How to have a Proper Bowl Movement

Chances are defecation is not a taught skill, BUT it should be, says Dr. Judelkiss Todd, physical therapist at PSSM Bordentown location. A deep squat should be the position assumed during a bowel movement rather than sitting. Literally placing your feet on a stool while sitting on the toilet mimics an optimal squat position. Studies show that in sitting the puborectalis muscle “chokes” the rectum, blocking the passage of stool while squatting relaxes the puborectalis muscle and straightens the rectum allowing straight passage out of the anal canal (2).

The prevalence of bowel diseases (hemorrhoids, appendicitis, polyps, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease, and colon cancer) are similar in South African whites and in populations of prosperous western countries. Among rural South African blacks with a traditional life style, these diseases are very uncommon or almost unknown(1).

Moreover, in the sitting position the pelvic floor is pushed downwards to a significant degree, increasing incidence of pelvic organ prolapse. For pregnant women, squatting not only may prevent hemorrhoids but squatting helps develop the flexibility needed for giving birth. Squatting fully opens the birth canal, maximizes the power of the abdominal muscles, and helps protect the pelvic floor from injury. Not only is squatting preventative it’s also can be used for those with many of the above ailments.

PSSM offers women’s health physical therapy were many of the women’s health issues can be treated conservatively, including pregnancy-related aches and pains, pelvic floor dysfunction, leakage, constipation, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.

1.Walker AR, Segal I., Epidemiology of noninfective intestinal diseases in various ethnic groups in South Africa. Israel Journal of Medical Science, 1979 Apr;15(4):309-13. (online at PubMed.)

2.Tagart REB. The Anal Canal and Rectum: Their Varying Relationship and Its Effect on Anal Continence, Diseases of the Colon and Rectum 1966: 9, 449-452.

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