Many of us struggle on a daily basis with our bowel movements and I’m here to say, as common as it is, it’s not normal and there is A LOT you can do to help that along! Chronic constipation can wreak havoc on our pelvic floor muscles due to repetitive forceful downward pressure from straining on the toilet. This can lead to (but also be the result of) pelvic floor dysfunction– pelvic organ prolapse, hemorrhoids, and fissures being top of mind. Tight pelvic floor muscles can often lead to difficulty with emptying our bowels and lead to further constipation and even urinary incontinence.

Here are a few tips to help have happier BMs which will make your pelvic floor happy in return:

  • Get adequate water/fluid intake daily. We should aim to get at least 65 oz of water a day. This will help keep our stool softer and easier to evacuate.
  • Get adequate fiber daily– 25-30 grams of fiber/day! The majority of Americans don’t get anywhere close to this in our diets. Fiber helps keep our stool moving along and in good consistency for emptying. Some high fiber options include: chia seeds, the skin on fruits, vegetables, beans, oatmeal, and quinoa.
  • Use a Squatty Potty or a small step stool under your feet while on the toilet. Having your knees higher than your hips places our pelvic floor muscles in a more relaxed position which allows an easy evacuation with less straining!
  • Diaphragm breathing! Breathing into our abdomen and down into our pelvis can help push our stool along with less straining on our pelvic floors.
  • No straining! This may sound counterintuitive, but when we strain to empty our bowels we actually contract our pelvic floor muscles which makes it even harder to get stool out. So stop straining and just breathe!
  • Bowel massage can be helpful to stimulate a bowel movement.
  • More physical activity, even walking, can help keep us regular!