Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Healthy Bowel Habits

July 13, 2020


Avoiding constipation helps keep your pelvic floor happy. The following are 7 daily steps to help treat constipation and improve general bowel function.

  • Eat slowly. Digestion starts when saliva from your salivary glands break food while you chew and taking your time while you chew can help break down food and signal to your gut to move things through. (NIH. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases).

  • Eat/chew meals. Skip meals or drinking meals in smoothies alone slows digestion because digestion starts with the act of chewing.

  • Drink water. Drink at least half your body weight (lbs) in ounces of water per day.

  • Avoid simple white flour/starches like white rice, white bread, sugar AND include ample amounts of fiber. The average adult should consume 20-35g of fiber (Heal Pelvic Pain by Amy Stein)

  • Move your body daily. Exercising, movement, and walking helps move your gut.

  • Sit for a bowel movement. Hopefully you get the urge to have a BM every day or most days AND listen to it. If you have ignored the urge for a while or no longer spontaneously feel the urge, then sitting on the toilet with your feet supported on a stool, knees above hips, and leaning your upper body slightly can help relax your pelvic floor and facilitate peristalsis (or the movement of food and waste through your intestines).

  • Avoid straining. Instead of pushing hard and holding your breath to start a bowel movement, try relaxing your jaw and your bottom or the muscles around the opening of your rectum. Notice if you can feel your pelvic floor muscles relax a little further as you inhale, letting your stomach expand. To push, keep your pelvic floor muscles relaxed and your belly big, as your exhale, imagining pressure moving down into your pelvis.

    Click Here To Schedule An Appointment With A Pelvic Health Specialist to learn more