Bowel Retraining
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Bowel Retraining

Sometimes issues with the bowels can be helped with control of the pelvic floor muscles.


Things That Can Affect Our Bowels

  • Stress
  • Some foods
  • Fluid intake
  • Activity level
  • Straining
  • Medications
  • Some diseases
  • Damage during vaginal delivery


Desired Bowel Function

  • Normal range is 3x/day to 3x/week
  • Want minimal effort and minimal straining to empty
  • Stools should be soft and well formed
  • Should feel an urge and be able to determine if air, solid or liquid
  • Should be able to hold your stool until on the toilet


Are you Having Bowel Evacuation Issues?

Do you have TWO or more of the following at least 25% of the time in the last three months?

  • straining
  • hard stool
  • incomplete emptying
  • less than 3 BMs/week


A rectocele can be caused by chronic straining and constipated stool, and can also interfere with normal emptying.


FIBRE: 25-35g/day

  • Found in the food we eat
  • Little is digested, stays in the stool
  • Makes hard stool softer/bulkier- drink extra water
  • Makes soft stool firmer- acts as a sponge


Healthy Bowel Habits

  • 25-35g of fibre/day
  • Are you drinking enough water?
  • Are you exercising?
  • Avoiding irritants like caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol?
  • Pelvic floor exercises


Position for Bowel Movements

      1. Elevate feet above hip level
      2. Lean forward with a straight back
      3. Breathe through pursed lips
      4. Keep your pelvic floor and lower abs relaxed once the BM has started
      5. Can turn trunk clockwise at the end of the BM to encourage further emptying


Squatty Potty

Pooping in the natural squat position opens the colon to make elimination faster, more complete, and reduces straining. Squatting rather than sitting could help prevent things like constipation, hemorrhoids and pelvic organ prolapse.


Elevation Physiotherapy & Wellness :: Bowel Retraining to Address Recurring Constipation and DiarrheaSquatty Potty: Turn That Frown Upside Down!

Your Partner in Pelvic Health

Elevation Physiotherapy & Wellness is an excellent place to start addressing your problem. Many people have heard of Kegel exercises, but they are not appropriate for everyone and many people perform them incorrectly.  It is very important to seek care from an experienced clinician trained in this area, who can do an internal exam to assess your muscle strength and look at other tight or weak tissues that contribute to your problem.  Internal palpation is the gold standard of care, and we are sensitive to the fact that it can be difficult for some people to be comfortable with this. We will discuss our plan of action with you before initiating treatment.


At Your First Appointment

We will send you a form for you to describe your issue and return prior to being seen for your first appointment. This completed form allows the physiotherapist to effectively prepare further questions and plan what to focus on first.


Your physiotherapist will need a very detailed history of your issue, and will then start a physical examination of the joints, muscles and connective tissue of your pelvis, lower back and hips.  Most of the time, this assessment will include an internal exam to evaluate the pelvic floor muscles and other tissues in that area, since these muscles are only accessible internally.  If an internal exam can’t be tolerated initially, we can start treatment by focusing more externally and progress to internal work as you can.


On the initial visit, you’ll spend about one hour with your physiotherapist, and together you will discuss your goals of treatment and devise a plan to get there!


Your Pelvic Health Treatment

Your treatment will include education about your problem, and may also include manual therapy (hands-on work by your Physiotherapist), and performance of specialized exercises designed to help with pelvic floor problems.  Some people may benefit from a muscle stimulation machine to help you get your pelvic floor muscles functioning properly, or a biofeedback machine to ensure proper contraction and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscle group.


You Will Have Homework!

At Elevation Physiotherapy & Wellness, we will devise a personal home program for you to work on daily between appointments to efficiently address your concerns.  It will not take you more than 10 minutes at a time, and practicing these focused exercises regularly will allow for progressions to be made each time you see your Physiotherapist.


Contact Us to Book an Appointment

If you’re suffering from bowel or another type of pelvic health issue, we’d love to provide the treatment you need! Please contact our office to book an appointment, or simply fill in our form and we’ll get in touch with you.