Issues around poo are not things we generally talk about, and yet they say the gut is the second brain. If our digestive system isn’t working well it can impact hugely on our quality of life.
When the bowel and the pelvic floor are working in perfect harmony we feel a sensation that we need to pass stool, we make our way to the toilet, at our convenience and sit down and out it comes and we flush it away!
SYMPTOMS AND ISSUES
Problems arise when we lose that harmony. When the signals aren’t quite what they used to be. When the muscle just can’t hold on. Or when things just won’t come out. So for some people this easy process becomes difficult.
I treat men, women and children with various bowel issues, such as…
- Painful defaecation
- Sense of incomplete bowel emptying
- Difficulty cleaning
- Anal fissures
- Faecal urgency
- Faecal incontinence
- Poor control of wind
These issues may First arise immediately post partum as a result of damage to the muscle that surrounds the back passage.
Obstetric Anal Sphincter InjurieS (OASIS) occur in around 3% of deliveries in Ireland. Physiotherapy is the cornerstone of rehab for these injuries and women are followed up very closely and generally recover really well. During my time in The National Maternity Hospital, treatment of these injuries made up a large portion of my caseload, so I have a lot of experience with the signs and symptoms of anal sphincter injuries and have even been involved in developing national guidelines in the management of OASIS.
Damage to the muscle or nerves in the pelvic floor that wasn’t diagnosed at the time of delivery can give rise to unexpected episodes of faecal urgency or incontinence.
Loss of control of a bowel movement is embarrassing and for some terrifying. It may only happen once but the fear of it ever happening again can actually lead to social isolation in some cases.
On the other end of the spectrum, one painful episode of constipation, for a child for instance, can be enough to set off a life long habit of holding on and difficulty passing stool.
Physiotherapy is about understanding the ‘why’ and then going about to resolve the symptoms, improving muscle function and quality of life.
I’m quite sure there is nothing you could tell me that I haven’t heard before, and as embarrassed as you might feel, I will listen in confidence and help you come up with a plan!
My aim is to bring patients from a place of worry to a place where they feel fearless and ready to cope with anything.