Do you have trouble going number 2? It is not that uncommon for individuals to have trouble using the bathroom, but how does one aid in improving bowel movements? One has to retrain their bowels, but how?
The goal of bowel retraining is to return you to a normal and convenient pattern of defecation. People who experience fecal incontinence, constipation, and difficulty with defecation or incomplete bowel emptying can show improvement with this retraining technique. The success of the technique depends on your discipline and compliance with the program.
The Retraining Program:
Each morning, go to the toilet and completely empty your bladder. Then sit on the toilet for an additional 5 minutes with your feet on a stool. This is to give your body the opportunity to have a bowel movement. Repeat this process 5 minutes after each meal.
Do not push or strain or try to force a bowel movement. Nothing may happen during those 5 minutes and that is okay! Focus on breathing and relaxing your pelvic floor muscles.
It is never okay to suppress a bowel urge. Even if you already went to the bathroom, you still need to follow the schedule. Remember, we are retraining for proper frequency and regularity.
It is natural to urinate when you sit on the toilet, no need to suppress this but be cautious of when you go to prevent excessive urinary frequency which could lead to bladder dysfunctions.
Food and Drinks
What you eat and drink influences your bowel function.
You must eat between 25 - 35 g of fiber a day. This should be spread between meals. Do not take a high fiber supplement. Too much at one time can have adverse effects. Balance is key.
You must drink water for fiber to work! You must sip water throughout the day averaging 4- 6 oz every hour. Do not go several hours without water and then drink a lot of water quickly to “catch up”. Create a habit of sipping water consistently throughout the day.
Take a probiotic that has a minimum of 20 billion cultures daily with food for digestive health. Ask your doctor or dietician for specific probiotic recommendations.
Problems and Setbacks
Setbacks are not uncommon if you have been ill with a cold or flu, are tired, cannot completely concentrate on the program, feel nervous or tense, sensitive to cold weather, traveling, or about to start your menstrual cycle.
If there is no access to a foot stool, raise your heels to bring your knees higher than your hips, however, try to keep the tension out of your pelvic floor if you do this. It is best when you can relax.
Wake up → 1 & 2*
Breakfast → 1 & 2*
1 [ 3 hours later ]
Lunch: 1 & 2*
1 [ 3 hours later ]
Dinner → 1 & 2*
1 before bed
2* = within 5 minutes of finishing the meal, and sit for 5 mins. Stool
1 = Urination
NOTE** = Depending on how much time is between breakfast, lunch, and dinner you may have to urinate again. Try to not urinate sooner than 2 hours unless that conflicts with when you have to sit to 2*.
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