Book Appointment

💩 Things you can do to help with number 2!

Jun 16, 2023
Bowel Health

What is considered normal for bowel health and what can you do to improve yours?

Normal is considered having a bowel movement 3 times per day to 3 times per week and generally without difficulty. 

Constipation refers to a reduction in number of bowel movements per week from what is normal for you or pain or difficulty passing stool most of the time.

Why do we want to avoid straining to go?

Straining (especially holding your breath and bearing down) to have a bowel movement (or to do ANYTHING else) can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, contribute to urinary leakage and lead to pelvic organ prolapse (organs shifting out of place).

What can you do to avoid constipation and straining?

1. Try using a foot stool aka "squatty potty" under your feet to bring your knees above your hips.  Lean forward, resting your forearms on your thighs.  This position relaxes the pelvic floor muscles (they need to be relaxed to allow things through) and it straightens out the angle of the rectum, making it easier to go.

2. Consistently drink water throughout the day/stay hydrated!

3. Physical activity, especially movement of the trunk (as in walking), helps keep the bowels moving.

4. Dietary contributions!  You may need more or less fiber in your diet but check with your healthcare professional.

5. Don't hold your breath and bear down.  To help yourself along, take a deep breath in and audibly exhale with your mouth open, while gently bearing down as needed.  Pretend to blow bubbles or blow out a candle (exhaling audibly with mouth open).

6.  Try the abdominal massage!  This technique helps move stool and gas through the large intestine.  It can be done in any comfortable position, over clothes or over skin, with or without lotion, straight lines or circles.  This shouldn't hurt!  10 repetitions moving from the right hip up to the ribs, across to the left, and down to the left hip can be helpful.  

7. Whatever you do to help yourself have a better bowel movement (like the abdominal massage or using a footstool), try to do it everyday and around the same time of day.  The bowels like predictability, regularity and habit.  They may also take a while to respond to changes so stay consistent! 

Did you know?

Constipation can actually be a reason for pain with sex!  It can also contribute to urinary urgency and leakage.   All the more reason to stay on top of your bowel health.  

Conditions to see a pelvic floor physical therapist for regarding bowel health:


Pelvic organ prolapse

Fecal urgency

Fecal incontinence

Abdominal pain/discomfort

Pain with sex

Recovery from abdominal or bowel surgery

Ready to schedule an appointment?  Click below to get started today.

Get Started

Get my Guide to Better Bladder and Bowel Health plus information about peri and postmenopause by signing up below!

Don't worry, your information will not be shared and you can unsubscribe at any time! (But why would you want to? :)