Anxiety Community
fear of losing bowel control
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to generalized anxiety, anxiety and eating, anxiety and sleeping, mood swings, panic attacks and panic disorders.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

fear of losing bowel control

I think my problems would also fall under the Psychiatric catagory but the main symptom brings me here.
For nearly 3 years now I have had problems with my stomach and bowels. I am always worried that I will lose control of my bowels when I am out, be it working, or just going outside for a walk to buy groceries.

Throughout the day I have these symptoms:
-I will go to the washroom many many times and still feel like I need to go again.
-When I do, it feels like I have the runs, but the stool is still solid, no liquid.
-Almost immedietly after eating I need to go to the washroom, even if I just did.
I am now very depressed and tired all day and I seem to have no care for anything anymore.

When I leave the house and it hits me the hardest this is what happens:
-I start to panic for no reason and immedietly look for the nearest washroom.
-My heart will instantly start to pound in my chest
-My chest will get tight
-It will feel almost like I have adrenaline pumping through me because I'm scared.
-Throughout all of this I'm always thinking "I'm not going to make it"tp the washroom.

This started in 2007 while I was in my last year of school and has been a problem since.
From 2007-2009 it was very bad, I rarely left the house except to work and sometimes missed work because of it.
From then on it was still present, but I could manage it and was able to do normal things outside the house. But I would need at least 2 hours before going anywhere to calm down and overcome and thoughts of losing control again.
I would always avoid social situations because of this. Thinking that I would not be in control of my situation if I were to randomly go out and would then panic and start to lose control again.

This problem has recently taken a new turn and is now worse then before. I can barely leave the house to buy food, and have tried but failed to make it to the doctors (I would panic and turn to come back home).
The only way I can leave the house is if I am on my bike (I am a cyclist), the act of cycling and the pain of going 'full tilt' on the bike calms me down.

It has now reached the point where I am depressed all day, I always feel tired, and if all washrooms are being used by roommates I start to panic in my own home that I will lose control. I am now even feeling depressed and fatigued while I am on my bike which was the last thing I truely enjoying doing.

This problem is ruining my life and I am worried that if I don't get it fixed I will continue to slip farther into depression and worse things will happen.
I fully intended to go the doctors here and get myself checked, its just a matter of being able to make it there. So until then I thought I would come on here and get opinions from anyone willing to give them.

I hope my writing above makes sence, I have always had trouble describing illness.
Related Discussions
22 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
You have become fixated on this one thing which in turn causes much anxiety, panic attacks, resulting in depression.  This is just a guess, as I am not a doctor.  But it creates a viscious cycle, and you cannot get better on your own at this point.  It is interfering with the quality of your life, so you need to seek professional help right away. Therapy can teach you coping skills, how not to dwell on this, and relaxation techniques.
They may even recommend some medication.  But you have to leave the house to see a doctor.  You've never lost control of your bowels, and maybe concentrating on this aspect may help.  Even someone with severe diarrhea has enough warning to get to a bathroom.  For your bowels to just let go cannot happen. Think of all the times you panicked, went home fearing you would lose control of your bowels, but it never happened.  You should see that all your worrying is for nothing, for something that won't and can't physically happen.  This is what you need to think about, and dwell on.  I'm not coming down on you, I do understand how horrible this has been for you.  I'm hoping if you can see that what you're fearing has never happened, maybe it will give you the courage to go to the doctor.  Losing control in any fashion is scary, but you don't have to live like this, there is a lot of help for you.  Maybe you could wear extra clothing in preperation for what you fear? Pack some wipes, and even a change of clothing, this way nobody would know if it did happen, and you could clean up and change upon arrival.  Your surprise will be arriving at the doctors and still wearing clean clothes and this will be your first big step towards thinking differently. You can and must do it.  Look at the history of it, it's never happened, the past predicts the future.  You'll be fine.  
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
If you are still having this problem. I can shed some light on it. I had the same damn thing happen to me and have been dealing with it for years. You are not alone, there is treatment for it. You have OCD.  here is my story.  A few years ago I went to visit my grandfather who was dying of Alzheimers. While I was there he lost control of his bowels. After that I had this irrational fear that the same thing would happen to me. I started to envision my future. I wouldnt be able to live among normal people, I'd have to wear a diaper everywhere. I would think about what my spouse would think. Their disappointment in me. I would worry about it every waking moment it would put me in a panic. One day at work I was convinced I was going to lose control of my bowels and was in such a panic I feinted and broke my nose.

Ok so that was the turning point. I started going to therapy. I have OCD. The treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I found that I had a lot of things that I obsessed over and had little compulsions for. I didnt even realize I was doing all this. I thought it was just this one thing but once I sat down with a CBT therapist and started writing it all down I saw that there was a much bigger problem.

What you are doing to combat your obsession is typical OCD avoidance behavior. Your obsession is keeping you in the house, avoiding living your life. The treatment would involve exposing yourself to this obsession. Not obviously physically losing control but imagining yourself doing it. The worst possible scenario in your head you would repeat over and over and over again. You would guage your level of anxiety and keep doing this exercise until it dropped to half. You could make a loop take that chronicles your horrible fear and listen to it over and over again.  This is called exposure and response prevention. You would do the exposure but then not perform your compulsion. In your case you wouldnt perform avoidance behavior. You would do the exposure and take a walk to the corner store or something.

What ends up happening as you do this is that in exposing yourself to what you fear most, the anxiety drops.  When that anxiety drops the obsession starts to lose its grip on you. It isn't a cure its just a tool but it is a very powerful one.  What I described above is what you would do after several weeks of therapy being guided by someone who's trained.

But honestly, there is hope. Am I cured? No. Sometimes Im fine for weeks and months at a time and then for whatever reason it creeps back again. Except now it doesnt get as out of control as it used to. I now have tools to address this stuff and its a help. If you need to talk offline email me              ***@****
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
check your inbox
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
thanks friend i have been to a doctor and he has given me medicines he also wants me to have a psycho therapy but i have lost faith in everything do you people have something to help me with my university life exams etc if you can tell me something so that it does not attack me in the university i will do anything for you people even if it takes my life seriously help me thank you i am in trouble
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
no one here can really help you. you are the only one who can turn this around. you need to see a therapist who specializes in 'cognitive behavior therapy'. I dont know what country you are in to try to find such a therapist but Im sure you can find one. There are also books you can ready to help shed some light on what you are going through. "The Imp of the Mind", "Stop Obsessing". You can find them on Amazon. It takes work and facing your fears to get over stuff like this. There are no magic words, no real medicines that will totally make this go away. There is 'treatment'. And it works. You just have to get over the rough spot. Find a CBT therapist. That is where I would start.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Hello,

Mediaguy, I have exact same problem as all. I am going through CBT helping a bit but don't think I'm grasping the concept of this.. Please try to get in touch..

Desperado
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Just found this site we are definitly not alone...

http://www.poopreport.com/Doctor/Knowledgebase/agraphobia.html

hopefully a updated group can be started so we can all work together as a team...
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
any new updates from anybody on this topic would be greatly appreciated..

urahara.. have you overcome this bathroom anxiety??
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
http://www.********.***/forums/index.php?/topic/128175-ibs-d-and-panic-attacks/
Blank
Avatar_m_tn

Thanks for your posting, and urahara for posting the original question.

I've suffered from a milder version of this anxiety for years, fearing that I'll lose control of my bowels on the bus on the way to work, or when going out with friends to a restaurant. I always assumed my bowels were simply badly behaved, and easily aggravated. One time when I was 18 or so (about 20 years ago) I went out one evening for a walk, and on my way home couldn't find a washroom, and although I at least made it to a park, I made a terrible mess in my pants. One event in 20 years isn't a pattern, but when I'm feeling worried about getting somewhere on time, that image often comes to mind, and I'm racing to the washroom, one more time before I go out the door.

There does seem to be a physical component, when I worry about it, I feel like I've got to go to the washroom even when I don't, or I feel like my bowel brain connection isn't working. When I don't worry about it, oddly enough the idea is totally absent from my mind.

I agree that this is a self reinforcing idea. Firstly if you are depressed or in a constantly worried state, you may physically feel knots in your stomach. Feelings often have physical components, for me sadness often feels like something bad in my stomach. This easily leads me to thinking I need to go to the bathroom.  

I've been reading some cognitive behavioral books. I'm working through one called "The Feeling Good Handbook" by Dr. Burns. Cognitive behavioral approach is to recognize and talk back to distorted thoughts.

I've also been reading a book which discusses Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) called "The Happiness Trap", by Russ Harris. The ACT approach tries to get you to stop struggling with negative thoughts, and learn to accept them, and pay less attention to them. Rather than blot them out, or argue with them, the idea is to stop the cyclic reinforcement of engaging or focusing on morbid ideas, and that in time they will become less influential.  

Most discussions of anxiety seem  to focus on the panic attack fear of having a heart attack in public. I've never had this fear, but the very simple fear of public humiliation because I couldn't control my bowels seems pretty real to me.

Its helpful to learn that other people have this concern, and to hear that CBT methods may be totally appropriate.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Very Interesting.. This dr clams to have cure for all intestinal conditions including ibs, crohns, diarrhea constipation and BOWEL URGENCY...



www  holisticgastroenterology   com

Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I know how you feel. Anxiety/stress caused me to to 'go' too. But suddenly it got much worse and I had NO control over my bowels for 2 years. I didn't go out at all. I never knew when I might go.....but unlike you, I had no warning. I could be anyplace and suddenly have a bowel movement. Talk about embarrassing.
I went to a GI specialist and it turned out after years of diarrhea/constipation problems due to anxiety, my sphincter muscle had lost it's elasticity and no longer 'tightened' to hold it in.
I had surgery and it worked great. No problems since.
I used to bring a change of underware if I had to go out, and wore pads.
I wish you luck. I sure understand.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I have been dealing with the same problem for a little over a year now.  My wife and I got married in Mexico and all her family was able to attend.  The food, water, or whatever else, didnt exactly agree with my stomach and made me ill.  Constant diarrhea and urge "to go".  It wasn't that bad because I had my own room, obviously, and I figured my body would bounce back in a day or two.  Will our last day came and the family decieded on taking a common van back to the airport!  Thats when my first panic attack happened.  The "what ifs" started flying.  I made it to the airport physically fine but mentally I was drained.  I "white knuckled" it the whole way there.  We had to wait 5 hours to board our flight and was back and forth to the bathroom 4 times.  Now, along with this, I have NEVER been comfortable with using public restroom.  It something that I have always looked at as private and in turn my body understood that.  I never ever use to go away from home.  So having to use a restroom in an airport in Mexico was not the way i wanted to give up my "public restroom virginity"!!  To me, it was tramatic.  But realistically and when I look back, it was fine.  I was fine!!!!  But, the story doesn't end there.  I still had to board the plane and fly 4 hours back to my state.  Of course the voices and the negative situations were flying off in my head.  The airplane ride home was 4 hours of constant panic!!  I remember sitting in the window seat, with my head pressed up against the window praying to the Lord to get me through this.  I made it home fine!!!!!  But throughout the months leading up to today, I play them events over in my mind, except I always subsitute the van, airport, and airplane with places I have to be today, tomorrow, or week, month, or months from now.  My wife is currently on a cruise with my daughter to watch her sister get married and I'm not there because of the situations past.  I have consulted 2 physcologists and have been on numerous meds.  I have found that your mind needs to occupied with other things to keep you from obsessing.  I know that that was a certain situation in my life, where my stomach TRULY was upset and I wasn't at home to deal with it.  If I were at home and not in a foreign country, I know that I would not be dealing with the anxiety, ocd, phobia, and agorphobia I am dealing with today.  So your not alone.  We need to face our fears and they will disappear!!!  I am currently in the mind set of being, frankly, pissed of with this and want my life back and willing to do whatever possible to achieve that outcome!!
Blank
1448936_tn?1363209946
wow. i've been dealing with the same thing. i get so anxious and i start getting cramps like im about to have diarrhea but i either dont have to go or i have a normal bm. sometimes when i get very anxious i will have diarrhea which makes me incredibly anxious. i too am afraid to leave my house sometimes becuase i dont want the situation to arise while im out. last night at the laundromat i started getting anxious and getting cramps and i freaked out because theres no bathroom in the laundromat. it was awful. but i made it home and didnt have a bathroom emergency. today im supposed to go to work but im cramping horribly..i had a normal bm but still have the awful cramps. im so anxious about it i may call out of work.

i keep immodium in my purse at all times. i never leave home without it. i try not to take it regularly because that is bad but it helps me feel a bit more calm when im out and about. the immodium helps with the cramps some too when i take it.

i hope you can get this taken care of. its really tough to deal with. i see a therapist weekly and he definitley helps me when i talk to him. i almost didnt go but felt a lot more comfortable going when i realized his office has an easily accesable bathroom.

try and stay positive. its difficult but know that many others are suffering the same way as you are. with support from each other and from doctors i think we can all make it through this.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I am also expriencing the problem..and i can resolve it with my self.. I live in the Philippines.. Is there any medicines to take? thank you..
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
* I cant resolve it with myself..
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
I feel calmer already! Just actually finding comments reflecting my 'bowel problems', great to know not alone,altho after 25 years of learning to live with it i'm not sure if there could actually be a cure, I guess it just is that - finding our own ways of 'living with it'. Good luck to all. H
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Hey guys its been a while.

Its back :(
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
I think there is no cure. I was 90% fine after taking some medication for my OCD associated with the problem i described above, but now that I ve stopped taking med, it has bumped into me again. Havent gone for CBT yet. The fact is I am  tired of fighting this now and I am low on hope. Is this the end of the joy in my life?
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
It can get better and it will. I am 25 and for just over 1 year I have had a fear of messing myself in public my fear is irrational as even if I go to the toilet and pass a normal stool I will still panick and.be convinced as soon as i leave the bathroom I will get diarrhea! I will even take an Imodium (immodium) without having diarrhea!! Its crazy and irrational!! All this worry does actually cause me to have diarrhea so its a vicious circle. Also sometimes I will think im.coping well and will suddenly get diarrhea and ill get very upset and panick! I have recently told my partner and friends so im very consumed by this at the moment and feeling a bit mental as I can no longer just try to ignore this as its taking over my life. I feel ok at home but I panick outside and in work as if it happened in work I would have to see all of those people again!!! Also I have just started a new dream job which is making it unbearable. I have taken tablets which didnt work and actually gave me daily diarrhea!! I am going to try telephone therapy as I tried face to face counselling but couldn't tell them this problem as I found it too embarrassing. Can anyone recommend any books for this particular problem in the mean time?? ive read a book on aniexty but its not the shaking sweating and adrenalin that worries me its the fear of messing myself and thats it!! The mind is very powerful thing and no matter how bad my problem is at the moment and how much it is ruining my life I am aware that only my mind can make me better. Its not nice to see others go through this but I do take comfort knowing im not the only one.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
man i understand
i took med for a year to see some changes
cbt is my trump card
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
anyone has any updates on there recoveries?
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Recent Activity
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
Alnan commented on Tramadol & Ultram...
2 mins ago
1302038_tn?1409939502
Blank
TinaR10 commented on TinaR10's status
23 mins ago
Avatar_n_tn
Blank
Shenana2014 commented on I just wish people wo...
30 mins ago
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Anxiety Tracker
Track Anxiety Symptoms
Start Tracking Now
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
Paxiled
Arlington, VA
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
anxiety860
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
remar
st. louis, MO
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
cj29
GA
6579347_tn?1388505968
Blank
mele48
TX
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
michigan07
Anxiety Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Anxiety Answerers
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
Paxiled
Arlington, VA
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
anxiety860
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
remar
st. louis, MO
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
cj29
GA
6579347_tn?1388505968
Blank
mele48
TX
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
michigan07