Written by Roshni Ravi, Pelvic Health Physiotherapist
Constipation is a common gastrointestinal (GI) condition that causes difficulty with passing stool or reduces the frequency of having a bowel movement. It can be caused by
– diet e.g. not enough fibre
– sedentary lifestyle
– Ignoring the urge for a bowel movement due to pain.
– Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
– Medications such as anti-inflammatories, iron supplements or anti depressants.
Medically, constipation is defined as having fewer than 3 bowel movements a week with hard stools.
Pelvic muscle dyssynergia (incoordination) can lead to constipation. During a typical bowel movement, the pelvic floor needs to relax in order to evacuate stool. When there is tightness in the pelvic floor muscles, it can be painful or uncomfortable to pass stool.
Treatment for constipation can include a number of lifestyle modifications such as increased fibre and water intake, and regular exercise. However, consulting with a pelvic physiotherapist can improve outcomes, by creating an exercise program specific to your pelvic floor dysfunction. The need for lengthening versus strengthening of the pelvic floor is determined through internal vaginal or rectal examination. Another option is seeing a naturopath for ways to adjust your diet accordingly. Quite often, both treatments go hand in hand.
Experiencing constipation or constipation like symptoms? Book a consultation with one of our pelvic physiotherapists today!