right way to poop

The Right Way To Poop and Improve Bowel Movements

In Female Pelvic Pain, Male Pelvic Pain, Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, pelvic floor physical therapy, Pelvic Health by Stephanie PrendergastLeave a Comment

By Stephanie A. Prendergast, DPT, MPT, Cofounder, PHRC Los Angeles


April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month, so we felt it was most appropriate to discuss bowel mechanisms and the ‘right way’ to poop.


According to a study by Shahid (et al in 2012), “constipation affects up to 28% of Americans.” More Americans suffer from constipation than die from heart disease every year.


Now let’s talk about how to avoid excessive straining. Straining can lead to hemorrhoids, anal tears, rectal prolapse, pelvic floor dysfunction and pudendal neuralgia. Straining increases when trying to poop while using the modern day toilet. It’s simple biomechanics really. If you are trying to push something out of a tube that’s closer to a right angle than a straight line, it will be more difficult.


This is where a squatty potty comes into play! When your knees are higher than your hips, what is known as the “anorectal angle” increases, helping the poop to get out.


By ignoring the urge to poop on a regular basis, you may be creating a vicious cycle that can lead to chronic constipation. Therefore, as best you can, when you have the urge to poop, go!



So how can you improve your bowel movements?

We recommend trying out a few of the following to see how it can make a difference:


Utilizing a squatty potty

When you change your posture to be in more of a squatting position, you allow your bowels to empty easier.


Improving Your Diet

Do you have enough fiber in your diet? Re-evaluating your diet can help improve bowel movements. If you are struggling with constipation, you can try consuming foods that start with a ‘P’ such as: pears, plums, (sweet) potatoes, peaches and any of their juices. 


Drinking Water

Staying hydrated plays an important part in your bowel movements. By keeping up on your water intake, you can help prevent constipation and help keep things moving along your gastrointestinal tract.



Exercising regularly (or more often),  can help improve your digestion and flexes your muscles; which in turn makes bowel movements more regular and easier.


Manual Physical Therapy

When all else fails, it might be time to see a pelvic floor physical therapist. 




What’s The ‘Right’ Way To Poop?

The Scoop on Poop: More than Constipation

Q&A Bowel Dysfunction

Diaphragmatic breathing, pelvic pain, peeing and pooping

How Pelvic Floor PT Helps Children with Constipation & Incontinence



Are you unable to come see us in person in the Bay Area, Southern California or New England?  We offer virtual physical therapy appointments too!

Virtual sessions are available with PHRC pelvic floor physical therapists via our video platform, Zoom, or via phone. For more information and to schedule, please visit our digital healthcare page.

In addition to virtual consultation with our physical therapists, we also offer integrative health services with Jandra Mueller, DPT, MS. Jandra is a pelvic floor physical therapist who also has her Master’s degree in Integrative Health and Nutrition. She offers services such as hormone testing via the DUTCH test, comprehensive stool testing for gastrointestinal health concerns, and integrative health coaching and meal planning. For more information about her services and to schedule, please visit our Integrative Health website page

Melissa Patrick is a certified yoga instructor and meditation teacher and is also available virtually to help, for more information please visit our therapeutic yoga page

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