There's never a good moment to have diarrhoea but if you have it frequently there's always the worry it'll happen at the worst possible time. It's embarrassing to rush out of a meeting at work or leave your date sitting alone in a restaurant.
Possibly even more awkward is once you've dealt with an attack it's hard to get rid of the feeling that you aren't quite clean and people can tell what's just happened.
Don't worry, you can freshen up after a bout of diarrhoea with minimal fuss. If it's happening to you a lot it can make your bottom sore, so a routine that's sensitive and kind to your skin can reduce discomfort.
1. Home is best
Being at home is the best place to be when an attack strikes and for freshening up afterwards.
Sara has had irritable bowel syndrome with frequent diarrhoea for more than 20 years. At first it stopped her going out but she has worked on that and now has a social life. She says: "When I have an attack, the recovery is difficult unless I am at home, so that was just one more reason for me to stay in my 'secure' place."
2. Lukewarm water
Ideally the anal area should be washed in the shower with lukewarm water. A bidet is a good washing option but not many people in the UK have one. You can get special plastic baths, known as hip or sitz baths, which allow you to sit in a few inches of warm water to get your bottom clean.
3. Be gentle
Avoid using a flannel or a sponge as they'll be too rough. Avoid soap too as although it smells nice it will have a drying effect and can leave your bottom sore and red. Don't towel your skin dry just let it dry naturally in the air, if practical.
There are also cleansing products available that don't dry out your skin. They come in spray form, as foams or wipes.
4. Wipe right
If you have diarrhoea a lot you may prefer to use non-alcohol wipes instead of toilet paper. Even the most plush and quilted toilet paper can irritate very sore bottoms. If you do use toilet paper don't wipe too hard.
5. Plan for being out and about
You aren't always at home when you have diarrhoea unfortunately so have a plan if you are caught short when you are out and about.
"You don't want to be embarrassed about having an accident and being unprepared … so anything you can do to get it under control is important," says IBS expert and psychotherapist Dr Nick Read.
Sometimes that isn't always possible. "Prepare for the worst, expect the best," advises Sara. "When you are leaving your secure places and venturing somewhere new, take medication if it helps, plan out your route and find out where the toilets are if you can. Above all, give yourself plenty of time."