3 Tips A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist Recommends For Supporting Regularity
Let's face it, everyone has been there: those uncomfortable moments waiting on the toilet and praying things will get moving. However, there are a number of daily strategies that can help naturally keep your bowels on track and make your overall bathroom experience more pleasant.
While you may have heard of helpful tactics like taking a high-quality probiotic, staying hydrated, moving regularly, and eating plenty of fiber, physical therapist and pelvic floor specialist Ariella Pohl shares some additional tips for supporting regularity and establishing healthy bathroom habits, without the stress:*
Create a routine.
One of the best ways to ensure regularity in your bathroom schedule is by going at the same time every day. Your body will eventually get used to the routine, which will support the healthy emptying of your bowels.
Pohl notes that you should be heading to the restroom "preferably 20 to 30 minutes after eating," in a video shared on the District Performance & Physio Instagram. This will help your body begin the digestion process. In fact, it's completely natural to get the urge to go right after eating as your colon clears out space for the new food.
Don't hold your breath.
Particularly if you need help getting things moving in the morning, you may find yourself straining on the toilet while trying to make progress. However, Pohl explains that this can actually make things more difficult, suggesting: "Don't hold your breath while pushing. Try breathing out instead." This will relax your body, making it more likely that you'll be able to pass your poop rather than inadvertently tensing up.
Elevate your feet.
The position you're sitting on the toilet can actually affect the ease of your bowel movement—and putting your feet up will prime your body to poop, reducing the need to push. In fact, studies1 have shown that using a "defecation postural modification device" (aka a squatty potty or even a trash can) significantly minimizes straining on the toilet while even making your bathroom trips more productive.
The bottom line.
Staying regular and maintaining a consistent poop schedule is essential to your overall well-being, and there are plenty of tactics to implement in and outside of the bathroom that can make your bowel movements easier. There is considerable variability from person to person for what's considered "normal" frequency of poops. However, most people poop between one and three times a day, so if this isn't the case for you, break out the squatty potty, take a deep breath, and set a solid routine that promotes a more positive restroom experience.
Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career, and formerly worked at SheFinds. Her byline has also appeared in Women’s Health. In her current role, she writes and edits for the health, movement, and food sections of mindbodygreen. Readman currently lives in New York City.