By Dr. Brooke Meinema, DPT, FAFS The pelvic floor consists of a group of muscles…
By Dr. Brooke Meinema, DPT, FAFS
Now to the part many people don’t necessarily discuss bowel habits! If you missed part one click here to read about bladder habits.
Let’s start with the ideal position for defecating. When someone struggles with defecating, one of the first things I want to discuss is toilet posture. The ideal position for defecating is having the knees elevated and feet flat resting on a surface. There are different products on the market (i.e. Squatty Potty) that can help with finding the optimal angle for defecating. The angle your hips are at allows a muscle in your rectum to relax creating greater ease for defecating. If your hips are at a 90-degree angle (or even more if you have a raised toilet seat) this allows a muscle to compress on the rectum requiring more straining.
Fecal incontinence is estimated to affect 1 in 10 people (yes, that many people are dealing with this!). One of the things to begin focusing on is bulking up your stool. Looser stools are more difficult to control and have an easier time leaking out (check out the Bristol Stool Scale to help you determine if your stool is a normal consistency). Looking at your diet for common triggers can be a great place to start. Another factor can be pelvic floor strength: if your muscles are weak or are having a hard time reading the cues your body is giving it, controlling the leaking is made much more difficult. Seeing a pelvic PT can be a helpful place to start to discuss this.
Constipation can lead to great difficulty with bowel movements. Ideally, everyone would have normal bowel movements once a day, but a normal range is considered to be from 3 times a day to once every 3 days. While everyone has their own normal, major variability in their normal frequency can be more of a concern than the frequency you go. Increasing hydration, increasing movement throughout the day, improving your posture, working on reducing tension in your pelvic floor, and trying to create a routine surrounding defecating can help reduce constipation.
Some women who feel they strain with defecating may benefit from a technique called splinting. This is when you insert a clean finger (or product/splint) into the vagina to apply pressure to the perineum (the wall between the vagina and rectum) to guide the stool out.
Different products for this:
Intimate Rose pelvic wand (code BROOKE7)
That was a lot of information! Some of this can be overwhelming and difficult to sift through. If you feel you need more help in addressing your specific needs, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our women’s health physical therapists are always happy to talk through your specific needs and set you on the right path. For a free 10-minute consultation, visit us at https://imovedaily.com/womens-health/ and fill out the form to contact a Women’s Health Physical Therapist and schedule your consultation.