Pelvic floor dysfunction is a broad term that gets thrown around a lot and encompasses many different diagnoses. When we hear “pelvic floor dysfunction” the first thing that comes to most people’s mind is kegels. The term kegel refers to pelvic floor strengthening which can be used to treat a variety of different pelvic floor dysfunctions. But did you know that treating pelvic floor dysfunction is more than just doing kegels? Constipation can have a big impact on pelvic floor function and most people don’t realize that having regular and consistent bowel movements is super important for overall pelvic floor health!
So to dive deeper into this topic; do you know what your stool looks like? Stool can be divided into 7 different types depending on the consistency. This is called the Bristol Stool Chart.
Consistency is related to a few things; diet and hydration being the most important. Staying hydrated and having a healthy balanced diet high in fiber is crucial to having proper stool consistency. Having a type 3 or 4 stool allows our bowel movements to happen without having to use a lot of force through our core and pelvic floor and is the easiest for our pelvic floor and anal sphincters to expel.
If you are having constipation or any pelvic floor dysfunction we encourage you to take a look at your stool. If you notice that you are on either of the far ends of the scale to try and make some changes to get yourself more to the middle. And as always if you feel you need more guidance or a thorough evaluation give us a call and one of our pelvic floor physical therapists would be happy to help you!
Kate Dolan, DPT