or colitis can ease the stress of social situations and actual emergencies. Kelley Chenier of Kalamazoo, Mich., is fairly open about her Crohn's. When she's out, this means she'll "have the support so [friends] understand, and if there ever is an issue, that they're a help rather than freaking out or panicking," she says.

Plan Your Route

Do this on simple walks around the city and long road trips, too. Erbach feels healthier when she walks, but she makes sure her routes are planned around where the bathrooms are. "It's more of a security thing," she says.

Leave Early for Events

Crystal Ware of Denver always leaves a little extra time to get somewhere, just in case. "Knowing that I have options when I leave the house means I can relax, which helps the urgency issues," she says. She also tells her friends that she might need to make pit stops.

Drive Separately

Driving separately can also ease your mind. Melissa Shaw, of Mechanicsville, Va., does that often. "I can scoot off by myself if I need to," she says. "I'm more flexible."

Choose Your Seats

If you're going to a movie, sporting event, or concert and you can choose your seats, pick the aisle, says Erbach. "If it's not assigned seating, I'll purposely just sit my little butt on the aisle because I can get in and out." The same goes if you're traveling -- by plane, train or bus.

Eat Last

When your outing involves multiple stops, make sure breakfast, lunch, or dinner are last. That way, if you feel any discomfort after eating, you can go straight home, says Shaw.

Be Prepared

Take the right supplies. Your own roll of toilet paper or wet wipes in travel size can come in very handy if you have to hit up a port-o-john or if you have an IBD emergency, says Ware.  You can also pack a kit with spare clothes.

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Reviewed on August 16, 2013

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