No one likes to talk about poop, but it is really important for overall health and wellness!!Diet and daily habits can help you predict when your bowels will move on a regular basis. The consistency and quantity of the stool is usually more important than the frequency. The goal is to have a regular bowel movement that is soft but formed. A Normal schedule really depends on YOU, what is YOUR normal. That being said, normal falls within an every other day schedule to up to 3 times daily. So that may help you determine what you are striving for.
Tips for Emptying Regularly
- Eat breakfast. Our bodies like to poop in the morning. Often, a bowel movement will be a half hour to an hour after eating. These times are best because the body uses the gastrocolic reflex, eating wakes up the gut, to help produce a bowel movement. Even a hot drink in the morning can help the reflex action begin.
- Eat all your meals at a predictable time each day. Bowels are like an old man, they functions best on a regular schedule, so try to keep meal at regular intervals.
- The amount of food eaten should be about the same size. Again, our bowels are happiest when food is introduced in similar quantities. It is fine to have a small breakfast and a large lunch, or vice versa, just be consistent.
- Eat two servings of fruit or vegetables and at least one serving of a complex carbohydrate (whole grains such as brown rice, bran, whole wheat bread, or oatmeal) at each meal.
Maintain Healthy Habits
- Exercise daily. You may exercise at any time of day, but you may find that bowel function is helped most if the exercise is at a consistent time each day.
- Make sure that you are not rushed and have convenient access to a bathroom at your selected time to empty your bowels.
Tips for Cleaning and Washing
- Wipe from front to back towards the anus
- Always wipe gently with soft toilet paper, or ideally with moist toilet paper
- Wipe only once with each piece of toilet paper so as to not re-contaminate the area
- Wash in warm water alone or with minimal amount of mild, fragrance-free soap
- A Bidday can be a great help to keeping the area clean
- Gently pat skin completely dry – avoid rubbing
- If drying the skin after washing is difficult or uncomfortable, try using a hairdryer on a low setting (use very carefully)
- Allow air to get to the irritated area for some part of every day
- Use protective skin creams containing zinc as recommended by your doctor
What to Avoid
- Baths with extra-hot water
- Soaking for long periods of time in the bathtub
- Disinfectants and antiseptics
- Bath oils, bath salts, and talcum powder
- Using plastic pants, pads, and sheets, which cause sweating
- Scratching at the irritated area
- Some people find that citrus and acidic foods cause or worsen skin irritation
- Wear cotton underwear to allow the skin to breathe
- Talk to your healthcare provider about further treatment options – persistent problems need medical attention
We offer a free, 15 minute consultation with one of our pelvic floor specialists who can answer any questions you may have about how pelvic floor physical therapy can help you. We work to provide an integrative, whole person approach and will help you with lifestyle factors as well as physical issues to help you reach your wellness goals.