What is normal bowel function?

Being ‘regular’ is a way of describing good bowel habits or normal bowel function. Being regular really means that soft, yet well-formed bowel motions, are easily passed and that this happens anywhere from 1-3 times a day to 3 times a week. These stools should take minimal effort to empty and you should feel empty and satisfied when you leave the toilet.

What is constipation?

  • Constipation is when your bowel motions are infrequent / incomplete and you have trouble passing them because they are often dry and hard.

What is bowel incontinence?

  • Faecal incontinence is a term used to describe leakage from the bowel due involuntary bowel movements.
  • You may also find you have excessive wind or experience staining in your

Signs and symptoms of bowel problems

  • Straining to poo and not feeling empty afterwards
  • Going more than 3 times a day or less than x 3 weekly
  • Having to wipe excessively after emptying
  • Signs of constipation and straining with emptying Including bowel conditions such as haemorrhoids, anal fissures etc.
  • Leaking faeces either on the way to the toilet or after emptying
  • Rushing to the toilet
  • Accidentally passing wind
  • Fear of using public toilets causing you to resist the urge to empty

Common causes of bowel problems

  • Incorrect toileting habits or ignoring the urge to poo
  • Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction – this can be either weakness, or tightness or both!
  • Dietary factors
  • Medications
  • Poor fluid intake
  • Gut-brain connection stress and thenervous system

How can physiotherapy help?

  • Physiotherapy involves assessing all the potential contributing factors for your bowel concerns and can include;
    • Pelvic floor muscle retraining
    • Bowel habit training
    • Instruction of correct toileting posture and dynamics of defecation
    • Biofeedback
    • Fibre and fluid advice
    • Improving stool consistency
    • Addressing any musculoskeletal concerns that could be For example, poor breathing, improving control of the abdominal muscles, correct posture