bowel movements

Why I Get Up at 4-5AM During the Week

It’s sweat…not pee…on arm day

It’s sweat…not pee…on arm day

Girl, let me tell you.

If it were not for my morning routine, I would not have the energy to be on top of my “A-game” for my husband, boys or my patients.

I need my early morning wake up to get dressed, brew my cup of coffee, and chug my water before leaving for the gym. And this might be a little too much info, but my bowels are now trained to have a bowel movement before I leave the house. Then I get in my car, sip my coffee and listen a podcast during my 18-20 minute commute to Burn Boot Camp. If for some reason I am unable to make it to a morning class, I will walk the treadmill in my basement or hit up an evening class.

I am obsessed with Burn Boot Camp and the way I feel afterwards, but mostly pumped about my tribe. The community of ladies are such a JOY to be around at the crack of dawn. It sounds crazy, like we are all crazy, haha, but everyone is cheering each person on and helping them do a little better than last time they came in. Most mornings I am in the class lifting weights or running cardio routines, while busting a move or singing a tune because girl, 90s and 2000s Hip Hop can’t keep my body from finding a beat.

I get back in the car after jamming out to Salt-n-Pepa or Little Wayne and I am on FIRE! I am loving life, excited about my day, excited to see my boys and I listen to another podcast on the way home to KEEP me fired up for life.

When I get home, I am still on my endorphin high. I do my gratitude journaling, make my handsome hubby a coffee for the road, finish up lunches for my boys, and look at my schedule for the day/ check emails to see if anyone has rescheduled before I hop in the shower.

Now, I am by nature, a morning person. Always have been. The early bird gets the worm, right?!

My routine gives me exactly what I need to tackle my day with having my exercise, journaling and a little coffee and podcast time.

This use to feel like a chore, having to set my alarm and make myself go to the gym. I would hit snooze and then hate how I felt the rest of the day AFTER I missed my opportunity to work out. Now, after 60 days of getting up early, it is no biggie and I will not hit snooze because I don’t want to feel anything but my best.

Do you have a morning routine? Have you shared your routine with a friend to keep you accountable? Do you have a workout buddy?

If not, think about that for a minute and think how you could implement that into your day. How would it improve your day? week? month?

Let’s Talk About Toilet Time

Hey girl!!

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

Quick Links on Amazon:

Squatty Potty: 1 (https://amzn.to/2MAcEUn ), 2(https://amzn.to/2S5f42z)

*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

 

The Scoop on Poop

Everyone poops.  This is a discussion I had with my 4 year old recently.  He was avoiding going "number 2", until we were getting home at the end of the day. 

We discussed how everyone poops.  Mommy poops.  Daddy poops.  Grandmas and Grandpas poop. His teachers at school poop.  His daycare lady poops.  All the kids he is around all day poop etc.  We talked about the different places people go too.  He seemed shocked that people would poop outside of their house.  I tried to explain, when your body is telling you it needs to get something out, aka for him a belly ache, then you need to listen and go to the bathroom instead of waiting all day and being miserable.  (As this can cause some pelvic problems down the road)

This is often a similar discussion with my patients.  Bowel movements are often a topic with pelvic patients, as the organs are supported by the pelvic floor muscles.  Constipation and frequent bowel movements can both cause pelvic floor issues so it is best to address them when treating pelvic floor symptoms.

Poop kind of has a bad reputation, which is sad, because it can tell you a lot about your health.  So before you flush after your next BM (bowel movement), be sure to take a glance inside the toilet and just see what your poop is telling.  Yes, I said check out your poop!  

Your poop has gone on quite a trip to end up in the toilet.  Remember, at one point, that poop was food.  The salad you ate last night went into your mouth and started the digestion process with chewing (side note: try chewing 20-30 times with each bite to help with digestion).  When you swallowed, it ended up in your stomach where it continued to break down with acids and other organs helped with this process.  The nutrients of your dinner are absorbed in the small intestine. Then your salad became waste product as it reached the colon to begin it's journey of leaving the body.  When stool reaches your rectum, you get a signal from your brain that something is about to exit and make an appearance.  It is best not to hold back your poop, but to take the time to sit down on the toilet, with your knees slightly above your hips (squatty pottys), to have a nice relaxing bowel movement (breathing and "shhhhh-ing" are great tips to help with the relaxation).

400px-BristolStoolChart.png

So what does healthy poop look like?  I get this question a lot and most people are surprised there are many types of poop, 7 according to the Bristol Stool Scale :). You want to strive for a Type 3 or 4. If you are more type 1 or 2 it is a sign of constipation, and adding water and/ or fiber can improve this.  If you are a type 5, 6 or 7 regularly, you may have an issue with absorption or have an infection. 

Color of poop is another thing to pay attention to as it can tell you what is going on with your organs.  Poop also gets it's color from your food so don't be too alarmed it if changes red when you eat too many beets or cranberries! Poop should be a nice milk chocolate type of color.  If it is a black, tar like color it can be a sign of bleeding so consulting a physician to rule things out is a good idea.  Stools green/ yellow in color can mean you are eating a good amount of green things or a sign of gallbladder issues.  If you are starting a diet, don't be shocked to have a variety of colors when you glance in the toilet. 

Last one, should your poop float or sink like the Titanic?  Floating poop can be a sign you have too much fat (bad fat) in your diet or issues with your liver or gallbladder.  Cutting back on pizza and fast food may give you a successful poop sink in the toilet.