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Incontinence - TMS?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by CD1984, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. CD1984

    CD1984 New Member


    10 years ago I had classic back and shoulder pain and after 3 years of misery and going through the usual route of conventional and unconventional medicinez I found Dr Sarno's books and was cured in two weeks and have remained so ever since.

    I now have a new issue and would like some support from the forum on whether or not this could be another manifestation of TMS. Sorry about the details (TMI) but I feel they are necessary for the support.

    Three rears ago I had food poisoning that lasted for 5 weeks and had excessive diarreah. The diarreah passed but since then I have always had some anal irritation and have had some mild fecal incontinence (staining more than anything). This is on an almost daily basis.

    I often feel the muscles tight in this area like I need to stop myself from going....

    I had full bowel scan (colonoscopy) which showed no issues and next stage is to see a colorectal surgeon....

    Has anyone ever had these symptoms as TMS and have they managed to deal with them? I know that IBS is mentioned in Sarno's books but I am not sure whether incontinence could also be a symptom.

    Obviously I have the anxiety etc over this issue now and it can be all consuming like the back pain was....

    Thanks for any help

  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome to the forum Chris - and I think you're in the right place with the right question.

    This is a distressing symptom following what sounds like a really nasty experience! The great news is that you've been properly checked out and they can't find anything wrong - which of course is the first clue that the TMS mechanism is at work - as you already know. And, just like with back and shoulder pain, the medical community will offer you a possible surgical solution... which of course you would like to avoid, and fortunately your TMS success in the past is there to tell you that maybe there's another path. Hooray for that!

    I might not tell you anything you haven't thought about during the last three years, but perhaps a fresh look at all of the evidence pointing to TMS will be helpful.

    1. As Dr. Sarno and every other TMS doctor remind us, our bodies were meant to heal, but our minds are perfectly capable of continuing to give us symptoms for no physiological purpose whatsoever.

    2. I'm a tax accountant, not a doctor, but is there a physiological reason why five weeks of excessive diarrhea would cause permanent damage to the muscles that are designed to "keep it in"? This would appear to be as mysterious as having back pain on one vertebrae when the disk bulge is on a completely different vertebrae, as seen by lots of back doctors.

    3. I always refer back to the classic example of phantom limb pain - a phenomenon accepted by all medical professionals, still a mystery to many, but not a mystery to neuroscientists or anyone in the TMS world. There's a great Ted Talk with the neuroscientist who came up with the "mirror treatment" for PLP - which is so well known that it was featured in an episode of Grey's Anatomy several years ago. The point being that phantom limb pain is a classic example of how our brains will maintain neurological pathways and keep producing symptoms when the physical source or reason for the symptom is long gone.

    4. It can't hurt to treat this as TMS - and the only cost might be an additional book or program - but there are a ton of free resources which you can find by perusing this forum (especially the Success Stories subforum).

    I highly recommend that you look into the most recent work of Dr. Howard Schubiner on the neuroscience of TMS - I think he has switched to calling it MBS (Dr. Sarno himself apparently was saying in his later years that TMS should really refer to The Mindbody Syndrome because it goes far beyond muscle tension):
    https://www.unlearnyourpain.com/ (home)

    You might also want to do Alan Pain Gordon's Recovery Program here on the forum, since you already have a good basis in TMS theory and success.

    Good luck!

    AnonymousNick likes this.
  3. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    Sarno definitely thought IBS was an equivalent of TMS and perhaps your incontinence is just a "milder" version of it. It's strange that I hear it called fecal incontinence just now, because it sounds like I've had it myself and never thought of it like that. It was only one of my woeful symptoms though so "leaky butt syndrome" was just a relatively minor insult at the time. That's not to diminish your issue though as I know how embarrassing it is, as well as the kind of health anxiety any symptom can bring up. It sounds as though the food poisoning (which I've also had) may have led to you getting fixated on your bowel this time rather than your back. You've got a clean colonoscopy so it wouldn't hurt to start thinking about issues in your life that might have cropped up in the last three years. When I first got your symptom I was in my mid-twenties working as a camp counselor and exhausted by kids and fellow counselors alike (probably more the latter...)
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  4. CD1984

    CD1984 New Member

    Jan and Nick

    Thank you both very much for your responses. It is wonderful that forums like this exist.

    I have my doubts about the TMS/MBS here as:

    1. there is no physical pain (well certainly not like the back and shoulder pain I had); and
    2. The symptoms are not really "moving around" (other than I sometimes have a lot of gas/wind). When I had back pain I had shoulder pain and it moved around constantly.
    3. I have not seen fecal incontinence referenced expressly in any of the TMS literature (more just IBS)

    Nick - If I may ask were your IBS issues occurring at the same time as the back pain or were they seperate issues? How did you get over them? I used a "It is only TMS ignore the pain and it will go away" mantra last time, but find that hard to apply when I have no physical pain this time around.

    Kind regards

  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    1. Irrelevant - it is well known and accepted in the TMS community (including Dr. Sarno in his later years) that the syndromes we refer to as TMS in honor of Dr. Sarno actually encompass far more symptoms than straight-up pain. Never forget that your brain is in charge of ALL physiological processes - including sphincter function.

    2. Don't let your brain dupe you into obsessing over this. For one thing, this is a common experience for someone going through the early stages of learning about TMS, so it's not even relevant to your current situation. For another thing, it might be a common experience, but nothing in the TMS world is universal.

    3. Your brain is really good at creating a symptom custom-designed just for you to obsess about. GI symptoms that can't be explained by the medical community are HUGE in the world of TMS and the variations are too numerous to count. Nick has given you excellent and relevant information in answer to your request - don't write it off just because your fearful primitive brain thinks it's not a perfect match to your symptoms!

    In other words, Chris, when you say "[Yes, but] I have my doubts about the TMS/MBS..." this is your brain on TMS.

    I have been known to call it The "Yes, But..." Syndrome.

  6. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Wipe more often. I had something sort of similar where I kept feeling the urge to pee, but it went away after a week or so.

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