10 Tips for Better Poops
Hi friends! Did you know that approximately 33 million adults in the United States suffer from constipation? This accounts for more than 2.5 millions doctors visits and almost 100 thousand hospitalizations each year. As they say, prevenetion is the best medicine. That’s why this week we are going to talk about ten tips to help you poop better.
#1 Lift your legs when you sit on the toilet A squatting position (imagine the way a dog’s back legs squat to poop) helps poop to come out easier (Mounsey, 2015). You can use something like a squatty potty but you may be able to find something around your house like a couple of stools or thick book.
#2 Use your voice Saying "Grrr" while on the toilet helps the pelvic floor muscles to relax and the air to flow. Avoid holding your breath and straining.
#3 Give yourself a belly massage “Belly massages" starting at your lower right and working upwards, across, and down can be very helpful for some people. Imagine your hands gently "scooping" during the massage. This massage can help to stimulate the muscles of the digestive system to keep things moving along. Learn more about how to perform the massage here.
#4 Relax those pelvic floor muscles! Since some of the pelvic floor muscles wrap right around the anus, if they are tight and contracted, the poop will have a very hard time exiting! If you aren’t sure how to relax the pelvic floor muscles, a pelvic floor therapist can help! You can find one near you at www.mypfm.com/find-a-pt.
#5 Pull your pants all the way down to your ankles This allow you to keep your knees wide helping to “open" things up and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Imagine how much harder it would be to poop with your knees close together.
#6 Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water helps to prevent the digestive tract from taking too much water out of our stool. When too much water is taken from stool, poop becomes drier and harder to get out. One study found that drinking 1.5 to 2 liters (50 to 67 ounces) improved constipation (Mounsey, 2015).
#7 Get enough fiber
It is recommended that adults without any underlying medical conditions get at least 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day (Mounsey, 2015). If you want to start increasing your fiber intake, make sure to do it slowly over a few weeks to make sure you don’t experience abdominal cramping, bloating, and gas. You can get fiber from whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, and beans, or from supplements like flax seed, psyllium husk, or gummies.
#8 Try to go to the bathroom after eating a meal Eating stimulates a reflex which helps keeps things moving along in the digestive tract. Trying to poop after eating takes advantage of this reflex and can improve success with going (Mounsey, 2015).
#9 Get regular exercise Studies have shown that regular exercise may improve constipation and improve how often you have a bowel movement (Gao, 2019). Exercise has other benefits as well, including, reducing the risk of many chronic diseases and health conditions and improves quality of life, strength and balance (ACSM, 2014; Deslandes, 2009).
#10 Don’t rush You shouldn’t spend hours on the toilet, but be sure to give yourself enough time. You should not push and strain to get poop out faster because you places to be and things to do. Take your time to fully empty you bowels but try now to spend more than 10-15 minutes on the toilet.
If you are struggling with constipation, or any other bowel issues, be sure to discuss this with your provider.
Ready to learn more about your pelvic health? Here are some helpful resources:
Watch Netflix for Your Pelvic Floor at Pelvic Flicks
Watch our YouTube playlist Bowel Health and Your Pelvic Floor
Learn more about the pelvic floor muscles with our book: My Pelvic Floor Muscles The Basics
Sign up for our email newsletter!
Visit our Instagram page for more on pelvic health.
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The Role of Probiotics & How to Support the Gut Microbiome for Digestive Disorders with Erin Judge, RDN, LDN
Gut Health Q&A with Dr. Will Bulsiewicz, MD, MSCI
Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT
American College of Sports Medicine. ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. 9th ed. Wolters Kluwer;2014.
Deslandes A et al. Exercise and mental health: many reasons to move. Neuropsychobiology.2009;59(4):191-8.
Gao R et al. Exercise therapy in patients with constipation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Scand J Gasteoenterol. 2019;54(2):169-177.
Mounsey A, Raleigh M, Wilson A. Management of constipation in older adults. Am Fam Physician. 2015;92(6):500-4.