27 Thu

Poor Toileting Habits can Have a Negative Effect on Your Pelvic Floor

Poor Toileting Habits can Have a Negative Effect on Your Pelvic Floor


Pelvic floor muscles are located in the pelvic floor, connecting the pubic bone to the tail bone. These muscles have a very intimate relationship with one’s bowel and bladder function.  When one has a bowel movement, these muscles are supposed to relax and allow the stool to pass.

If the muscles are not relaxed, you would have difficulty in passing the stool and feel like you have to ‘squeeze the stools out.’ That is a hint that your pelvic floor muscles are indeed tight and uncoordinated, which is often seen with bowel dysfunction.  Repetitive straining and pushing can negatively affect your pelvic floor, causing weakness, prolapse, or urinary incontinence.

How can you prevent such tightening with defecation?  These are a few tips:

  1. Proper Positioning on the Toilet: When sitting on the toilet, the knees should be slightly higher than your hips.  Often, rest your feet on a foot stool can relax your pelvic floor muscles and position your pelvis better for defecation.
  2. Foster a Relaxing Environment: Most people have bowel movements in the morning. That is usually a hectic time for getting kids ready for school, getting ready for work, etc.  Allow an ample amount of time for yourself in the restroom!  Remember, ‘Restroom’ means ‘rest!’
  3. Relaxation Breathing: Perform diaphragmatic breathing to relax your pelvic floor. Slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Perform this breathing exercises several times until you can master it without thinking it.
  4. Avoid Prolonged Hard Pushing: Instead, it’s better to try using short-interval small pushes.  Repetitive prolonged pushes can often damage your pelvic floor and cause prolapse.

If you are good with all the toileting habits mentioned above, and you still cannot effectively relax your pelvic floor muscles, pelvic floor physical therapy may be able to help you.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417. Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.


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