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“Get That Poo Out of You!” – Part 2

No Straining Training

Pelvic floor Physical Therapy has become increasingly well known in the women’s health arena, but I’ll let you in on a secret. We all have pelvic floors…men, women, children, grandmas, grandpas, teachers, firefighters, and those muscles are working all the time. The pelvic floor muscles work in conjunction with our diaphragm (muscle we use for breathing), abdominal muscles, and spinal and ribcage muscles to keep abdominal organs in the right place, adjust to changes in pressure in our abdomen, and help us maintain posture and continence.

The pelvic floor muscles, specifically, are crucial in holding up the abdominal contents (stomach, bladder, colon, kidneys, etc.) when there is an increase in abdominal pressure. A healthy pelvic floor responds automatically to increased pressure by contracting or becoming more tense. We want this to happen when we need to hold our pee or poo while jumping, running, coughing, and sneezing, or when we need or want to prevent urinating or having a bowel movement (aka, when we aren’t on a potty). This is precisely what happens when we take a big deep breath in, hold it, and attempt to bear down and poo. Faces turn red, we push harder, but nothing comes out. Without releasing some of the pressure built up in our abdomen, our pelvic floor remains contracted, preventing stool from exiting our bodies. We refer to this as straining, and we prevent it by opening our airway to release some pressure. Below are some fun ways to prevent little faces from turning purple while pooing:

1. Allowing child to blow bubbles while on the toilet.

2. Have child count, sing, talk or read aloud while bearing down.

3. Have child imitate blowing out birthday candles.

4. Make sure your child does not feel rushed, as this can cause them to strain in attempt to empty bowels quicker.

5. See previous post on proper toileting posture to allow poo to descend into the rectum and relax pelvic floor muscles for a bowel movement.

– Recommendations from APT Physical Therapist, ​Lauren Hirsch, PT, DPT