Anal leak and OCD - wits end - don't know what's reasonable to do without destroying my lifeocd leak ibs
Posted 10 June 2020 - 10:30 AM
Hi. Sorry if I'm posting this in the wrong subforum. I'm at my wits end. Any help appreciated. I'm female and in my thirties. TL;DR: need advice and/or reassurance - what is reasonable to do when you find a spot of brown in your underwear, and how do you not let contamination OCD rule your life when you have an anal leak?
I have a small collection of digestive and bottom-related issues. I've had a small anal leak for a few years. In recent months I've also had a variety of symptoms which my doctor thinks may be caused by IBS. I've also had anxiety and contamination OCD for many years, both of which have been very high constantly for a few months now. It appears what I am really, scared of is poo - especially mine - which isn't very helpful when one has an anal leak.
The anal leak has never been very bad, and in the past couple of years I thought it was maybe gradually going away. For reference, it was normally the case that it seemed no fecal matter got to my underwear; there was only a bit on the paper if I wiped my bottom. I've long been in the habit of wiping my bottom every time I went to the loo so that I was sure I was clean as much as possible.
Then I got ill a few months ago (start of the IBS collection of problems), and since then the leak has been on-and-off back. Again, as far as I could tell, it didn't get to my underwear, and I've been trying a variety of things to help the leak go away with some inconsistent success. (One of these things is to use Uniroid cream on my external anal area twice daily.)
The problem is that because my anxiety/OCD has been incredibly high, having the anal leak has been a source of incredible stress for me. Sometimes I even get so down that I think about suicide just to make the problem go away (I'm not actively planning - the thought just pops into my head because I'm so sick of this problem and the stress it causes, and can't see an end to it).
I've found myself doing a lot of compulsive behaviours. Cleaning, changing underwear regularly even if no visible fecal matter, washing laundry, checking my underwear, etc etc. In the short term this eats masses of my time every day, and in the long run I know feeds the anxiety and makes it all worse in a vicious circle. I've been trying very hard to work on these things, but I can't win every battle: there are many every day and it's exhausting.
Today for the first time (that I can remember) I've found a tiny dot of brown in my underwear. I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't been inspired to look using my phone's flashlight. (It has occurred to me that I may have missed fecal matter getting to my underwear before, but I'm trying not to think about that too hard.) I was inspired to look because I thought there was some dampness between my butt cheeks and in the crease between the side of my leg and butt. (I've had the dampness in that crease before and it rarely is actually damp when I touch it with my fingers, and if it is - like today - it doesn't smell of anything and there's no colour/liquid to see on my fingers.) However, when I wiped my bottom there was nothing on the paper, so I don't know how the tiny dot of brown got onto my underwear. But it did.
My brain said that perhaps the fecal matter on my underwear had spread germs on my butt cheeks while I had been sitting down/walking around for a few hours. I wasn't sure what to do. I tried to strike a balance between getting clean and future anxiety management - I had already showered today and thought if I showered again, it would set a precedent for future where I HAD to shower every time I found a brown dot in my underwear, and I thought this may not be reasonable ((a) it's not always possible to shower, and ((b ) showering for me is quite a time consuming process). So I changed underwear and trousers, and I used a lot of bio-degradeable flushable wipes on my butt cheeks and the creases/tops of my legs. Tbh I'm not convinced it was more time-efficient than showering, but somehow the idea of showering also felt like it would have made the whole episode into a bigger deal and caused more anxiety in future.
I already sometimes anxiously/OCD-ly check my underwear for fecal matter because of my anal leak. Now I'm worried I'll check more often, and what if I find some more often? What is a reasonable thing to do to balance being clean and not feeding my anxiety? Please help. And if anyone has any reassurance/thoughts on how to deal with the contamination OCD aspect... I'd be grateful. I was going to post on an OCD forum but that website is down atm.
I read up on contamination OCD a few weeks ago and a quote stuck with me. "Trying to eliminate risk also eliminates your ability to function." That resonates with me - but what here is a good balance between being hygienic and still functioning/not spending my life reacting to fecal matter if it gets to my underwear again? (Or checking to see if it has)
PS: I have a therapist working with me at the mo for general anxiety and grief. I'm not pursuing an OCD therapist at present because I'd have to stop work with my current therapist, and sessions with her are beneficial in other ways.
Posted 11 June 2020 - 02:39 AM
I have OCD/ Anxiety and IBS both . My OCD is not related to my IBS but if there is one thing worse than IBS , its OCD/Anxiety.
I have been on prozac for the past 6 years and it has helped me keep my OCD in check. I see my psychiatrist regularly .
I would suggest you see a doctor for your OCD and take his/her advice on whether or not you need to go on medication . Before you start medication , you can also see if there are some anti anxiety herbs/yoga that can help you.
Workarounds till you get your anxiety/OCD /Anal leak in control : This is not a permanent solution and its not very environmental friendly , but you can try to wear a pad (maybe sanitary pad) or something similar so even if you do get a leak , it will only soil the pad and you can throw away the pad whenever you think you may have soiled it .
Wish you the very best
Posted 11 June 2020 - 04:19 AM
Hi Kenny. Thank you very much for your reply!
I started taking Sertraline a few months ago for my anxiety/OCD, but a few days into taking it I had really bad diarrhea - that episode is what started the IBS-type digestive issues (bloating, gas, more diarrhea, and generally seeming to be stuck on a gluten free/very limited diet to make those issues as less bad as possible) I've had since then. I can't seem to get those issues fully calmed down. The problem might not have been caused by the Sertraline - maybe I picked up a bug somewhere or something and it was just bad coincidence timing. But diarrhea is a possible side effect of Sertraline, so it might've been that. It's made me reluctant to re-try going back on those tablets, or any others. I keep thinking maybe I should try... I don't know.
You mention anti anxiety herbs - do you have any in mind / that you'd recommend? I don't know where to start with googling those.
Posted 11 June 2020 - 06:13 AM
Strange , my IBS symptoms also started about a month or so of starting prozac . I always wondered whether that caused it , but even when i had stopped the medication for a period of 6 -8 months in between , the IBS never went away. So I'm reeli not sure if that caused it.
There is a herb called "Ashwagandha" I'v been meaning to try but want to wait till i speak to my doctor first........