Safe Bowel Movement After Prolapse Surgery

Bowel movement position after prolapse surgery

Are you worried about straining and causing another prolapse with your bowel movement after prolapse surgery?


Straining with constipation is a major risk for repeat prolapse after prolapse surgery.



Read on now to learn:

  • The best position for your bowel movement after prolapse surgery
  • Correct technique to avoid straining 
  • How to get the right stool consistency 

The Best Position for Your Bowel Movement After Prolapse Surgery

  • Sit on the toilet seat (never hover)
  • Place your feet flat on the floor
  • Rest your hands or forearms on your thighs to support your trunk
  • Lean your trunk forwards
  • Keep the inward curve in your lower back during emptying (see bowel emptying position above)


  • A pad or wad of toilet paper rolled up can be placed against the pelvic floor using one hand for support. This technique is known as pelvic splinting. This added support can improve your comfort and limit downward pelvic floor movement when emptying your bowels.
  • Some women find that having their knees raised assists bowel emptying. This position can be achieved with the legs apart by placing each foot on a toilet roll, thick book or block.

Correct Technique to Avoid Straining

The correct technique for your bowel movement after prolapse surgery is the ‘Brace and Bulge’ Technique.

    1. Prepare for emptying by taking 5-6 relaxed breaths (breathing into your belly with slow deep breaths helps your pelvic floor muscles relax)
    2. Brace your abdominal muscles to by making the sound “m” or “s”. This action makes your waist wider and provides pushing force for your bowel movement.

Bracing bowel movement after prolapse surgery

3. Now bulge your lower abdomen forwards. You can do this by is making the “oo” sound. Bulging your abdomen forwards relaxes and opens your anal sphincter for your bowel movement to pass.

Bulge abdomen technique for bowel movement after prolapse surgery4. If you need more pressure make your waist wider by bracing once more.

Watch our online video demonstrating this bowel movement position and technique

How to Get the Right Stool Consistency

Having the correct stool consistency is vital. If your stool is too hard or too soft it can be difficult to empty your bowels completely and avoid straining.

The Bristol Stool Chart below shows you the ideal stool consistency for your bowel movement.

Bristol Stool Chart

Click to enlarge

Type 3-4 is the ideal stool consistency – it is soft well formed and smooth

Type 1-2 causes constipation and straining – when the stool is hard, cracked or lumpy

Type 5-7 can cause diarrhoea and straining as the stool is not well formed

Solutions for Stool Consistency After Prolapse Surgery

You may experience short-term constipation after surgery as a result of being less active than usual, taking pain relieving medications and change in diet.

If you have long-term constipation and straining or diarrhoea it’s vital to rectify this to avoid repeat prolapse after your surgery.


  • Use a stool softener/osmotic laxative (e.g. Movicol) to keep your stool soft and easy to pass – especially during your short-term recovery. Discuss the best stool medication with your medical care provider.
  • Adhere to the correct diet to keep your stool soft if you suffer from constipation
  • Maintain adequate fluid intake especially if you are taking pain relief or osmotic laxatives
  • Stay active with appropriate exercise after prolapse surgery to help keep your bowels regular
  • Anticipate events that make you constipated e.g. travel and take appropriate preventative action
  • Anticipate lifestyle factors that can cause diarrhoea e.g. stress or bowel irritant foods

It is vital to avoid bearing down and straining during your regular bowel movement after prolapse surgery protect your prolapse repair long-term. Practicing this bowel movement method will help you manage your prolapse repair long-term.


prolapse exercises

with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway

Learn how to exercise safely, strengthen your prolapse and reduce your risk of repeat prolapse.

Prolapse Exercises is a complete exercise guide for women after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.



We Welcome Your Comments



  1. I had my third prolapse surgery and was told I’d be constipated short term but I gave developed long term constipation sling with acid reflux or ibs doctors have given me all kinds of tests and all are negative. I got an ultrasound of the abdomen, a cat scan etc but nothing shows up I also got an endoscopy and nothing. I feel nauseous and I’m not having a normal stool emptying. Not sure what’s next.

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Patricia
      This may sound left of field but have you thought about seeing a qualified dietician? It sounds as though your gut microbiome may be imbalanced. The balance in gut flora can become unbalanced after surgery and lead to symptoms like yours that can’t be explained otherwise leading to symptoms such as nausea, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea. You may like to read this article on diet after hysterectomy for some more information on FODMAPS too and see whether it seems relevant to you (while the title reads hysterectomy it also applies to prolapse surgery). Always keen to hear how you go if you have time, I hope this helps you

  2. My daughter had rectal prolapse surgery late Mid August. She was doing great for a few weeks after the surgery. She is now having immense pain and constipation blockage in the upper portion of her bowel. What could be causing the constipation?

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Renae
      Many factors can cause constipation after prolapse surgery. It’s impossible to know without a thorough assessment and this needs to be undertaken by her doctor. All the best

  3. What is “hover”?