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The Misadventures of My Bowel And Bladder

I am hesitant to write about this subject, but here goes anyway. Fingers crossed, I hope you can relate. At this point in my life, I’m 42 years old. Still, age doesn’t exclude me from a good old healthy slap of embarrassment.

Going to see my gynecologist

I made an appointment with my gynecologist. No big deal. I was going to get a new prescription for birth control pills. I can physically have children, but my husband and I have chosen not to have any. I expected to sit down and discuss my options for different pills. Five minutes later, we had picked a medication and the visit seemed to be over. So, you can imagine how shocked I was when the doctor asked me to get on the exam table. I had forgotten I was also due for an annual pelvic exam.

I wasn’t prepared for the pelvic exam but got on the table

I should have said no because I was not prepared. But I agreed to continue. The doctor stepped out of the room. The nurse stayed and asked me to disrobe. So I did, with the help of my husband. Because of my limited mobility, he goes with me everywhere. After he quickly undressed me, I was sitting in my wheelchair in my bra and Depends. Next, he helped me lay on the exam table. Then, the nurse left out of the room to get some supplies while my husband positioned himself beside me to hold my wobbly legs in place.

The nurse returned and removed my Depends

When the nurse returned, she covered me with a sheet and began to remove the rest of my clothes. After taking off my Depends, we all were shocked to discover I had pooped on myself.

My husband immediately wanted to stop the entire exam. He wanted to leave. But I, not realizing how bad it was, wanted to continue. Until, the nurse looked at me and said, “It is coming out!” I was so embarrassed. But there was nothing I could do.

I had lost control of my bowels

I had lost control of my bowels. Bowel and bladder issues are two of the main symptoms of people with multiple sclerosis. And both have definitely affected me. The nurse exited the room to get some wipes. A few minutes later, she reentered, looked under the sheet and began to clean me. She was very respectful. The whole situation was like a bad dream. I was thinking to myself, “Who does this happen to?”

After I was relatively clean, my husband and I began getting me dressed. I was moving quickly because I wanted to go home and wash up. As we were leaving the office, the nurse informed me that the doctor wanted to see me again in about a month.

Attending my rescheduled appointment

Six weeks later, at the rescheduled appointment, my shame was still plastered across my face. The doctor even commented on my facial expression. When he first walked into the room, he asked me why I looked so sad. I told him I was humiliated from our previous encounter. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “At least you have an excuse. I’ve had people have the same accident and they didn’t have any neurological impairment. Plus, we have seen worse. My nurse and I deal with a lot of situations during exams and deliveries. And believe me, when women have babies everything just comes out.”

Relief after a normal pelvic exam

I went on to have a normal pelvic exam. I left the doctor’s office happier and relieved with my head held up. It was good to hear what happened to me wasn’t so terrible. Even people who don’t have MS have experienced this. On the drive home, my husband still looked a little shaken after his first gynecologist experience. So, I said jokingly to him, “Maybe if I would have been having a baby, it would not have been so bad.”

And we both laughed.

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.


  • shim
    11 months ago

    I love you! Your attitude, yo got style hon! Your experience here is one I battle with. My pelvic exercises are laughed at. I lost my prostate to cancer and had no control over peeing, but after intense pelvic floor exercises I was almost normal with MS. Now, like you poop rules. And an alternative is constipation, like the ocean waves it becomes a soothing back and forth motion never knowing.

  • Monk
    3 years ago

    Thank You so much for your honesty and courage. Bowel incontinence is not talk about much in the MS world, it’s so embarrassing and when it’s not talked about it makes it more so.

  • gmc
    3 years ago

    I was an RN for 2+ decades before MS ended that. I tell you that to say I think a very large percentage of women over 40 or 50 have issues with continence. Thank you for sharing your story and thank God for incontinence products!
    (Hint: Always carry a change of clothing and baby wipes.)

  • Nicole Lemelle author
    3 years ago

    Now I do! You were a nurse far longer than I. You would have been prepared!

  • saddison
    3 years ago

    Thank you for having the courage to write about this subject. How many of us MSers skip GYN exams altogether just because of the difficulty of getting undressed and getting up on the exam table and into those stirrups. Asking our husbands to participate in that can seem like too much to ask. As for the bowel and bladder issues, most of us with advanced disease have experienced what you write about, perhaps just not so publically. lol Writing about it, lets others know they are not alone, and that this is a part of this disease, and that it is okay to talk about it in support of each other. BTW when will physicians have at least one exam table in their offices that lowers and raises so that people with limited mobility can access them? People with MS cannot be the only ones who are in need of such. I am convinced that the inability to get on and off the table makes people avoid health care, and that people in wheelchairs are given cursory physical exams by physicians because they must examine them in their chairs.

  • Nicole Lemelle author
    3 years ago

    Thanks for your response. Yes I wrote it because it was so incredible that all I could do is laugh after I got over the embarrassment. You brought up somethings I hadn’t even thought of.

  • Dimitri
    3 years ago

    Sometimes we just have to laugh and put things into perspective.

    I’m always amazed how thick skinned this disease has made me. I tell you, nothing fazes me anymore.

  • Nicole Lemelle author
    3 years ago

    That’s the response I was hoping for…laughter! Thanks for giving it to me!!!

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