Did you know not all constipation is created equal?
There is a specific type of constipation that relates to your “bottom line”, you guessed it, your pelvic floor muscles! It is often referred to as pelvic floor dysfunction or outlet dysfunction.
You can add all the fiber, water, and over-the-counter stool softeners and laxatives from the top down, but if your pelvic floor says “NO” that means your muscles are not letting go! Ok, that’s a bad pun, but seriously this problem can affect your whole life and can be so frustrating and debilitating.
Why do we get constipated? One of the causes of pelvic floor dysfunction can be due to persistent stress, you guessed it “a tight a**”.
Other causes can be
- poor toileting habits
- poor toilet position
- painful hemorrhoids
- medication and some types of cancer treatments
- anal / rectal scars
- childbirth that included tears or episiotomy
- sexual trauma
- persistent straining
- overactive pelvic floor muscles
- lack of exercise
Any of these causes can contribute to poor muscle coordination of the pelvic floor and cause a lot of trouble having a bowel movement.
Constipation is defined as bloating, increased abdominal pressure or gas pressure on the bladder, pelvic organs and pelvic floor. So if this area of your body that is already under pressure you DON’T want to strain too much to have bowel movements because… straining increases abdominal pressure, stresses the pelvic floor and could potentially even cause a hernia or prolapse. Oh dear.
At this point, you may be feeling really embarrassed about the whole idea of talking and dealing with poop, but please know you are not alone…it has become a very common condition for both men and women, trust me. The question is: What have you done so far to get rid of your Chronic Constipation or does it keep it coming back?
When it comes to constipation nutrition is the #1 concern. You’ve probably heard that anything easy to digest is good for your pelvic floor, like bananas or avocados. Generally speaking, cooked foods are easier to digest than raw foods and you should eat smaller, but more frequent meals over large meals.
But try to eliminate fried foods and foods high in fat as much as you can, as well as gas producing foods like Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Simple carbs, starches and artificial sweeteners should be consumed in limited amounts.
Drinking plenty of water and adding up to 35 grams of fiber (soluble and insoluble too) per day should help too, BUT what IF you’ve been doing all that and constipation is still haunting you?
Well, if you’d like to make things more regular and smooth when it comes to your Bowel Movements or if you’d like to improve your Colon Health in any way, watch this video made by our Incontinence and Bowel Movement Superstar, Mary Hollenbeck, PTA, and learn how to do a gentle Colon Massage:
You’d be lucky to be told by your doctor that physical therapy can HELP with something like constipation. Unfortunately, not all providers know what us Physical Therapists (especially Pelvic Floor PTs) do, or the hugely positive impact we can have in helping women and men (!) with all kinds of issues in the pelvic area – things like: Pelvic Organ Prolapse (bladder, uterus and rectum), Incontinence of Bladder and Bowels, Pain with Sex, Pelvic Pain, SI Joint and Lower Back Pain, Hip Pain, Sciatica, Bursitis… and yes, Chronic Constipation!
We would love to help you solve your pelvic floor dysfunction and concerns about constipation! After working with lots of people with chronic constipation, we know that no two people are alike. Each person has a different body, a different history, and different types of bowel emptying issues.
We at the Healing Spot specialize in bowel and pelvic floor dysfunction, and our Pelvic Floor Specialist, Mary Hollenbeck, PTA, is very passionate about helping people with the following issues:
- difficulty having a complete bowel movement,
- constipation and straining,
- rectal pain,
- rectal and/or vaginal scar pain,
- abdominal pain due to abdominal scar tissue and incomplete stools,
- and fecal leakage.
Mary works with both men and women, but also with children, and she’s looking forward to helping you on your healing journey! Explore our Bowel Movement and Chronic Constipation Treatment here.
AND Join Mary’s interactive one-hour class ‘CURE for CONSTIPATION’!
If you’re interested to learn about practical and natural ways how to get things moving and keep moving Mary may be sharing The Scoop on Poop, on all issues related to healthy bowel function on Mon, April 4 at 5:45 pm at Yoga Studio Satya, Colorado Springs. Check all details and sign up here.