Bowels in Polite Society

Now I’m sure I have a couple of readers who can advise me on this question.

How does one refer to being ill in one’s bowels in polite society?

If I have a headache I can tell people that.  If I have a stomach ache I can tell people that.  If I have cramp in my leg I can tell people THAT.  If I have an infection in my ear I can tell people THAT.

So if my bowels are spasming … how do tell people that without using the B word?  Or am I just not supposed to tell them?  Am I even living in a polite society!?  Humph.

Why my stomach and my bowels must bicker so I do not know.  I hope they can kiss and make up with the rest of my body soon.  I like it better when they are quiet and peaceful and getting on with their work happily.

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7 Responses to “Bowels in Polite Society”


  1. 1 Nina June 24, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    If you’re talking to a woman, all you have to say is “i’ve got bad cramps”. Don’t bother talking to a man abt. it:-)

  2. 2 cusp June 24, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Well you could refer to your difficulties as ‘Windy Puffs’ as the mother of one of my former charges used to call them (toe curling phrase I think) OR you could use that advert phrase that’s current and refer to ‘lower digestive transit’ altercations.

    Seriously, like all PWME, I have suffered in this area and found three things to be helpful: aloe vera juice for calming down the lining of the gut, linseeds for better ‘lower digetsive transit’ and milk thistle for all the queasy feelings which, although they often feel like they’re in the gut, are actually to do with liver function.

  3. 3 Barbara K. June 24, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I have had pelvic and bladder pain. I used to just say to people that I was having problems “down there.” It was amusing to watch their reactions, and mostly they never questioned me further.

  4. 4 Daphne June 24, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Sometimes I say I’m having some “G.I. issues”. Or simply, “tummy troubles.” That usually does it. If they *really* want to know specifics, then I’ll go further into the problem. But most people don’t really want to know. 🙂

  5. 5 Connie June 25, 2008 at 5:35 am

    Stomach ache, tummy trouble, cramps or I’m feeling sick to my stomach works for me! And like Daphne said I can always give details if they so wish but most people for some reason don’t take me up on the offer!

    (((Feel better)))

  6. 6 ashysheela June 25, 2008 at 8:16 am

    i think saying IBS is good as most people who know what that is, know because they have had it… of course if they don’t know you are back to square one as you have to tell them “BOWELS”!

    “jippy tummy” is what my very posh grandmother might say so that must be polite! Doesn’t really communicate how bad it can be though…

    Being chronically ill is not glamorous – i would just let the world get used to that 😉

  7. 7 Alicia June 28, 2008 at 4:21 am

    Oh, dear, welcome to my world.

    I have to talk about my bowels so much that I stopped caring what people do and don’t want to hear. My philosophy is to tell the truth and call my symptoms what they are, because it’s the reality of my illness. I either use the medical terms or use my colorful made up ones (like Big D for diarrhea). If they can handle it, they will, and good on them. If they can’t, then they’re not going to like being my friend, cuz it’s all bowels all the time!

    I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. Bowel spasms are so uncomfortable! I am not really one to dole out advice, but I find that a cup of peppermint tea never does me any harm. Feel better.


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