Probably not the first problem you’d think of for Pelvic Physical Therapy but actually if you really think about it, it makes sense! We work with the entire body, but have specialized training in the pelvis and the pelvic area is where digestion and pooping happens!
If you're having bowel problems like constipation, diarrhea, or going poop multiple times per day, you might have tried upping your fiber, doubling down on the water, or taking a laxative. But what we find is the problems are often more complex than this! Water and fiber (and a laxative once in awhile) can certainly help, but pooping is more than just this. Diet (including food intolerances), muscle function, organ function, and stress all affect how easily you can poop. If you're having trouble pooping or having diarrhea (often this is because there is stool backed up in your system), try some of these tips:
When you sit down on the toilet, give yourself TIME. We're often in a rush or stressed because of kids banging on the doors or little ones barging in (or needing to be there the whole time and crying to be on your lap!) Pooping requires relaxation and as moms who have responsibilities pulling us in all directions, it takes time to calm the nervous system and relax enough to poop. So, bring your phone and don't scroll, but put on a meditation or calming music, keep a book in the bathroom, and maybe get up before the kids (or get something to distract them so you can relax). I'm not a huge fan of screen time, but I have found that if it keeps my son distracted and allows me to poop, the pros for me outweigh the cons.
Prop your feet up on a stool, lean forward, and take deep breaths. In order to poop, we need the back part of the pelvic floor, where the anus is, to relax. The best way for this to happen is to have the ribs and mid back (where your back bra line is) expand as you breathe in. This allows the whole back through the mid back, low back, and tailbone expand and relax and signals to the brain that it can relax the anus. You'll want to breathe like this, allowing your belly to fill with air as well for several minutes or until you can feel the poop ready to exit. Then (and only then!) it's okay to give a little 'push,' but make sure you exhale as you push. This whole relaxation and pushing can be a bit tricky, especially if you've had problems pooping for awhile! The brain gets used to the tension and strain and is slow to change lanes. If you need more guidance with this, download our Relax Your Pelvic Floor Guide for more tips!
Consider your sugar intake. IK IK. But sugar slows your digestive track and can make it hard to pass stool, so if you're having trouble with constipation, this is one of the first parts of your diet to investigate. Choose dark chocolate instead of milk (the magnesium in chocolate can help with constipation too!), check the labels on your food, and grab a piece of fruit with some nut butter for a quick snack.
If you’re still having trouble after trying these tips, don’t give up. You may need to investigate how the abdominal muscles are working (tight ones can restrict the movement of poop), how well the pelvic floor muscles are relaxing, and see if there are any restrictions in your small intestine or colon! You deserve to poop easily on a daily basis. We will show you how.