Worried/embarrassed : Not sure if I'm being silly... - Headway


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Not sure if I'm being silly but twice today I have now had accident (bowel movement) with out even knowing, not sure if that's something to worry about

10 Replies


The lack of nerve action left you out of the loop when a bodily function happened. Check with prodding various spots on the skin to explore the brain connection to nerves - whether you have good nerve feedback in your upper legs, lower back, gluteus muscles and pubic area. Best to do it after a warm bath / shower so you know you have good circulation. Make a note of any areas that felt weird / numb. There is a nerve that runs down the back of the descending colon that tells us when its time to do a no. 2. I'm guessing that brain nerve connection in your body did not work on the day you describe.

That does not mean it wont work in future. It could be a response to medication or supplements you have taken which are working on the brain chemistry and temporarily disabled the nerve feedback. If you ate something funny, or did an unusual amount of exercise, or did something different or unusual for you, then note that down too.

With all that info, if you are still worried and it is a persistent change, have a chat with the doctor to see if they have any ideas.

The spinal nerves can affect organ malfunction if the bones are not aligned correctly so if your hips and back are out of alignment or even just your neck, your bowels will be responding in a chaotic way accordingly.

As for embarrassment, thank your body for showing you that there is something that needs to change or not be repeated. It is a highly sensitive chemical balance after BI and any number of small things can upset that delicate balance. Be gentle with yourself.

Best wishes.

Hi Beany, you are not alone. I too have oops moments.

Mine started three months post stroke. I did approach the GP and the rehab service, they couldn't find a reason why this was occurring.

I am double incontinent, as for pee, there seems to be a constant leak, but if I dose off, then sometimes whoosh, sometimes not.

As for poop, no rhyme or reason, sometimes it is a single event, others maybe three or four times.

I do get the usual urges, but sometimes I just don't get a warning, sometimes I know it has happened, others, it is a slow realisation.

At first I would only take precautions when leaving the house (inco pad) but now it is 24/7. It's not what I would choose, but it is what it is. Life goes on regardless.

I hope you do get some answers, but it isn't so bad in the scheme of things.

It has produced some comedy moments, of pads escaping at the least opportune moment, again something I am not always aware of. But having that moment of realisation, do I shake it down or do I subtly attempt to retrieve it. I've got very good at sweetly smiling at people as if it is perfectly normal.

When I attended Headway, I was far from the only one with the problem, but it is a safe environment where it is normal, and we all had our comedy moments.

Just thinking there is a condition that is called "high impact constipation", this is where you get a consolidation higher up the bowel. You generally won't feel this, unlike when the impact is lower near the anus.

Both forms cause what is known as overflow, where there is a build up more liquid matter, this will eventually find a way round the blockage under pressure. High impact constipation can be seen on x-ray and on ultrasound examination.

I nursed a fella that suffered with this, and the treatment wasn't pleasant for us, as it increased overflow, but he was the happiest bloke when it was finally resolved.

The first sign to look for, or smell for, as the breath is a good indication.

Good luck, let us know what the outcome is (sorry about the phrase)

Pair of boots you may find the below links of interest. Did you explore resetting the autonomic nervous system? Best

RecoveringH, I would say what I ended up saying to a couple of incontinence nurses, but I know you mean well. This is now nearly ten years post, and as a former RN, I'd sooner part on pleasant terms.

No worries Pairofboots. As you say, the intention to be helpful was clearly off the mark. Best wishes.

RecoveringH, no your intentions were well meant. I didn't mean to offend, but that is a problem with BI, what we say, sometimes doesn't come across as intended. You are a good person, and try to help, which is what this forum is about.

Keep helping, kind regards.


This webpage provides information for medics on faecal incontinence.


Unfortunately, it does not include the most obvious one for me, to reset the autonomic nervous system using polyvagal theory, to see if that resolves it. The idea behind this is that the trauma experienced through a brain injury can put our bodies into a suspended animation mode to protect us from feeling the full trauma but also because it becomes a habit to be in this state and then we forget we are in it and are unable to navigate out of it by ourselves.

Good books to read on Neuroscience & Healing Trauma

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma

by Bessel Van Der Kolk

Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma

by Peter Levine

Nurturing Resilience: Helping Clients Move Forward from Developmental Trauma

by Kathy Kain and Stephen Terrell

Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve

by Stanley Rosenberg

The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe

by Stephen Porges

Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection: 50 Client-Centered Practices

by Deb Dana

Here is Peter Levine in 7 minutes discussing how to feel safe.


Here is a pdf which talks about operant conditioning as an approach to incontinence.


Conclusion reads

The concepts of stress response have evolved during recent decades from the mechanistic view of homeostatic feedback regulation to dynamic models of adaptive feed forward regulatory processes with emphasis on complex evaluation of developmental, psychophysiological, social, and behavioral aspects. Novel insights from the Adaptive Calibration Model offer a rigorous theoretical background in the study of the interindividual differences in the stress responsivity, underlying physiological mechanisms and the specific risk of stress related disorders. Importantly, detailed knowledge of the organism's regulatory pathways allows the application of evidence based practice in the therapy of pathological states related to excessive exposure to stress. One of the most promising nonpharmacological methods in this field is the application of the biofeedback training strategies, which can represent a valuable tool in the treatment of stress-related diseases, particularly in the disorders of arousal. The findings summarized in this review could help to better understand the theory and possible clinical application of the novel models of stress response

Hiya Beany43.

I had bowel problems for a good year+ after my bleed.. I’ve been lucky not to have any problems since

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