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Using disabled toilet with IBS

(154 Posts)
ToiletUser Wed 27-Jan-16 11:16:06

Hi all. I have a feeling I may get flamed for this, but wanted some opinions as I honestly don't know if I am being unreasonable. Have NC as this post contains some embarrassing information!

I have irritable bowel syndrome, which I realise is a fairly common complaint and by no means a disability, but which does mean I often need to use toilets which have a sink in the cubicle. In my building, this means using the disabled toilet.

The other day, said disabled toilet was flooded and subsequently unavailable for several days, during which time I had (tmi warning) a rather explosive bout of IBS and could only use the normal cubicle toilets. It was humiliating and horrible. I had to keep exiting the cubicle to wet pieces of loo paper and I felt disgusting.

Shortly afterwards, the office manager sent round an email to everybody saying that, under no circumstances are able-bodied people allowed to use the disabled toilet.

So I guess my AIBU is: 1) are disabled toilets ONLY for disabled people, or are they just accessible for disabled people but everyone can use them? and 2) am I being unreasonable using them for the above reasons?


liz70 Wed 27-Jan-16 11:19:20

No, definitely not U. You have a medical condition that requires access to appropriate toilet facilities. Could you get a note from your G.P.?

Talcumsoul Wed 27-Jan-16 11:22:43

Yanbu in the slightest. That's exactly what the disabled toilets are for: people whose health conditions require it.

ToiletUser Wed 27-Jan-16 11:23:10

Perhaps, but then I don't know if I'd want to flash that around to all and sundry blush

The girls on reception/office management are quite bitchy and judgmental

PersephonePitstop Wed 27-Jan-16 11:23:42

YANBU at all, disabilities take many forms and not all are visible.

Could you speak to the issuer of the message or ask HR to do so?

SweetieDrops Wed 27-Jan-16 11:25:12

YANBU to use the disabled toilet as you have a medical condition. Could you carry a pack of moist toilet wipes in your bag just in case it becomes out of order again though to save the toilet roll situation from happening?

Skinny9741 Wed 27-Jan-16 11:25:13

I would say you anbu at all. I suffer woth ibs and get embarressed when i get an episode and have to use communal work toilets (no disabled toilets). I would ignore the email if i were you and if questioned say you have a bowel condition. People who have never had ibs don't understand how painful and disruptive it actually is and think it's just a bit of a tummy ache.

PurpleDaisies Wed 27-Jan-16 11:25:29

What do you think prompted the office manager to send the email? Do they know about your IBS?

I don't think you're unreasonable in using the disabled toilet. You might need to have an uncomfortable conversation with your boss and argue your case (ideally with something to back you up from the gp).

MumOnTheRunCatchingUp Wed 27-Jan-16 11:25:51

Wet toilet paper can't be either effective or pleasant.

You could still use regular toilets if you kept wipes in there, wouldn't they be better? Or you could take them in with you each time

ToiletUser Wed 27-Jan-16 11:26:22

Well this is the other problem - we are a small startup and thus don't have an HR department. We are currently in serviced offices which host a number of small and large companies. As previously mentioned, the girls on reception aren't necessarily the kind of people you'd want knowing that you have a poo problem haha

We are leaving this office next week, but wanted to know for future really

Thanks for your responses, they've made me feel a bit better about it!

Twitterqueen Wed 27-Jan-16 11:27:07

I can't believe your manager sent such a text - that's completely ridiculous and ignorant too.

You should not have to explain yourself to anybody. flowers

Alicewasinwonderland Wed 27-Jan-16 11:27:46

I honestly never thought that disabled toilets were only for disabled people.

In public places, they tend to have baby changing facilities in them anyway. (It's a good thing, it means the baby things are not only in women toilets which is inconvenient for dads)

Someone can have urgent need for toilets (pregnancy, illness) or a young child in a rush, so it sounds fair they use the first one that's free.

In your own case, you DO need them, so it's a non issue. I hope it's not too embarrassing to tell the office manager. I would just use them as normal.

ToiletUser Wed 27-Jan-16 11:28:52

mumontherun I do try and carry toilet wipes but sometimes run out or forget, which I realise is kind of stupid of me. Equally I sometimes forget to buy tampons, so that stupidity extends to all areas of my life!

However, it's not only the sink thing, but also how many people can hear everything that's going on

1AngelicFruitCake Wed 27-Jan-16 11:29:03

I have IBS and don't jnderstabd the wet toilet paper - do you mean because you get sore?

I have had some really humiliating experiences over the years where I've had to use the toilet very suddenly. I think you should go in with a note from your doctor x

ThereIsIron Wed 27-Jan-16 11:29:04

YANBU. Your manager is an idiot, and disabledaccessible toilets are for everyone.

iamEarthymama Wed 27-Jan-16 11:29:57

You have my sympathy, I went through a bout of IBS and it was awful
So bad it scared away my ex!!

I think you should be able to use the facilities for those with disabilities without any interference from anyone.

In the mean time can you use baby wipes and those bags for nappies?
Just keep some in your bag, in a make up bag you can grab on your way?

I hope it eases soon.

I am gluten free now and while it can be limiting I feel so much better

ToiletUser Wed 27-Jan-16 11:30:22

Twitterqueen thank you! Thankfully it wasn't MY manager, but the office manager of the building. My actual boss has always been very understanding about it

ToiletUser Wed 27-Jan-16 11:31:36

just to clarify, the wet toilet paper thing is because sometimes dry toilet paper doesn't quite do the job, if you know what I mean blush

As I said, I do try and carry wipes but sometimes forget

Inertia Wed 27-Jan-16 11:32:36

Not all disabilities require the use of a wheelchair. Your office manager needs to be quite careful to avoid discriminating against people with other disabilities.

Do you have an occupational health department at your workplace? They might be the people to speak to. They might also be able to give advice about how to respond to people who become involved in your medical issues with no good reason.

BunnyTyler Wed 27-Jan-16 11:33:16

I have Crohn's Disease & also suffer from IBS aswell, I am on a couple of IBD forums and this is a regular topic.

You have a need to use the toilet, therefore you use it - not all disabilities are visible.

Bearsinmotion Wed 27-Jan-16 11:33:29

I'm disabled, and it pisses me off no end when people who cycle to work use them to wash and get changed in, staying in there for 15 minutes at a time.

Someone with a medical condition who finds using disabled toilets makes life easier? No problem at all! and you'd be more likely to leave it in a pleasant state

Dawndonnaagain Wed 27-Jan-16 11:34:37

You can get a credit card sized info card from here
Of course you're not being unreasonable. I have UC and do not leave the house without wipes, a change of underwear and my card.

MrsJayy Wed 27-Jan-16 11:36:28

Yanbu to use the toilet you need to get your manager to get in touch with thetwat that complained saying that <company>staff health is no concern of theirs.

x2boys Wed 27-Jan-16 11:37:40

I,d say the manager was being disabalist, about only people that are not able bodied using disabled toilets disabilities come in many different forms and not just people in wheelchairs might need to use them I take my able bodied five yr old into disabled toilets as he has asd and learning disabilities and still in nappies so I need the room.

BunnyTyler Wed 27-Jan-16 11:37:47

By the way, if you get embarrassed by smell then there is a product available which is amazing called "Poo-Pourri" - you can get it on Amazon.

You spray a couple of squirts onto the water in the toilet before you go and it basically stops the smell from escaping.

It's ace! grin

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