Constipation is a diagnosis to describe either painful bowel movements or infrequent bowel movements. Many individuals with constipation have hard dry stools which are uncomfortable to eliminate. Constipation has many causes, some which are easily managed with home treatments. Comparing yourself to another person's bowel habits will not help you determine if you are constipated. For some people, it is normal to have 3 bowel movements a day and for others 3 bowel movements a week may be normal. Constipation symptoms can be a temporary issue, but some individuals have chronic constipation.
Common Causes of Constipation
Lack of exercise
Low fiber diet
Hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism
Delaying the urge to have a bowel movement
Impaired nerves of the rectum or colon
Blockage of colon or rectum
Impairment of pelvic floor muscle coordination or function
Constipation can result in straining to have a bowel movement or needing to assist yourself with use of fingers to help push stools out or pressing on your abdomen. Some individuals experience the sensation of incomplete emptying of stools. Symptoms of bloating and abdominal discomfort also accompany constipation.
According to the Bristol Stool Scale your stool should be close in consistency to Type 4. This is a soft, smooth formed stool which is long and shaped almost like a sausage. As you move up the Bristol Stool scale, you will see stools that are more dry and correlated with constipation. As you move down the scale, you will see stool consistency more consistent with diarrhea.
Many of the temporary causes of constipation can be addressed by increasing water intake, increasing fiber intake, being more active, laxatives, and changing your diet.
More chronic constipation may require adjustments in medications or treating with medications, significant diet changes, bowel training, or further testing to investigate causes.
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
At The Fit Pelvis, managing constipation is one of our expertise. Our pelvic health physical therapists are trained to help you manage your symptoms of constipation with bowel habit training, visceral mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, stretching, breathing exercises, rectal sensory training, and diet modification.
If you have questions regarding your symptoms of constipation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the staff at The Fit Pelvis. You can schedule a Discovery Call at thefitpelvis.com