After the birth of my 2nd child, I began experiencing urinary incontinence. I started leaking a bit here and there, and it only got worse as I got older. I assumed it was just a part of aging and that there was nothing I could do. And while the episodes were embarrassing, I was able to control and hide them pretty well by wearing protection and always keeping a close eye on the toilet.
However, when my youngest was 15 years old, I had my first real bowel accident, and life as I knew it officially changed. I began having more and more episodes, and eventually didn’t even want to leave the house because I was so terrified of having an accident. I stopped seeing friends. I ordered groceries and most things I needed online. I refused to go on dates with my husband. There is something that feels just a little bit worse about having a bowel accident vs. having a bladder accident – it’s messier, smellier, much more apparent, and just so humiliating that you never want others to know it is something you are going through.
I lived like this for six years before finally realizing that I wasn’t controlling my ABL, it was controlling me. I got up the nerve to speak with my doctor and was able to have a surgery that helped alleviate many of my issues.
All of this could not have come soon enough – my first granddaughter was born a year ago and to think that I may have missed out on that moment or all the wonderful ones that have followed makes me cringe. My only regret is that I didn’t do something about it sooner.
Ellen T., Atlanta, GA