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My Embarrassing Misfortunes Should Not Be the Subject of Your Viral Video

There are some really terrible videos out there on the internet that are supposed to be funny. Sometimes all I can do is just shake my head at my disappointment in people who get a laugh about another person’s misfortunes. Someone who has a really bad biking accident. A little girl whose parents have just played a cruel joke on her… or my personal favorite (insert sarcasm) the person who poops their pants in public.

viral video

With ulcerative colitis, I’ve had my fair share of accidents and close-calls.

When a kid finally is able to use the big-girl or big-boy potty instead of going in their diapers, it is celebrated! Potty training can be a real pain in the neck for many parents. Once you are potty trained you never really think much about the bathroom… that is until you are hit with a disease like mine. The urgency is such that you could never even imagine unless you’ve been there yourself.

There have been several times where I would break out in sweat running to the bathroom and nearly missed the toilet. Other times I have had to pull over on the side of the road to go because I was in the middle of nowhere and there wasn’t a bathroom in sight. I wasn’t prepared in that instance and had to use a grocery bag to clean myself up afterwards. I went home that day and didn’t go into work because I was so upset.

But I’ll never forget the day I had a real accident

It was about 20º outside. Frost covered the ground. Just two weeks before, I decided to pack an IBD “emergency” kit just in case. My husband thought this was a little extreme, but I didn’t ever want to be caught unprepared. I was in my car headed to work on a busy highway, again, in the middle of nowhere. Just woodlands and farmlands on either side.

Suddenly, and without any kind of warning, the urge hit and it hit hard. I had never, in all my life, experienced such pain and panic. I tried my best to hold it. I was going to have to pull over on the side of the road again. I was sweating and crying doing my best to find a spot. I found one behind some trees and bushes and just as I had stepped out of my car, it happened. I pooped my pants and there was nothing I could do to stop it.


I cried and I screamed!

There I was, a 28-year-old woman who couldn’t control her bowel movements! I’m not supposed to be in a situation like this. Yet, there I was in all my glory. I grabbed my emergency kit and removed my socks and shoes. I crept over behind a huge pile of sticks where I wouldn’t be seen. I felt the frosty grass and leaves beneath my bare feet. I stripped down, half-naked and shivering, cleaned myself up and put on a new pair of underwear and jeans.

I didn’t go to work that day, either. I called my husband crying. It wasn’t until I arrived home with my bag filled with soiled clothing that my husband understood what had happened. He apologized for doubting my preparation with the emergency kit.

People with bowel issues who cannot physically hold it are in a lot of pain

When you have an accident it changes you. To anyone out there reading this who may be embarrassed, not knowing who they can talk to if they have an accident: you are NOT alone. If you need to talk to someone, I am here. I know what it’s like. I’ve been there.

To everyone else I say, next time you watch a “funny” video of a person pooping themselves in public, you might want to re-think it before you share it. I believe there is a time and place for “potty humor” as far as toilet and poop jokes go—it’s how I cope! But a video that highlights another person’s misery shames patients into silence. Laughing at their misfortunes is not appropriate or funny at all.

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.


  • alicem
    3 weeks ago

    hi friends, I am 67 and was diagnosed when i was 13. I have had accidents everywhere, my favorite being in the security line at Atlanta airport, ya, that was great, and the bathrooms are SO far apart and you just have to keep walkin…I have built up a wall around me without even realizing it, the wall that protects me from stares, the wall that protects me from people who don’t understand why i am not going out today, the wall that protects me from the panicky feeling of waiting for a bus…the wall that protects me from people who insist that i ride with them instead of taking my own vehicle. I do what I can to educate people, in the hopes that i will comfort somehow that little 12 year old girl who does not understand what is happening to her and is afraid.

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    3 weeks ago

    My heart goes out to you. I can so relate to what you are saying. I have had accidents in public as well and it’s THE WORST experience ever. My worst was while waiting for the subway in NYC. I’ll never forget that day.

    I hope you know that you aren’t alone in experiencing these hard moments. This community understands the pain and embarrassment all too well.

    How are you doing these days with symptoms? I found that I was able to control my urgency by changing my diet. Of course it took a long many years of trial and error but I got there.

    Sending big hugs your way.

    Elizabeth (team member)

  • sallymc
    6 months ago

    Thank you. I know this story all too well. It’s the part of IBD I hate the most.

  • ddebodoo
    1 year ago

    I was diagnosed at 21 but have had problems since birth. Because of having Crohn’s as well as UC I understand your pain, panic, embarrassment and trama with a capital T!
    I can not EVER remember what it feels like to be normal as I have had accidents in every place imaginable. The worst for me is the long stretch of 2 lane highway 45 miles back to my home from a visit with my parents. Even at night I know every possible turn off because over the years I have had to use each and every one of them.
    It is easy to say to suck it up and to be a warrior princess through those times but it is so much harder to actually do it!
    Keep your head up and forgive your body for it’s failures.

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    1 year ago

    I think this is so well put. We certainly are warriors for dealing with all that we have to deal with, however, we are human and in many circumstances that is easier said than done.

    I know when I had my first public accident, I definitely didn’t feel like a warrior princess. Quite frankly, I almost turned into a helpless five year old, and wanted to just crawl into a hole and cry.

    Yes, we must forgive our bodies and we must also stand behind our body because I believe it wants to heal just as badly as we do.

    I hope you are feeling well these days.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

  • lservies
    1 year ago

    This has happened to me MANY times. I am 55 and had Crohn’s Disease since I was 18 years old. I’ve pooped my pants, pooped on the side of the road, pooped all over toilets and walls (I guess that’s what they call explosive diarrhea!) and pooped in the nastiest toilets you’ve ever s I know what you mean by pain and panic!

  • smsjones53
    1 year ago

    I can totally relate to you here. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 1968. I am currently 65 years old and it has been a long ride with lots of ups and downs. Fortunately, I’ve been able to be off meds (Delzicol or Pred if it’s really bad) for about 3 years now. My symptoms usually are blood, mucous, and left side pain. It is often accompanied by bouts of almost “dire rear”. I had a colonoscopy a few months back which came back clear. I do have some stenosis (I’ve been told) in my rectum which often doesn’t give me a lot of warning. Lately though, I’ve been having some serious near misses and and out and out failures. All of them have been travel related. I’ve done well when I’m out and about as I try to always scope out a bathroom when I arrive someplace. My husband is insisting I wear depends lately but twice, it only helped somewhat. I’ve gotten used to hitting the bushes. The last time it happened I had taken an immodium and had gone at home, but I still got hit. I really don’t want to, but I guess I’m going to have to go back on the meds. I am on Medicare now and the drug Deozicol is SO expensive.
    I agree that viral videos about people having these issues is TOTALLY inappropriate.

  • 1 year ago

    It has happened to me while I was sleeping! Taking a 3:00 am shower is not fun. I sleep with pads all the time “just in case”.

    Thank god I have a wonderful husband who tries so hard to save me from my humiliation!
    Crohns sucks! And having had so much surgery makes it worse. I totally feel your pain.

  • Meagan Heidelberg moderator
    1 year ago

    Thank you so much for sharing! It’s great to let our community members that they are not alone! We are sorry that you have experienced this, especially while you were sleeping – but having a loving and caring husband helps!

    Best – Meagan, Team Member

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