Natural constipation relief can be gained using this ‘Brace and Bulge’ bowel emptying technique.
This technique is an effective way of relaxing your pelvic floor, avoiding straining and relieving constipation.
Straining with constipation can cause pelvic floor problems including pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, pelvic pain and pelvic floor weakness.
This video teaches you a natural method of constipation relief that stops straining.
Scroll below this video for guidelines, tips and common mistakes to avoid to help you relieve constipation without straining.
How to Relieve Constipation
1. Correct Posture for Constipation Relief
It’s important to set yourself up for success by using the correct position for emptying your bowels. Using the posture outlined below helps the pelvic floor muscles relax and the diaphragm move downwards to assist bowel emptying (1).
Correct bowel emptying position:
- Sit on the toilet seat (never hover) with your feet supported*
- Take your legs wide apart
- Lean forward at your hips
- Support your trunk with your hands or elbows resting on your thighs
- Keep your chest lifted and your spine straight and long
- Maintain the inward curve in your lower back throughout your bowel movement
- Some people benefit from using a small footstool to assist bowel emptying and this is often a matter of individual preference.
2. Brace and Bulge or "Moo to Poo"
The most effective bowel emptying technique to avoid straining is the ‘Brace and Bulge’ technique.
This technique helps you avoid straining with constipation by relaxing the pelvic floor muscles and generating pressure within the abdomen rather pushing and straining than down through the pelvic floor (1, 2).
Brace and Bulge technique for bowel emptying:
- Breathe in deeply so that your lower abdomen (belly) relaxes forwards as you inhale
- Repeat 4-5 deep breaths
- Make your waist wide by saying the “M” sound. This action generates the pressure for your bowel movement.
- Bulge your lower abdomen forwards by saying “OO”. This action relaxes the circular muscles around opens your anal sphincter.
- If you need to generate further pushing pressure, repeat the “M” sound again
- Maintain the breath you have while performing this technique
- Draw up through your pelvic floor muscles when you complete emptying
3. Common Mistakes to Avoid with Constipation
Repeated straining and even one episode of straining forcefully can cause pelvic floor damage.
People often make these similar mistakes when trying to empty their bowel with constipation.
Common mistakes contributing to constipation and pelvic floor injury:
- Pushing (bearing) down through the pelvic floor
- Straining to empty
- Pulling the tummy muscles inwards
- Losing the inward curve in the lower back and slumping forwards
- Hovering over the toilet rather than sitting on the seat (1)
- Increasing fibre intake can actually worsen constipation in the short-term. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist about stool softening medication if your stool is too hard to empty using the technique described here. When you’ve successfully emptied your bowels you can gradually introduce the appropriate diet for avoiding constipation.
- Deferring the urge to empty the bowels can cause emptying problems. Try to empty your bowels when you first feel the appropriate urge unless you’re prone to faecal incontinence problems and undergoing bowel retraining.
Prolapse Exercises Book
Exercise safely after a prolapse
Reduce your risk of repeat prolapse
Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
Choose safe exercises
Reduce your risk of prolapse worsening
Improve prolapse support
Safely strengthen your core
1. Markwell, S. (2001) Physical therapy management of pelvi/perineal and perianal pain syndromes. World Journal of Urology. Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 194–199.
2. Markwell, S. and Sapsford, R. (1995) Physiotherapy Management of Obstructed Defecation. Aus J Physio. Volume 41, pp 279-283.