How to Say ‘Diarrhea’ in a Professional Way (With Examples)

Need to call your boss and tell them you’re not going to be coming in to work because you have diarrhea but you’re too embarrassed?

Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone!

It’s not easy to call in sick, especially when the reason is sensitive or something you really don’t want to be shared around.

If you don’t feel like you can say something as direct as, “Sorry, I’m not coming in today I have diarrhea”, there are more ‘professional’ ways to word it.

Here are some alternative ways to call in and say you have diarrhea without being so explicit:

How to Professionally Tell Your Boss You Have Diarrhea

There are two ways to approach this;

  • you can use an alternative word or explanation that lets your boss know you have diarrhea, or
  • you can be vague about why you’re not well enough to come in if you don’t want them to know the reason

If you want to be vague because it feels too personal or you’re worried about people in your office finding out, you should say something like:

  • “I’m not feeling well today and don’t think it would be wise for me to come in.”
  • “I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it in today, I’m feeling pretty unwell.”
  • “Unfortunately I won’t be able to come in today, I’ve been struck down with something.”

These are all perfectly reasonable ways to let your boss know that you’re not feeling well and won’t be able to come in.

They may push you to know more details (although, they really shouldn’t). If they do, you can say something like:

  • “I’d rather not say, but I promise it’s nothing contagious!”
  • “It’s just some kind of stomach issue.”
  • “I’m just not feeling well enough to concentrate and really won’t be much use.”

If you want to let your boss know that you have diarrhea, but not use the word or say anything explicit, you should say something like:

  • “I’m afraid I have a bit of a stomach bug and need to stay home.”
  • “It may have been something I ate, but I’m really not feeling well.”
  • “I had some really bad stomach cramps this morning and they haven’t gone away.”
  • “I have an awful stomach upset, I wish I could come in but I really can’t.”

These are all valid explanations for why you can’t come in to work, without using the word ‘diarrhea’ or anything too graphic.

Your boss should be able to understand what you mean and, more importantly, why you can’t come in.

If they’re not sympathetic or understanding, that’s a different issue!

Related Here are some examples of what to say when calling in sick with diarrhea.

How Do You Say Diarrhea in a Nice Way?

There are a few ways to say diarrhea in a nicer, more colleague-friendly way.

If you wanted to get the message across what you’re dealing with without being graphic, you could say something like:

  • “I’m not feeling well today, I’ve had to run to the bathroom several times.”
  • “I don’t think it would be wise for me to come in, I have an upset stomach.”
  • “I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it in today, I need to be at home with my stomach how it is.”
  • “I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to come in, I have stomach distress and need to stay home.”

These are all perfectly reasonable ways to let your boss know that you have a stomach upset, so there is no doubt as to why you can’t come in.

Synonyms and Other Ways to Say Diarrhea

If you want to be a bit more explicit about what’s going on, but don’t want to use the word ‘diarrhea’, here are some other words and phrases you can use:

  • “I have the runs.”
  • “I’m going to the bathroom a lot today.”
  • “I can’t keep anything in today.”
  • “I have the trots.”
  • “I can’t stop going to the bathroom.”
  • “I’ve been in and out of the bathroom all day.”
  • “I have a stomach bug and need to stay home.”
  • “I’m afraid I won’t be able to come in today. I have a stomach virus and need to rest.”
  • “I’m not feeling well today, I think I have food poisoning.”
  • “I’m sorry, but I can’t come in today. I ate something that didn’t agree with me.”
  • “I won’t be able to make it in today. I have a stomach ache and need to stay home.”

I think that should give you more than enough ideas, phrases, and alternative sayings to use!

Related Here is some advice on how to help someone who is stressed at work.

In Summary

If you want to keep it professional there are a few different ways that you can say you have diarrhea without being too graphic or explicit.

If you want to be vague, you can say something like “I’m not feeling well today” or “I have an upset stomach”.

If you want to be a bit more explicit, you can say “I have a stomachache” or “I’m going to the bathroom a lot today”.

It’s up to you how you phrase it, and it’s going to depend on the relationship you have with the person you’re telling.

But at the end of the day, try not to be embarrassed.

Having diarrhea is something that’s going to happen to everyone at one time or another!


Image credits – Photo by Jonas Leupe on Unsplash

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