It is something we have all experience at some point in our lives. Constipation is when you have difficulty emptying the bowels because of hard stool. Constipation can be associated with gas, abdominal bloating and/or pain and hard stool.
Constipation can be intermittent or chronic. When constipation becomes chronic there are typically 2 reasons this can be happening aside from serious bowel obstruction.
- Slow colonic transit (food moves really slow through the digestive system)
- Outlet dysfunction. This means you either contract the muscles around the anus when trying to have a bowel movement or you don’t relax the muscles enough to allow for stool to pass effectively or your push is ineffective.
In cases of chronic constipation it is very important to speak with your doctor to get properly assessed as to why this happening. Chronic constipation can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction such as urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapsed or to megacolon (whereby your rectum stretches and becomes large).
I should state that even intermittent constipation is not good for anyone whom is experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction as constipation can contribute to making it worse.
If you are experiencing problems with your bowels, seeing a pelvic health physiotherapist, like me, can help you get back on track. Not only can I assess for any pelvic floor dysfunction, I have undergone additional training to treat bowel dysfunction.
Bet you didn’t know there was physiotherapy for that!
Okay moving on, I wanted to provide you with some simple tips to help keep you regular and your bowels happy.
- Taking 1 scoop of psyllium (Citrucel or Neurolax) in 3 oz of water in the evening. You take it like a shot. Follow this shot with 8-10oz of water (1). (disclaimer: speak with naturopath or family doctor if this supplement is right for you)
- Fiber Intake: you should be consuming about 25-35 grams of fiber daily.
- Exercise daily for 30 minutes
- Minimize caffeine and alcohol. You can try peppermint tea and magnesium (disclaimer: speak with naturopath or family doctor if this supplement is right for you)
- Drink ½ oz of water per pound of body weight
- Perform the ILU massage daily
Rao et al. 2016. Gastroenterology. V 150:1430-1442.
Pelvic Health Solutions Course material: The Physiotherapy approach to treating bowel dysfunction.