Our pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments, fascia, nerves and more- no different than any other part of the body- and it is therefore just as easily prone to injury if we develop bad habits. When we strain to go to the bathroom or sit in non-ideal positions while using the washroom, this adds extra pressure to our pelvic floor that can eventually lead to issues such as weak pelvic floor muscles, pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain and more.
One important preventative tip is to make sure the frequency of bowel movements is within normal range, which varies from between 1-3 times per day to at least 3 times per week. If you rush, put-off or simply do not go to the washroom within this range, you could be damaging your pelvic floor muscles, leading to issues such as bowel/ bladder incontinence, hemorrhoids, painful intercourse, organ prolapse and even lower back and pelvic pain.
A second important preventative strategy is your body’s ergonomics or positioning while going to the washroom.
Some tricks to help you not strain if you are having trouble evacuating include:
- Rotating your body side to side
- Tilting your pelvis up and down
- As the stool moves into your anal canal, reach your left arm over your right shoulder
- Breathe! Slow your breathing by exhaling through pursed lips (like you are blowing bubbles)
- Take your time. Do not rush.