A Common Side Effect of Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

At Tensegrity, one of our specialties is pelvic floor health and function. Among other things, a common side effect of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) can be constipation. In fact, “as many as 50 percent of people with chronic constipation have PFD — impaired relaxation and coordination of pelvic floor and abdominal muscles during evacuation”(1). 

If you are dealing with the uncomfortable reality of constipation, here are 3 tips for getting things moving again: 

Massage: Give yourself an I love you (ILU) massage which may calm tension in your abdominal wall and help to move digested food through your system more efficiently. This can be done in lying, sitting, or standing and it’s recommended to be done with cream on your fingertips. 

  • Begin by forming the letter “I” by stroking with moderate pressure from the back of your left ribcage forward and down to the front, left hipbone. Repeat this 10 times. 
  • Next, form the letter “L” by stroking with moderate pressure from the right ribcage, underneath the ribcage to the left, and down to the left hip bone, forming the letter “L”. Repeat this 10 times.  
  • Then, do 10 strokes from the right hip bone up to the right ribcage, across to the left ribcage, and down to the left hip bone, forming the letter “U”.  
  • Finish with 1-2 minutes of clockwise circular massage around the belly button to stimulate the small intestine. 

Pooping form: When using the bathroom, position matters. When sitting on the toilet, with the knees at a right angle, the puborectalis muscle (a muscle responsible for continence) relaxes only partially. Sitting with your knees higher than your hips helps to relax this muscle more fully. 

Here’s a position that works well for many:

  • Start by sitting with your knees higher than your hips (use a footstool or other flat, stable object if necessary).
  • Lean forward and put your elbows on your knees.
  • Relax and bulge out your stomach.
  • *Make sure that the back is not rounded. 

Diet: If things aren’t moving as smoothly as you’d like, consider making some changes to your diet, establish an exercise routine, and stay hydrated with plenty of water. Fiber is your friend and a hearty helping of fresh fruits and veggies every day may help to improve bowel movements.

And if you have any specific questions about pelvic floor health, make sure to make an appointment with one of our trained professionals here at Tensegrity.

1. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation