Thank you to everyone who was willing to share their storiy. They gave me the courage to contribute here. I am a 46 year old male and I have suffered from chronic constipation since early childhood and the cause is not mysterious. I was born with a neurogenic bowel and bladder defect so bowel function has never been normal for me. My chlldhood was filled with painful enemas. But what is most depressing for me right now is that I have to regularly disimpact my rectum of hard, dry, stool. It is just that bad and needless to say it does not make me feel very good about myself. I certainly do not feell very ‘sexy’. While I could elaborate on endless details about my how this has affected my life I will just summarize by saying that in addition to the physical discomfort an never ending malaise caused by chronic constipation, I feel that the ‘social’ costs have been the most bothersome.
This begins with the observation that there is basically noone to talk to about this problem simply because noone really wants to discuss it. Physicians are quite dismissive and will just give you the standard recommendations of more water, fiber, exrcise, etc. None of these things have ever had a noticable impact on my situation. There is no ‘remedy’ for someone with nerve damage. Its likely that most physicians have no idea what its like to live day to day and be this constipated. The fact is that I feel really different than other people and not able to take care of yourelf in a very basic way. I find this very alienating, My wife is very suportive but that dosen’t seem to help how I feel. Unless by some miracle I happen to meet someone on this site (frankly, I can’t imagine how we would ever ‘connect’) I am likely to keep feeling pretty lonely. And yes…I’ve been to therapy. I’ve been going for years. At least this forum seems like a step in the right direction.
I have essentially remained chronically constipated by default since lack of normal nerves and poor bowel control when combined with laxitives, too much fiber, medications, etc. just cause too much unpredicatbiltiy for me. I simply do not have enough time to get to the toilet in the case of an emergency and since I have never had any kind of bowel schedule, I never know how and hen my body will react. Sometimes I am afraid of accidents or not being near a toilet so I just cancel plans or have a tendancy to stay home way more than I would if I didn’t have this problem, It seems as though plenty of people in this forum suffer this dilemma as well. It seems that I only have the choice of these two extremes: unbelievable constipation requiring manual disimpaction or unpredictable gas, cramps and loss of control leading to an accident.
For these reasons, having a bowel problem causes me a lot of complicated feelings. When it comes right down to it, I really don’t want to discuss this topic at all. However, as sufferers on this forum would know, I NEED to talk about it. But mainly, there is noone to talk about it with anyway. For me, these are the social complexities related to having a bowel problem. I’m not sure I will ever feel that mentally comfortable with any of it. And I feel like I’ve really tried. I really know how it is and my compassion goes out to everyone on this forum.