Are you like me?
When I was a kid, I had the hardest time pooping in a public restroom or anywhere other than my bathroom at my parent’s house.
I remember being away for a basketball camp and sharing a bathroom with 4 close friends and I would have such terrible stomach pains, because I wouldn’t poop the whole time we were there. I would sneak away to find a one toilet restroom where I could cover my ears and try to focus on me and relieving my pain. But it just wouldn’t work.
Fast forward quite a few years, and now I’m a mom and have 3 kids and RARELY do I get a FREE moment to go poop without someone screaming at me, pulling my hair, wanting to nursing etc. My hunky, husband on the other hand, gets like 20 minutes of peace and quiet a few times a day to let if all out.
Anyways, lots of us are dealing with bowel issues: constipation, IBS, hemorrhoids or diverticulitis etc and they can be all be caused from poor toileting techniques.
Girl we are so lucky to have indoor plumbing in this country and since it has been around, we have been sitting on cold toilet seats to have bowel movements. Before that, we would squat to eliminate our feces . In other countries people still continue to squat to have bowel movements and with that they have lower rates of the above bowel issues.
So how can we improve your time on the toilet?
Putting something under your feet while sitting on a toilet, can help "un-kink" your hose, the pelvic floor muscle that wraps around the rectum. This could be a squatty potty ($25) (click here for 1 squatty potty on amazon: https://amzn.to/2MAcEUn or if you need 2 squatty potties, click here ($40): https://amzn.to/2S5f42z), child’s step stool ($10.50) (https://amzn.to/2SbSbKL), old phone books….the list can go on and on. There is a pelvic floor muscle that kinks your rectum when sitting and standing. When you sit with your knees above your hips (feet resting on something), you unkink the hose and the feces can move more smoothly out of your body. Once your feet are resting on something and your knees are slightly above your hips, you can rest your arms on your thighs/ knees and slightly lean forward to create a little more space for stool to exit your body.
Avoid straining. My mom would ask us to hoover over the public toilet seat like Marty McFly from Back to the Future so we wouldn’t touch all it’s grossness. If you are like me, you can remember how challenging it was to pee in a half squatted position. I would hold my breath and push to pee. Now that I am in my speciality, I know this is a no-no. Straining or bearing down, causes increased pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, which can put you at risk for hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, constipation, pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic floor dysfunction. Just breathe while sitting on the toilet in your new "squat" position and things should move out easily. And, layer up that toilet seat with tons of toilet paper so you can sit down. If you are in a public place, or a hotel room, grab the trash can, turn it on it’s side, and use it as a stool to help you.
Give yourself more than 2 minutes to have a bowel movement. I feel like as mom, I am rushed to take care of my business. I need to get in and out as fast as I can, to save my screaming child. I also find it difficult to relax when this is playing out. When we feel stressed like this, it is hard for our muscles to relax and we are prone to straining with bowel movements. Act more like our male friends (sorry men). They take their sweet time in the bathroom and relax and read etc. More like what we should be doing. If you do not have a bowel movement after 9-10 minutes of sitting on the toilet, than you are not ready. Get up and walk around and try again later.
– Amanda Fisher, PT, DPT
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*This blog is here for your help. It is the opinion of a Licensed Physical Therapist. If you experience the symptoms addressed you should seek the help of a medical professional who can diagnose and develop a treatment plan that is individualized for you. If you enjoyed this blog, check out our website at www.empoweryourpelvis.com. Follow us on YouTube @AmandaFisher or Instagram @empoweryourpelvis