You may feel uncomfortable discussing bowel health, but it is a good indicator of your overall general health. One should develop and maintain a regular bowel health routine to stay healthy. Improper bathroom habits such as ignoring the urge to defecate and not allowing enough time to empty the colon can develop into childhood and persist into adulthood. Some people may develop bowel problems as adults through sickness, sensitivities, and microbiome changes. If you ignore irregularities in your bowel health, you are ignoring more significant health issues. Here are five things you should know about bowel health.
- Do not Delay the Urge. Many people have a phobia of public restrooms, and they always try to avoid them. However, if you delay defecating, you can start a sort of “stool hoarding” that leads to retention habits and overactive pelvic floor. With time, the stool hoarding will stretch the rectum, making it larger than usual. You will then delay the urge to defecate as the body accommodates an inappropriately large amount of stool. Regular bowel movement habits range from 3 times a day to three times per week. Develop a habit of defecating anytime you feel the urge since the rectum was not meant to be a long-term storage area.
- Posture. The anatomy of the pelvic floor demands that it is best to squat when you are defecating. Squatting allows the muscles to relax around the colon, thus opening the space and allowing stool to pass without any strain. You should elevate your feet above 90 degrees up to 135 degrees of hip flexion for the best relaxation of the pelvic floor. Unfortunately, our traditional toilets do not provide the ideal squat. As a result, you should sit tall through your pelvis, bend at the hip, lean with your forearms on your thighs, and allow the abdomen to relax.
- Time. Spend your time in the bathroom wisely. Avoid excessive time in the toilet. You are not recommended to stay for more than ten minutes in the bathroom trying to defecate. Try getting up, walk around, change positions, and going into a deep squat to allow the pelvic floor to relax before attempting again. You can also consider the abdominal massage technique to stimulate the colon. Never strain the stool out since you can over-strain the pelvic ligaments.
- Abdominal Massage. In case you have constipation, you can promote your bowel movement with a light to moderate abdominal massage. The technique involves relaxing the muscles on the left side below the rib cage by using clockwise circles from the upper descending colon, then down toward the left pubic bone. Perform this massage five times a day.
- Treatment. If you have bowel issues, the best treatment is eating healthy. Eat prunes, drink a lot of water, and exercise regularly to improve your bowel health. In case of any constipation, a doctor may recommend stool softeners, temporally use of laxatives, or suppository. Enemas are also useful for constipation although many people do not know how enemas work.
The above tips will help you improve your bowel health, but it is essential to seek physical therapy. A pelvic floor doctor who specializes in pelvic health is a resource to achieve optimal bowel health.
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