You’ve probably experienced this… But did you know you can treat it?
Four million Americans have frequent constipation, but what is constipation?
– Straining for defecation at least 25% of the time
– Lumpy/hard stools 25% of the time
– A sensation of incomplete emptying at least 25% of the time
– A sensation of anorectal blockage at least 25% of the time
– Fewer than 3 defecations a week
If you identify at all with the above list pelvic floor therapy might just be the answer to your poop problem!
Pelvic floor physical therapy addresses two types of constipation: idiopathic (aka we have no specific cause) and functional. Idiopathic is often due to hormones, nerves, and/or muscles, but functional is usually due to lifestyle (ie. not getting enough movement in your life, overuse of laxatives, ignoring the urge to defecate, etc. ), dietary habits (ie. not eating your fruits and veggies (fiber), milk (for some people) and not drinking enough water), or pelvic floor dysfunction.
What is pelvic floor dysfunction? It can be anything from pelvic floor muscle overactivity that is limiting your ability to relax those muscles to be able to pass stool or a narrowing of the canal that stool travels through due to adhesions (scar tissue sticking stuff together), polyps, diverticulosis, and/or celiac disease.
What can pelvic floor physical therapy do for me? The first step to our evaluation will be to look at your medications, diet, and activity level to find any causes of your symptoms that could lie in those variables. After those specifics have been addressed, we look into your “defecation biomechanics”. Do you sit, lean forward, have your feet up on a stool, and how high is your toilet? Another examination that might be required is to address the pelvic floor muscles. Are you able to relax your tush muscles? Can you contract your tummy muscles while relaxing your pelvic floor? Are you breathing while attempting to pass stool?
Once all those questions are answered we work together with you to develop a plan to get you back to where you want to be. If you have any questions on the specifics of our treatments or would like to get your personalized program started with one of our pelvic floor physical therapists we would love to hear from you!
Content provided by Sarah White-Hamilton, DPT.