A Butt Touch a Day Keeps the Doctor at Bay

Published: Oct 09, 2017

Hey! Glad I got your attention! Let’s talk real quick about our butts and how we can keep them healthy.

As wheelchair users, we’re on our butts a lot. I happen to be on mine right now! Crazy, right? Because we’re on our butts so much, there’s a higher risk of developing things like skin lesions and pressure sores.

Look, I have no real subtle way to say this so I’m just gonna be super blunt: Every time you shower, you need to examine / touch yo’ butt. Don’t let something like a skin lesion or pressure sore sneak up on you and cause a potentially fatal health complication.

And let me make things super clear (and kinda’ serious) here:

Complications due to pressure sores and skin lesions are painful, isolating and deadly. Pressure sores heal like burns: one layer at a time, which often means you’ll be put in the burn unit of a hospital due to their specialized treatment. Being in the burn unit of a hospital means stricter rules, less visitors and more intrusive monitoring due to the risks of further infections. You’ll have to have your wound painfully stripped of any dead material every few days. It can take months to heal. If the infections reaches your bloodstream, there’s a not‐insignificant chance you will die… slowly. I’ve lost friends due to pressure sores. Pressure sores they could have found and should have seen.

Okay, with that out of the way lets talk about the super easy way you can help prevent pressure sores from getting out of hand:

When you bathe, touch your butt. Check it for things like bruising, redness, discoloration, or abrasions. Also check it for inconsistencies in the density of the skin. Does an area feel stiff or almost fibrous? That may be the beginning of a pressure sore.

If you’re having trouble examining your butt (it is behind you after all), you can use a hand mirror or someone’s whose friendship you either value a lot or have decided to no longer value.

If you find anything that looks unusual, consult your doctor. They might recommend some pre‐emptive antibiotics and a seating evaluation to make sure the source of the problem isn’t the wheelchair itself.

If you want to reduce the risk of butt‐related health issues, make sure you bathe regularly (and clean your butt while doing so) and try to spend time in seats other than your wheelchair (if you are able).

A Quick Note

I completely and utterly understand that some disabled folk are going to get pressure sores no matter what they do. I’m not saying pressure sores are anyone’s fault and I’m not blaming anyone for any health‐related complications they may experience as a result of getting a pressure sore. For a lot of folks, pressure sores are just a part of life.

But for the those of us who are able to take preventative measures against pressure sores: touch your butt!