Wondering how to word it or what to say when calling in sick with diarrhea?
Some people feel embarrassed to tell their boss or work colleague that they can’t come in due to having diarrhea.
While you shouldn’t be too embarrassed as it happens to everyone, I can understand you might want to phrase it differently!
What to Say When Calling in Sick With Diarrhea?
So, you’re at home and you’re feeling dreadful. You have diarrhea and you know it’s simply impossible for you to go to work.
Calling in sick is difficult for most people, but having to give a reason that you feel embarrassed about makes that call even more anxiety-inducing.
There are a few different ways you can go about this:
Telling Your Boss You Have Diarrhea
If you’re OK using the word ‘diarrhea’ and letting your boss know what your sickness is, here are some options:
You could say something like: “I’m sorry, I have diarrhea and won’t be able to come in today.”
Or, “I’m not feeling well because I have diarrhea”, or “I hate to say it, but I have diarrhea so I can’t be in the office, sorry!”
If you want to get straight to the point and keep it 100% professional, you could say: “I have diarrhea and can’t come in.”
Telling Your Boss Without Using the Word ‘Diarrhea’
If you feel uncomfortable using the word ‘diarrhea’ or giving too many details, there are other ways to say it.
You could say: “I’m not feeling well, I think it’s best if I stay home so I can be close to my bathroom.”
Or, “I have an upset stomach and I don’t think it would be wise for me to come in.”
You could also say: “I’m feeling really sick and have to keep running to the bathroom, I’m going to have to stay home today.”
These are all perfectly valid and professional ways to call in sick with diarrhea!
Not Revealing That You Have Diarrhea
If you feel embarrassed, or worse, think that someone at your workplace will mention why you were off when you return, there’s nothing wrong with not revealing exactly what’s wrong.
If you want to be a bit more vague so your boss doesn’t know you have diarrhea, you could say: “I’m not feeling too great, I think I’ll stay home today.”
Or, “I’m not feeling well today, so I’ll work from home (if that’s an option)”, or, “I’m really sorry, I’m just feeling too ill to make it into the office.”
If you’re pressed a little as to what’s wrong, just simply say you have “stomach cramps.”
Of course, how you phrase it will depend on your relationship with your boss or co-workers.
If you’re close with them, you could be more open and honest about what’s going on.
But, if you don’t know them that well or you’re not comfortable sharing that information, it’s totally OK to be vaguer.
The main thing is that you let them know you’re not feeling well and won’t be able to come in.
Alternative Words and Euphemisms for ‘Diarrhea’
There are a few different words or euphemisms you can use for diarrhea when calling in sick.
This way, you don’t have to say the word ‘diarrhea’ and can still get your point across without feeling too embarrassed.
Here are some alternative words and phrases for diarrhea ranging from preferred words to slang:
- Upset stomach/tummy
- Frequent bowel movements
- Stomach distress
- The runs
- The trots
- Loose/watery stool
Alternatively, you can just describe what you’re going through and it will get the message across.
Some of the things I’ve heard said over the years include:
- “I need to keep running to the toilet.”
- “I can’t stop going to the bathroom.”
- “I can’t keep anything I eat in.”
- “I can’t seem to go more than 10 minutes without a toilet break.”
If your boss or the person you’re calling asks you to elaborate after you’ve said one of these, maybe they deserve to hear some of the details!
What’s a Professional Way to Call in Sick With Diarrhea?
The most important thing is that you’re professional when calling in sick, no matter what words you use to describe your illness.
Be courteous, let your boss know as soon as possible that you won’t be in, and give a brief explanation of why.
A couple of the most professional ways to make this call are:
“I’m sorry, but I have an upset stomach and won’t be able to come in today. I’ll be available to work from home if needed.”
Or, “Hi, I hate to have to make this call and let you down, but I have a stomach bug and am not in shape to come in today.”
Is Diarrhea a Good Excuse to Miss Work?
There’s no denying that diarrhea is an unpleasant virus, and can sometimes be quite debilitating.
It’s a perfectly valid reason to miss work.
In fact, you risk spreading the infection to others you work with, and I’m sure none of your coworkers would want that.
If you have diarrhea, the best thing to do is stay home, drink lots of fluids (to avoid dehydration), and rest.
It’s also nice to be in the comfort of your own home and surroundings when you need to make a dash to the bathroom.
If people find out, they find out. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about – it would certainly be more embarrassing to be at work and get caught short!
If you have diarrhea and need to call in sick, there’s no need to be embarrassed.
Just let your boss know as soon as possible that you’re not feeling well and won’t be able to come in.
If you find it difficult to tell your boss, use some of the alternative words or phrases for diarrhea, or describe what you’re going through.
Image credits – Photo by Satyam HCR on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.