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Multiple Problems
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An_191920 posted:
I am a 38 year old male with incontinence, depression, and anxiety. I am also severely overweight (Around 400 lbs). I have been off work for several months now and have not held a steady job in the past 6 years. I have been told by several doctors that my sphincter muscles are damaged. About 90% of the time after having a bowel movement I am left with excess feces. I am unable to reach around and clean the feces when sitting on a toilet because of my weight. I swing my hand around to my back side and attempt to wipe but all I end up doing is smearing and making a bigger mess. The most effective way I clean myself is to shower then I have to lay on the bed and wipe with flushable wet wipes. Even after doing this I have to lay down on the bed and wipe several more times over the course of the day because feces gradually leaks out after a bowel movement.

I also mentioned that I suffer depression and anxiety which I take medications for. Even when I am employed I am unable to force myself to get ready and go to work for fear that I might have an accident while there. I can't take a shower and lay on the floor while at work to clean myself. I was most recently a substitute teacher and one day had to have a bowel movement. Thankfully the third grade class I was teaching that day was gone to the library during that time. I had to lay down in the middle of the classroom to wipe myself. The whole time I was terrified that a child or another employee would come to the classroom. I had the door locked but there are windows on the door. The rest of that day I was in pain from the excess feces that leaked.

I don't know what to do about my problem. I do not have insurance so surgery to repair the muscles is out of the question. Even with surgery I am not able to properly wipe so I would be dirty until I could lay down somewhere and clean myself. My wife has been very supportive but this has caused huge financial troubles for us. We are currently being evicted from the house we rent and will have to move in with her father. Her family is not aware of my incontinence problem and she will not tell me what they think but I'm sure they just think I am lazy and no good for her. I woke up and got ready to go to my family doctor this morning but I don't think there is anything they can do that hasn't already been done. I don't want to do it but the only solution I can think of right now is applying for disability benefits.

My question is "what do I do?". Prior to this condition I have always held a job and I am not a lazy person but we have a 6 year old son and we can't go on living like this. I need an income. I also think that if I get on disability they give some type of insurance like medicare or medicaid which would possibly enable me to get my medical problems fixed so I could go back to work. I am very desperate and in need of advice. Do I go to a lawyer to see about disability? Is there some other way to solve my problems and get some type of financial assistance while they are being fixed. Sorry for the long post but this is very important to me and my family. Thank you.
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Byroney_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hello An_191920 and welcome.

It sure sounds like you've been dealing with a lot of difficult issues. I'm going to address these items one at a time if that's okay with you.

First of all, the fecal incontinence. You show a lot of courage to discuss a problem over 5 million Americans have, but they seldom talk about. This article on Bowel Incontinence discusses why it happens, and many options for diagnosis and treatment. So the good news is that there's help available.

I have two videos you can watch on Treating Fecal Incontinence and Living with Fecal Incontinence that may be helpful. They're very short. There are many things that can be tried, and I hope your doctor was able to suggest some to you. If not, you may need to look for someone who specializes in incontinence treatment options.

As far as cleanliness, they make a dozen different kinds of personal wipers. I just looked on Google, and found many different styles. Some of them use a specially designed wipe you get from the manufacturer, while others are designed to work with wipes like you've been using that can be bought anywhere. They have different lengths and curves to assist you in reaching, so you may want to explore those options.

Secondly, disability. You have to make the decision if you want to apply for disability or not. If you do decide to, many initial consultations with disability lawyers are inexpensive or free. They can advise you of the process and what you can expect. They may also be able to direct you to some resources.

Thirdly, the anxiety and depression. Dr. Farrell, our Health Expert on the Anxiety and Panic Community , calls them the "evil twins" because they often hit people together. Here are some links to her relaxation and anxiety-coping Videos that may be helpful, and you're also welcome to post there and ask for support.

I would also encourage you to see if you can find free or low cost counseling to help you through this difficult time. You may also want to look for local support groups.

Finally, I have a post with some Free & Low Cost Options that may work for you. It is by no means a "complete" list, so please check in your own community to find out what's available and what you may qualify for.

Let us know how you and your family are doing!

In support,

Byroney
 
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DesperateJoe replied to Byroney_WebMD_Staff's response:
Thanks for your advice. Just getting a reply like you posted helps me. You are helping many people here and I just wanted you to know it doesn't go unnoticed. I checked out all the links you posted. I will keep you updated on my conditions and what I decide. Have a great day.
 
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Byroney_WebMD_Staff replied to DesperateJoe's response:
Thank you DesperateJoe for the follow-up and the kind words. I hope the links will prove helpful, too.

I'm looking forward to your update and cheering you on,

Byroney


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