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From the Archives: A Guide to Shitting Your Pants

A friend on Facebook made mention of having a potty emergency, and, although I'm not sure what type of potty emergency it was, it inspired me to revisit this post from 2009:

"Last night a colleague of mine posed the question: is it possible to shit your pants with a solid poop instead of diarrhea? In other words, does self defecation necessitate the runs?

In my experience, while more often than not accidents do involve the loosies, I do recall pooping a normal poop in my pants, or at least it started coming out that way. In the end, if you're pooping in your pants it's going to get squished. This brought about a discussion on the best type of underwear to be donning at the time of an unfortunate "incident." It got me going on a bit of an advice kick, so here I present a few tips on what to expect when shitting your pants.

Obviously if you find yourself in this, er, shituation, you'll want to get yourself to a place where you can clean up and put the whole event behind you as fast as possible, as discreetly as possible. Taking even the simplest precautions can better prepare you for an unlikely and unpleasant experience such as crapping your pants.

I find it best to be wearing snug underwear and slightly loose pants when losing my bowels. Tight undies will help contain the mess, which is important when trying to act casual. Thongs are not your friend! If your doo-doo does escape the first layer of protection provided by your drawers then loose fitting pants should be your next line of defense because they're less likely to give you away with big stains (the logic being that the fabric is farther from your skin, whereas if you were wearing leggings as pants everyone could tell from the rapidly spreading brown stain that you shat yourself). Obviously you shouldn't let your wardrobe be dictated by your shit, but if you happen to be mid-flare or in any situation where you think the risk of a blow-out is higher than usual, you may want to give this some consideration.

Regardless of your attire it is never fun or comfortable to poop yourself. You're probably going to have to run somewhere to take care of the situation and that will just smear the poop all over your butt cheeks, genitals, and maybe even down your legs... and it doesn't stay warm for long. In addition to considering your wardrobe you should probably take care to have a wetnap on you at all times, and stow a spare pair of pants wherever is convenient. I  keep pants and underwear in my desk at work, the LAST place you want to be when shitting your britches!

An additional word to the wise: try not to panic. I know it's hard not to when you start to feel the tell-tale pangs of imminent self-defecation, but try to breathe. I was stuck on the subway the other morning and started to cramp up, but I began taking deep yogic breaths and the anxiety soon passed and with it went the cramps. There is no surefire way to avoid the pants-pooping that is bound to happen at some point in a lifetime of IBD, but I find trying to keep my stress down increases my chances of making it to the bathroom.

One last tip before signing off: the worst and most common part of the self defecation experience is shame. Don't forget, LOTS of people shit themselves, and you'd be surprised how few of them have an excuse like IBD. I cannot reiterate the importance of not feeling shamed. I've claimed "morning sickness" to use a public bathroom before because I was embarrassed to explain that I had a poop-inducing disease. It's certainly much easier for people to wrap their heads around, but I've resolved to be more honest. In the future I hope to have the nerve to say: "I have colitis. I can poop in your bathroom, or I can poop on your floor."

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