Can Physical Therapy Help With Chronic Constipation?
You may be surprised to know that physical therapy can help with chronic constipation which reportedly affects approximately a third of the general population. Constipation can be categorized as slow transit constipation or defecatory disorder. There can be several different reasons for constipation and seeing a pelvic physical therapist is a conservative form of treatment. Constipation and straining subjects the pelvic floor muscles to increased pressure and can weaken them over a period of time leading to other problems such a hemorrhoids, prolapse, or pain.
General Guidelines for Relief
- Consume adequate water and fiber
- Use a Squatty Potty or similar device to raise your knees above hip level when seated on the toilet
- Go when you first feel the urge
- Have a dedicated time each day for toileting
Physical Therapy Addresses the Cause
Sometimes constipation can be the result of impairment in coordination of the pelvic floor muscles and the anal sphincters. When someone is having difficulty defecating, there is usually a high resting pressure and incomplete relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles. Patients usually report straining when trying to have a bowel movement, thin hard stools or pebble like stools, some diarrhea, or feelings of incomplete emptying. A physical therapist can teach you how to relax and contract your muscles in the correct order to decrease straining. Coordinated breathing is also important. You should not hold your breath when straining on the toilet. This can create dangerous pressures on your internal organs.
If you have problems with your bowels/bladder or if you have pelvic pain, please give us a call at (478) 953-3535 or stop by the front desk and we’ll be happy to get you scheduled with Lola.
About the Author
Lola Rosenbaum, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic health. Though she was born in New Orleans, her father was career Army and her husband career Navy, so she has spent most of her life moving around the world. Her 20+ years in Warner Robins are the longest roots she has ever grown. Lola has been with the Cantrell Center for Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine since 2003.