Abnormal Poops Don’t Just Suck. They Also Cause Other Pee, Poop and Seggsy Time Problems 🙁
Chronically irritated (loose) or constipated (hard) poops can BOTH lead to other pee problems, prolapse problems, pelvic pain, and further poop problems (hello, hemorrhoids!!).
Hi 🙂 I’m Dr. Kelly Sadauckas (sed-OW-skiss, thanks for asking). I am one of a handful of Doctors of Physical Therapy IN THE WORLD who are double board certified in Pelvic Health and Orthopedics. Today, I’m here to tell you how your poop problems are probably connected to your pee or prolapse problems, and what to do about it. Or, more simply, how your #2 is ruining your #1 (and your vag).
How Your #2 is Ruining Your #1
Normal poop function is actually fascinating. Your amazing body uses cues from various places, including stretch receptors in stomach, at junction of small and large colon, and tension in actual rectum, to adjust the speed of “colic transit”, or speed of moving “the stuff” through the tubes.
Once the poop reaches the bottom of the tube, it is collected and held, until the time is right (and/or the volume is right), and when you sit on the toilet and deliberately RELAX your pelvic floor muscles (rectum, to be specific), that is the final “go” signal for the lower colon to push the held poop out.
YOU don’t push your poop out. Your Colon Does (or should).
But if we’re constipated, and the colic transit time is slow…the poop can be extra hard….and if our pelvic floor muscles can’t relax (because we’re not connected to them), then ‘we’ might end up straining to push the poop out. And this straining is what ruins our pelvic floor, and can contribute to prolapse, pee leaks, and other terrible things (like heart attacks, even!).
Poop Problems Irritate the Bladder, Causing More Pee Problems
Furthermore, poop problems (loose or dry) also irritate the pelvic nerves to the bladder, making the bladder angry, thereby increasing the chances of problematic pee urges, and even leaks.
Poop Problems Cause Our Postural Muscles to Turn Off
And the #2 isn’t done wreaking havoc yet! If the poop problems stick around, whether they are loose, stuck, or alternating, our brains start to ignore our core muscles! Yes, it’s true! The brain tries to protect us from the discomfort, so it ‘ignores’ the core. This results in persistent poop problems AS WELL AS a ‘turning off’ of some of the supportive muscles of your abdomen, due to pain. When these muscles shut down, there is even more elevated downward pressure onto the bladder and bowels, again increasing the chances of pee leaks or gas leaks = 😢😭.
Poop Problems Cause Even Tighter Pelvic Muscles
Yes, you are a tight-ass. And when I call you that, it’s not a compliment, but a reality check.
When a human has a poop problem, (loose, constipated or alternating), they nearly always have supa-tight pelvic floor muscles. We know, from my various social accounts, and from other blog posts, that tight muscles are never strong.
Tighter Pelvic Muscles Cause Even Harder Poops
Yep, tight pelvic floor muscles are never good, but in the case of the rectum and anus (the holder of poop, and the actual back door, if you will), there’s an EXTRA bad effect, activation of the Recto-Anal Inhibitory Reflex, or RAIR for short. Here’s a whole post about it, in depth, but the gist is this: sometimes we can’t poop right where we are, and we need a few minutes to get to a socially acceptable place (like not my work chair). The RAIR is useful in those times to temporarily send poop back up the tube, and buy me 5 minutes to get to a toilet.
But here’s the thing…chronically tight rectal muscles chronically activate this RAIR, so our poop just keeps getting pushed back into the tubes, causing it to be harder, and harder…and suddenly we are trying to poop out a Yule Log 🙁
The Brain-Body Disconnect Rears its ugly head
Due to that handy brain-body disconnect in the presence of pain-discomfort-problems, etc, your brain is no longer on speaking terms with the nerves that report the position of the pelvic muscles…so you don’t even know that they’re tight 🙁🙁
And we can’t relax what we don’t know is tight…much less bear down normally to initiate the poop reflex.
And Thus, Tight Pelvic Muscles Also Cause Hemorrhoids AND Pee Leaks AND Prolapse Symptoms 😡
So we’re left with this supa-tight pelvic floor (again, not a compliment), that we don’t know is tight, and that we don’t have great control of, so we can’t get it out of the way of the Yule Log Poop that has been brewing for the past 3 days.
So we often PUSH and STRAIN, to force the poop out. But we also force “other stuff” out…like hemorrhoids…or ‘stuff’ (bladder, uterus, rectum) out of our vag (which is commonly called prolapse).
And the PUSHING and STRAINING to get the hard poop out also pushes and strains your pelvic floor muscles as well, making them less able to provide optimal upward pelvic pressure. Which = MORE leaks, and more prolapse symptoms. 🙁 😡 And thus, your bad habits with #2 are ruining your #1.
To Summarize: Poop Problems Are the Root of All Evil
At least in the pelvic health world.
So if you are having pee, poop, pelvic pain, or seggsy time problems, or persistent abdominal or low back pain, your poop habits, consistency and position are as important as your pee habits! My courses teach you about this, keep scrolling to find one that fits your needs!
xoxo, Dr. Kelly