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Accidents with IBD

There is such a stigma surrounding the bathroom. I personally am not one who likes to talk about bathroom habits. I just never found it lady-like! However, living with a chronic illness like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), has made me have to talk about crapping and other bowel habits. I only really talk about it to close family and doctors but still… it has made me have to be very knowledgeable about something I never ever wanted to even think about.

I wanted to write an article about having accidents because of IBD since a few people mentioned it in the comments section on our Facebook page. Whenever things are brought up, I like to bring them to the surface so even those few people know they are not alone.

Given Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis come with intestinal inflammation, sores, fistulas, among other things, it is not surprising that one of the symptoms of this disease is urgent, frequent diarrhea. When I use the word “urgent,” I mean that sometimes a person with IBD has about 20 seconds to get to a bathroom. And given that isn’t always possible in the least bit, accidents unfortunately occur.

They are embarrassing. They are mortifying.

The possibility of them can make a person afraid to stay anyplace overnight other than home. This hinders a person’s social life. Intimacy and dating become a problem or non-existent. Isolation also kicks in which paves the way for depression.

While inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is hardly just a bathroom disease, it can affect a person’s bowel habits a great deal. It does become very scary and anxiety-provoking. Plus, accidents are supposed to happen when we are potty training, not NOW! This can really screw with the mind, in my opinion.

I am not someone who is ever going to tell you to just “go out and live and if you happen to crap your pants, just move on!” because I personally would never want to hear that from anyone. It shows such a lack of understanding and empathy. I also am someone who doesn’t respond to tough love since I am tough enough on myself already.

So I am not going to give anyone reading this a tough love spiel.

While I don’t have any amazing words of wisdom other than “you will get through it” – that doesn’t negate the physical and emotional turmoil that often comes with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis. This also brings up an entirely different subject about eating and diet. I highly encourage you to read some of those on our website if you are feeling kind of alone right now or if you just want to have a better understanding of how IBD impacts so many aspects of a person’s life.

Has this part of life with Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis impacted you a great deal? Can you relate at all? Have you been able to manage your disease better? If so, did it take awhile to gain back some confidence? Or, do you still struggle with that part of things? Share your thoughts with us!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • boofox
    8 months ago

    I have microscopic collagenous colitis, for which the only effective treatment has been Entocort. My symptoms started in 2006, and I was diagnosed in about 2010. I have had too many mortifying accidents to count. Disneyland, airports, stores, people’s homes while visiting. I am talking about a lot of liquid stool pouring out of me at an uncontrollable rate. It is awful. I want other people to know that it has happened to other people besides them. I have had to buy clothes at the airport, carry extra complete outfit changes, including shoes, because, they get hit too. I never stick around long enough to witness the biohazard team come to clean up. I do my best in the bathroom stall, but it is a fact of my life. So if anyone knows of anything that has helped them w/ collagenous or lymphocytic colitis, I am waiting with open ears. thanks, Joan Fox

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    8 months ago


    I am so sorry you have had to experience this. It truly is awful.

    Have you tried wearing pads? That was a huge help for me. Some people also wear diapers but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    1 year ago

    Accidents are the absolute worse. I had one particularly bad one while I was walking to the subway in New York City. Thankfully I wasn’t far from my apartment, and I went home to shower afterwards. But the walk of shame was horrible.

    I agree. I think the best advice would be to really study and figure out what diet and foods work best for you. By controlling what you are putting into your body, it helps to control out it comes out.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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