Constipation may include any of these symptoms:
- Bowel movement frequency less than 3 times per week
- Difficulty emptying or incomplete emptying sensation
- Blockage or feeling of stool being stuck
- Hard or lumpy stools
- Excessive reliance on laxatives
- Needing to use finger to assist with removing stool from the rectum
Other bowel symptoms that pelvic health rehabilitation therapists can address include abdominal bloating and pain with bowel movements. Treatment may include pelvic floor muscle coordination training to reduce constipation that is due to outlet dysfunction.
Outlet dysfunction is when the pelvic floor muscles are tightening instead of relaxing which is needed for us to pass bowel movements out of our rectum. Therapists may also use biofeedback, relaxation techniques, abdominal massage, exercise, and other self-care strategies or techniques to assist with improving bowel health. Functional progression including balloon expulsion training if indicated may also be used as a treatment tool.