Did you know that out of 100 people, 16 individuals suffer from constipation? In adults older than 60 years of age, 33 out of 100 individuals experience symptoms of constipation. The common signs of constipation include: straining during bowel movements because your stool is too difficult or painful to pass, having fewer than three bowel movements per week, and/ or the feeling of incomplete evacuation.

A pelvic physical therapist can help with constipation in many ways…

Here are just a few conservative treatment approaches a pelvic PT can take with you to better your constipation:

  • Increasing the amount of fibers and fluids in your diet…Fibers allow for quicker movement of fecal matter throughout the intestines by bulking up stool and making it softer, larger and easier to pass. One should have 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories eaten every day. Foods containing more than 20% of the daily value of fiber per serving are considered high in fiber and should be eaten regularly. In addition, a body that is happily hydrated draws less water from the intestines, allowing for stool to be bulkier and easier to pass. Drinking over 8 glasses of water a day is not only important to better constipation, but when increasing the amount of fiber in your diet, you want to do so while increasing the amount of water to avoid bloating, cramping, or gas.
  • Increasing the amount of physical activity you are getting…Exercise increases the nervous system, which stimulates contractions along the gut to further move stool along. There are many ways to exercise to create happy bowels. Do you like weight training, walking, running, other cardio activity like the elliptical and stairmaster? Try adding physical activity into your daily routine to get your bowels moving along.
  • Learning pelvic floor muscle coordination…When the pelvic floor muscles do not properly relax in order to have a bowel movement, constipation may persist. One way to address this is to perform a Reverse Kegel, this is the opposite of a pelvic floor muscle contraction and a pelvic physical therapist can assist you on how to properly perform these.
  • Learning proper toileting techniques/ modifications… Modifying your toileting posture to one in a deep squat creates an angle in the rectal canal that causes the least amount of strain, allowing for easier passage of stool. Ways in which you can get into this proper toileting posture in by getting your legs up on a stack of books or a stool in order to elevate your feet so gravity is assisting the passage of stool. Addition of a Squatty Potty to your bathroom is a cost effective and easy fix to this problem!
  • Design and stick to a toileting schedule…Regardless if there is an urge or not, scheduling when you use the bathroom 20-30 minutes following a meal can encourage a bowel movement by utilizing a reflex that tells your intestines to move when your stomach is full.
  • Performing abdominal massage…Abdominal massage can stimulate wave- like contractions throughout your intestines, which helps move waste along the digestive tract.

Each individual is different when it comes to their experience suffering from constipation. When seeking treatment from a pelvic physical therapist at IDPT, an individualized treatment plan is created, along with ways to progress the program. IDPT works one- on- one with patients to address each and every need, in which we understand varies tremendously from one patient to another.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact one of our specialized pelvic physical therapists at our Toms River (732.506.3471) or Ocean (732.508.9926) office. Thanks! We hope to hear from you soon.


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