The start of a New Year is usually the time when people make resolutions for change, like working out more, losing weight or eating healthier. One goal I hope my patients shoot for is to have healthy, consistent bowel movements. Digestive issues such as constipation are common, and have probably affected us all at some point. Understanding proper bowel habits can help tremendously in achieving good bowel health. Below are a couple simple tips to help improve your bowel health, so that digestive issues won’t hold you back this new year.
Listen to your body: When you get the urge to go, go! Try not to hold the urge to have a bowel movement. Doing this over time can cause pelvic floor dysfunction, which may cause increased pressure, tension and pain into the pelvic floor.
Proper positioning: When you sit on the toilet, try to have your knees higher than your hips. If you need to, find a step stool, turn a trash can on its side or invest in a Squatty Potty. This position helps to optimize relaxation of the pelvic floor so stool can exit the rectum easier.
Lifestyle: Try to ensure you’re well hydrated and getting enough fiber. Daily movement, exercise and keeping stress in check also help to keep the bowels moving.
While the above steps are helpful, sometimes other issues can be causing difficulties with bowel movements. The pelvic floor can often be a factor in bowel dysfunction. A pelvic floor physical therapist is able to assess if part of your bowel difficulty is caused by your pelvic floor. Digestive issues are irritating, but there is help!
I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and happy bowel health!
- Michelle Webb
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About the Author
Hi! I’m Michelle Webb, Doctor of Physical Therapy at Webb Physical Therapy.
Since graduating from PT school in 2011, I have worked in many different areas of physical therapy, but it wasn’t until I started working with pelvic health that I found my true passion. I believe that each patient should be treated with a holistic, whole person approach to healing. Every person is unique, and I love helping my patients develop individualized treatment plans to help them achieve their specific goals. Too often, people are told that the pelvic health issues they are feeling (leaking urine/feces, pelvic pain, pain with intercourse/tampon use/speculums, pelvic heaviness, the list goes on and on) are normal, and something they have to deal with. While those issues may be common, I want to help everyone realize there is life outside of their symptoms! I truly feel joy when I can help someone improve their quality of life and return to the activities they love, without difficulty.