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Bowel Dysfunction

Constipation, faecal incontinence, flatal incontinence, urgency and haemorrhoids are all symptoms of bowel dysfunction. Normal regular bowel movements and continence are important steps in restoring good bowel function and confidence in your body.

 Bowel Function

Your bowel is constantly working as part of your digestive system. The large bowel helps to form the stool and enables the absorption of nutrients and water before it expels waste from the rectum, through the anal sphincters.

Emptying your bowel should feel complete and easy, without the need for straining. You should empty anywhere between 3x per day to 3x per week.

If you have food intolerances or medications you have to take, please let your physiotherapist know during assessment.

Bowel Dysfunction

Constipation is a common bowel problem which often relates to diet and fluid intake but can also be related to over-active and tight pelvic floor muscles.

Leakage from the bowel and urgency are not normal and should be treated. Pelvic floor and sphincter training can help to restore normal bowel functions.

Dysfunction can arise gradually over time or through trauma such as an obstetric anal sphincter tear at childbirth. Complete assessment of both pelvic floor and the sphincters are advised for any bowel dysfunction.


Pelvic floor and sphincter muscle training, bowel massage, breathing techniques, diet and lifestyle alterations can all help to move you from dysfunction to function.

There are devices, medications and surgical treatments available, but conservative therapy through physiotherapy is advised in the first instance.

Physiotherapy usually involves a 3-6 month programme of assessment, treatment and home exercise or self treatment. Those with OASI may be interested in the new MAPLe device for assessment and treatment.

Have you checked your stools?

Your stools can tell you a lot about your bowel health. Next time you have a bowel movement, check your stool type.

The ideal stool is a Type 4.

The closer you are to type 1, the more dehydrated your stools are. Step 1 is to drink more water. Step 2 is to look at your fibre intake, make sure you have a good mixture of soluble and insoluble.

The closer you are to type 7, the higher the water content. This could be a one off and may be related to something you've eaten. Binding food options such as found on this blog from Squatty Potty: Foods that Bind vs. Foods that Loosen 

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