How to have the perfect poo!

15th May 2019

Bowel dysfunction is a classic silent problem, and nothing causes more misery in people’s lives than bowel issues. Whether it be constipation, incomplete emptying, fecal incontinence (poor ability to control bowel movements), poor control over wind, rectal prolapse, hemorrhoids (piles), pain from anal fissures (a tear in the lining of the anal canal), or a collection of these; it remains to be a very difficult topic to open up about even with loved ones.

For that reason, we would like to talk more about the benefits of a regular happy bowel movement and how to achieve it. We all feel better for it, it can help to treat prolapse symptoms, improve bladder urgency and urinary leakage.  

Here are the 3 Top Tips we would like to share with you or more the 3 ‘P’s’ we like to live by: Position, Patience & ‘Pushing.’

1.Position

Nature intended us to squat behind a tree which means our knees are higher than our hips. The rectum is like waterslide with a kink, once your knees are up, you unkink the waterslide, which makes bowel emptying easier. Use a stool, a box or we’ve even had patient's recommend using high heels!

(Photo credit: Evidently Cochrane)

2.Patience

You need patience. You can’t just empty the tap. You don’t need to sit on the loo reading the paper for hours on end, just enough time to not rush the process and allow yourself to fully relax. Always wait until you ‘feel the call’ and if you possibly can, don’t delay ‘answering’. 

Take your time, rest, relax and naturally empty your bowel. If you rush you may not empty your bowels effectively. A little like squeezing the toothpaste tube from the top.

3.Pushing (Or as we like to phrase ‘to push or not to push’)

We tell all our patients not to push in a traditional way! Take a gentle breath, and gently bear down. DO NOT STRAIN! If you can only empty your bowels effectively with straining, go and see your GP or see a pelvic health physio for a pelvic assessment.

And finally, it’s good to always be aware of your stool and what they look like. The Bristol Stool Chart is the best point of reference and one we use every day.

The optimal stool is around a type 4 on the Bristol Stool Chart. If the stool formation is not optimal, we will work with you until we achieve a more optimal stool as it is key for good pelvic health, which is important considering how miserable incontinence is! 

If you feel as though your bowel's are unhappy or have noticed anything unusual for you, please speak to your GP for advice and a check. We have a number of women's health physiotherapists here that are able to check female pelvic health if you'd prefer to see one of the team.

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