How to Poo Properly?!
Who knew there was a "proper" way to poo? Unfortunately having a bowel motion the wrong way can make the process much more difficult and can potentially be harmful to our bodies. We call this pooing technique.....defaecation dynamics. The "perfect" poo should only take 90 secs and should not require straining. So how do we do this?
Stool consistency plays a major role in determining whether we can pass a motion easily. Many professionals use something called the Bristol Stool Chart to help people identify stool consistency...….some people have tried to recreate this chart using chocolate (you may never eat chocolate cake the same again)!! Essentially, we are all aiming for a Type 3-4 stool, not too hard and not too soft. On one side, this avoids the need to strain to pass the motion, and on the flip side it eliminates one needing to run to the toilet for fear of an accident!! Fluid, fibre and exercise all affect our stool consistency. Fibre helps by encouraging water into the stool....provided we have water in the body and are drinking adequate fluid (i.e. approx. 2L of non diuretic fluid per day). Exercise helps us by speeding up our gut movement and making the stool softer. Keep in mind though, that factors such a medications, medical conditions (e.g IBS, Coeliac), stress and daily habits are also going to contribute to how soft or hard our stool is.
So then, we have consistency sorted, but how then do we perfect the art of correct technique...and what is the wrong technique? Well, if you need to tighten your abs and bear down or strain to pass a motion, then you are doing it wrong. Straining is a major contributing factor to pelvic organ prolapse (organs falling down!!!). Not only does this push down directly on the organs but it also pushes on the Pelvic Floor Muscles (which support our organs), therefore stretching and weakening them. In addition, straining contributes to the development of uncomfortable haemarrhoids . Ok then, what do we do? Firstly, we have to consider position. Our fancy western toilets have worked against us in this way. We need somehow, to recreate a squat. Our back passage is naturally bent, and passing something out of a bent tube is going to be, well...difficult. If we can lift our knees higher than our hips (preferably using a footstool), and lean forward with elbows resting on the knees, then we have simulated our squat. This position will straighten that back tube.
Lets be honest though, it doesn't stop here for most of us and the majority will need to push. How then, do we do this without straining? Luckily, research has revealed that pushing or bulging our tummies outwards (rather than down), will open our passageway and get the gut moving to pass the stool, all without weakening our pelvic floor.
Hopefully this brief guide will help you achieve that "perfect" poo!
If any this is an issue for you, that needs more specific assistance, then please feel free to contact me for a consultation.
Good luck and happy pooing!!
Andrea Baker at Restore Pelvic Physiotherapy