IBS and living in Japan

  • IBS and living in Japan

    Posted by iliketurtles on July 6, 2018 at 2:29 am

    Hello! im not sure if this is the place to talk about this. But finding information on this has not been easy.

    I came here in hopes to find information about living with IBS in japan. This issue for me impacts my life so much. Im limited on where i can travel depending on how easy i can locate a toilet. Pretty limited on what i can eat also.

    I wanted to see if there was anyone else living in japan with IBS. I will be making a move early next year. Employment is one thing that worries me at the moment.

    I work a desktop support job. All my work from my desk and do some work remotely. It would be nice to find a work from home job. At my current job, Im not at a public facing job like a register so i am free to use the toilet when needed. My case of IBS is mostly if im not able to get to a toilet easy, i get the need to go. so being stuck at a register is something im not able to do anymore.

    I was wondering if anyone has this issue and what they do for work.

    my health? its good. but this issue is something that as far as i know, there is no cure.

    the food in japan has been safer for me. but i still have issues from time to time.

    I did see another post with a link to this https://www.lion.co.jp/en/products/category/medical/26


    Any input would be great!

    Josh Grisdale replied 2 years, 2 months ago 5 Members · 26 Replies
  • 26 Replies
  • Accessible Japan

    July 6, 2018 at 4:16 pm


    Of course it is OK to ask here!

    Not living with IBS, but know the need of finding a toilet!  You may want to try out some of these toilet apps!  They can help you find the nearest toilet.  It certainly helps to just know where they are in a pinch.  The @トイレ app even has a big “Emergency!” button (it is actually made by a company that sells diarrhea medication) 🙂

    These should at least help you when going out.  Even if in Japanese, you can still get the idea.

    You mention working here?  After you move in and get on Japanese health insurance, you should go to a doctor to see about prescribed medicine.

    Hope this helps!

    • iliketurtles

      July 7, 2018 at 12:46 am

      Wow there is an app for that!? thanks for the links!

      I wonder what Japanese doctors will say. American ones seem to have given up and tell me im fine.


      Again thanks for the info! ill be sure to put it to good use!

  • Accessible Japan

    July 7, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    When you do get here and see one, please let everyone know!  It will help the next traveler with IBS who wants to visit Japan.

  • iliketurtles

    March 23, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Not much of an update but wanted to say I am now moved and living in Tokyo. Waiting on some documents and will then go to a doctor to see what they can do here.

    In America I pretty much got the, oh yes you have Ibs. Watch what you eat and you should be ok. …

    That’s it… Not much help.

    I did find out about some meds for this issue only found in Japan.

    I found out about a med called Irribow. But the only way to get it is to see a doctor. So my next step is insurance .

    This medicine is taken once a day. Im hoping with this I’ll have some what of a normal eating life. I usually have to skip eating if I travel far.

    For now I’ll try to use imodium. But I have a limited supply. Also don’t like using it much because it sometimes will back me up for a few days. But it’s better than rushing to a toilet .

    I have not tried over the counter stuff in tokyo. Really want to see what the doctor says. I’m worried the stuff I get on my own will be too weak.

    I’ll post the next update after seeing a doctor.

  • Accessible Japan

    March 23, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    First of all, welcome to Japan!!!

    thank you for the new information. Please do keep us posted on the prescription medication or any over the counter ones you try (if you do). It will help others with IBS visiting Japan.

  • debsydubs39

    March 26, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Hi there

    I’m not a doctor but I struggled for years and tried every over the counter fibre product

    I don’t want to get in this forum and talk about my issues

    I had the typical colonoscopy and then mentioned a breath test

    As I wasn’t celiac, they told me not to bother about getting the breath test

    As my problem persisted, I paid to have it done

    Diagnosis – fructose malabsorption

    It can also check lactose intolerance, my son has this

    I eat fructose friendly meals

    Adopting a permanent eating style of ketosis and limit sugar and now lost 11 kgs

    You have probably had heaps of tests already but just checking

    By the way, this is linked to my multiple sclerosis

    Food diary is a must

    Now I have a beautiful fresh low acid coffee, dark roast, single origin yum

    I go every day most times

    I certainly know if I’ve eaten the wrong food

    Good luck

    Yay Japan, my son lives there and I’ve been 3 times now and love the Winter

    My last trip December 2018

    Shouted myself Japan Airlines business class and The Hilton in Shinjuku out of my payout since finishing work ☹️


  • iliketurtles

    March 27, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Hello @debsydubs39!!

    Thanks for the input ! I didn’t consider fructose being an issue. I’ll for sure look into it and see if that will help me and change the way I eat. At the moment I’m waiting on some visa documents so I have time to test food and different diets.

    It’s not easy to get help on this issue. Everyone has a different trigger to it.

    Hope you get to make another trip to Japan!

  • iliketurtles

    August 21, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Hello everyone! its been a long road to getting my spouse visa and finally getting a job!

    Ive been at my job for 2 months now and have japanese health insurance. 

    Most hospitals that have foreign staff, do not take japanese insurance. 

    I had my wife assist with getting an appointment in Shibuya. 


    English is pretty limited with the staff. I got lucky and the doctor assigned to me spoke pretty good english so i was able to explain my issue to her. I showed her my testing papers from america and also that i had a colonoscopy done. I really didnt want to deal with more testing. 

    She shared that she also had to deal with IBS! i was like wow someone who understands! it didnt take long before she got me some meds. its a once a day pill but maybe because im from america she said take 2. the pill is イリボー or Iribo – http://www.rad-ar.or.jp/siori/kekka.cgi?n=13937.

    I just started taking it yesterday so ill have  to update again later. I started with the one a day and see how it goes for a week. I might need to take 2 a day… 

    dealing with the doctor was super easy in tokyo. No run around talking to other doctors and needed a special referral. My wait time was about 5 or so minutes. Talked to the doctor and was out before i knew it with my meds ! Doctor visit with my japanese insurace was 1050 yen. 

    28 pills about 28 days worth was 1600 yen. 

    i did look into going to a more english speaking friendly hospital but the wanted 15,000 yen for the first time consultation…and my insurance wouldnt work there. So if you dont speak japanese, try to find someone to help you get an appointment if you only have japanese insurance. 

  • Accessible Japan

    August 22, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Thank you for the update and welcome to Japan!

    Glad to hear you had a pleasant first experience (besides the testing!).  <br>

    I have been told the same thing about medicine as well (take double), but I think it is wise that you are trying with one first. <br>

    Please do keep everyone updated – it will be so helpful for others with IBS traveling to Japan!<br>

  • iliketurtles

    October 5, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Late update but i had to be sure. 

    The イリボー or Iribo given to me didnt do too much. almost felt like no change after using it for about 3 weeks. I would eat something and out it goes as fast as it went in haha. 

    Went back to the doctor and she said i should still take Iribo once a day but also take ポリフル 500mg (Polyful 500mg) 3 times a day after a meal. This didnt work too well with me. I might have an issue during eating if i wait to take the pill after. 

    So i take the pill right before meals. 

    So far so good after about 2 weeks now. Im not running to the toilet after eating a meal anymore. I wake up and can use the toilet once a day or sometimes 2 times a day. 

    Without getting too nasty with the description, The poop comes out a lot more solid than it used to. This is something im so thankful for. If its a lot softer or even close to a liquid, i wouldnt be able to eat for the worry of it coming out quickly. 

    now this isnt a bullet proof pill. I do still watch what i eat but ive been able to enjoy pizza and burgers and curry with no worry. Also many other types of food. 

    Sugar seems to be a big issue still. maybe thats a more of a personal thing going on. some types of icecreams or shakes, gummy candy and even cakes will have my stomach in a lot of pain. even with the pills there is no stopping that. so sugar is something im careful about. there are a few japanese sweets im able to eat. i enjoy pudding, red bean and mochi and some types of cakes that dont get too crazy with filling. 

    my thought on the pills… i think iribo isnt needed but the doctor said i should take it for a long time and it should work better after a while. the polyful is working great so far at the 500mg per pill 3 times a day. 

    i dont get backed up like i do with Imodium. that stuff will have me waiting about 2 maybe 4 days before i can poop again. Polyful will allow me to use the toilet once a day or 2 times a day with no issues. 

    ill be back with more info on eating out and let you all know how it goes. Ive been eating mostly at home still because i dont fully trust the pills but slowly ill get over that. its working well so far. 

  • Accessible Japan

    October 6, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Thank you for the great update – so glad you are adapting.

    How is adapting to everything else?

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