Learn how to change your toileting position to better relax the pelvic muscles, making it easier to eliminate stool from the body.
Hospital stays and prolonged illness can wreak havoc on our digestive systems. If you are struggling with bowel movements, there is a helpful toileting position that makes it easier to eliminate stool from the body and relax the muscles around the rectum.
Your knees should be above your hips by at least 7 to 9 inches. To accomplish this, you can use a stepstool, a laundry basket, or toileting stool, as seen here.
Place your elbows on knees, leaning forward.
Place your jaw on your hands, and make sure your jaw muscles are relaxed. We are basically a long tube from our mouth to our bottom, and we want to stay as relaxed as possible along the whole length of that tube.
Breathe into your belly, so you can feel it expand against your thighs. You may also notice that the pelvic floor muscles between the legs relax or lower down with every belly breath.
Try to avoid straining on the toilet: it makes your pelvic muscles weaker, raises your blood pressure, increases pressure in the chest, can cause shortness of breath and (in people with cardiac issues) can cause an irregular heart rate.
If you feel the need to strain/push for bowel movements, though, try this: inhale into the belly and do a long exhale with pursed lips. This creates downward pressure. You can increase that pressure by tightening the abdominal muscles as you exhale.