In Case of UC Emergency: What to Pack in Your 'Go Bag'

Accidents happen when you have ulcerative colitis. This list of eight essentials will help you always be prepared.

by Jackie Zimmerman Patient Advocate


You’ve just finished your day at work and you’re preparing for the long commute home. Your stomach has been acting up a bit today thanks to your ulcerative colitis (UC), but you’re 99% sure you can make it home with no problems—that is, until you see that traffic has backed up for miles and miles.

The nerves kick in, which are not helping your already irritated stomach. And despite the deep breathing and clenching, it happens: You have a dreaded accident.

You pull over, frustrated and discouraged—but you know you’ll be fine. Why? Because you’ve done this many times before, and you always have your UC emergency “go bag” with you. Right?

End scene.

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s on the way home from work, at school, or just out enjoying the world, sometimes UC creeps up and literally shits all over what you’re doing. While you may not be able to prevent these incidents, you can prepare an emergency bag to help you clean up and move on with your life.

Here are the top eight things UC patients recommend you pack for an effective UC emergency bag.

1. Charmin’s Ultra Soft Toilet Paper

I don’t want to choose favorites, but if I had to, Charmin’s Ultra Soft is hands down the best TP on the market—and I know a lot of other UC patients will back me up on this. You always want to have a roll on hand, just in case, for whatever may happen.

2. Cottonelle Wet Wipes Refill Pack

Cottonelle wet wipes—in the refill pack specifically—are my favorite on-the-go wipes because: A) They're great wipes. B) The pack closes with a plastic zipper, which keeps your wipes fresher longer. C) The refill pack has way more wipes than just a travel pack.

3. Underwear Pads

Most people think of sanitary pads as a resource for women on their period, but they are also a gold mine for UC patients who are having a rough day and just need a little extra piece of mind. Get the ones with wings, which will help keep the pad in place, and position it a little further back on your underwear so in the event it does need to catch anything, it’s lined up properly.

4. Plastic Bags

Plastic grocery bags are great for more than just groceries. Fellow IBD patient Mackenzie recommends you keep a few in your emergency bag for soiled clothes and another as a garbage for any clean up materials you may have.

5. Spare Underwear

“I never went anywhere without a roll of toilet paper and a clean pair of underwear in my trunk,” says fellow UC patient Colin. Yep, it may seem obvious, but it’s time to bust out the big, comfy cotton underwear. After you’ve had an accident, you want comfortable underwear that you don’t care about (in case you have another accident)—something that is soft and won’t irritate your skin and you won’t feel bad about tossing out later. Besides, there’s something really comforting about putting on a huge pair of underwear—it’s like a hug for your butt!

6. Imodium

Imodium or any other antidiarrheal medication is a must-have for your emergency bag. Chances are, if you needed your emergency bag, it’s because your experiencing output at a rapid rate and you want to try to slow it down. These are available over the counter (OTC) and can give some quick relief, especially if you happen to find yourself in the middle of nowhere. Another option here is to keep a jar of creamy peanut butter in your bag. Not only will it help slow you down, but it’s great for eating your feelings, too!

7. Calmoseptine

Calmoseptine is a cream that helps to ease butt burn that can be caused by frequent bowel movements or from wiping too much. It’s available OTC, and your butt will thank me in the event that you need to use it.

8. A Spare Set of Clothing

Some may say you just need a spare set of underwear and pants for your emergency bag, but fellow UC patient Hollie says we should take it a step further—pack a "full set of clothes from top to sock.” I agree: At minimum, you should include socks, underwear, and a shirt, but you might as well throw in an entire outfit. You’ll want comfy pants, so I would suggest sweats or pajama pants that fit loosely around the waist—when you’re in a flare, you don’t want anything that will put extra pressure on your stomach. Similarly, a loose and large-fitting shirt will keep you comfy—you have to do something with that 1995 Bart Simpson shirt in the back of your closet anyway, right?. And don’t forget socks. Poop runs downhill, if you know what I mean, so it never hurts to have a replacement set.

Pack these eight essentials into a small backpack and take it with you on the go or leave it in the trunk of your car. Because the next time your UC symptoms decide to pay you a visit, I guarantee you’ll be glad you prepared.

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Jackie Zimmerman
Meet Our Writer
Jackie Zimmerman

Jackie Zimmerman is a multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis patient and the founder of Girls With Guts. Since diagnosis, she has blogged her IBD journey at Blood, Poop, and Tears. Jackie has worked hard to become a strong voice in the patient advocacy community. In her free time (what free time?!) she spends time with her two rescue pups, her husband Adam and plays roller derby. She’s online @JackieZimm.