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Secret Weapon Against Constipation
Photo: Stocksy/ Raymond Forbes LLC
Gabrielle Kassel of the website Well + Good reached out to me for some tips on avoiding constipation and alleviating its symptoms when it does occur. In short, we discussed how your pelvic floor can be a secret weapon against constipation. Here is a brief synopsis of the article along with a link to the full article below.

Heather Jeffcoat, DPT

Looking for a Secret Weapon Against Constipation?

Look to Your Pelvic Floor.

Constipation can be physically uncomfortable, but it can also be downright frustrating. Whether factors like dietary habits, dehydration, or stress trigger your constipation, it can be tempting to fight it by forcing a bowel movement. Straining, however, isn't a great idea. It's not super effective, and it can increase your risk of anal fissures and prolapse.

Instead, a key to relieving constipation might actually involve relaxing your pelvic floor.

For the uninitiated, your pelvic floor is a hammock-like group of muscles resting in your pelvis that support your organs and control how and when you go to the restroom, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your pelvic floor muscles need to relax and release to expel poop, says Heather Jeffcoat, DPT, a pelvic floor therapist and Femina PT. Relaxation allows the anal sphincter muscle to open, so you're able to have a bowel movement.

Yes, straining and squeezing the muscles you use for the bathroom (like the sphincter, lower diaphragm, and core) can sometimes help get things moving, but it can also make you tighten your muscles, which in turn makes it harder to pass stool, Dr. Jeffcoat says. So, to help you relax your pelvic floor, Dr. Jeffcoat offers the following suggestions:

1. Practice deep breathing before, during, and after

Deep breathing is one of the primary exercises Dr. Jeffcoat recommends if you're sitting on the toilet with no luck. To start: Inhale slowly and feel your rib cage expand, then gently exhale, Dr. Jeffcoat says.

Repeat this a few times; with each breath, think about inhaling all the way down into your pelvic floor. Both your diaphragm and your pelvic floor should drop and lengthen as you inhale."

Dr. Jeffcoat recommends you start doing this before you're in the bathroom; stage fright is a real thing. Continue breathing when you're in the bathroom, but she adds that if you don't go within 5 minutes, it's a good idea to try again later.

2. Try not to sit on the toilet for too long

It can be upsetting when time passes, and you're just not going. Instead of sitting there, grab some water, eat fiber-rich food, and try gentle movement like walking before attempting to go again. If you're dealing with frequent consipation, Dr. Jeffocat recommends meeting with a nutritionist or dietician to find a diet that alleviates your symptoms.

For more tips on how your pelvic floor is your secret weapon against constipation, click here to continue to the full article.

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No one could tell me why I was having pain during sex--sharp pain, not just uncomfortable, pain. I was referred to Heather Jeffcoat after researching several different options. I had seen a specialist who told me physical therapy would not help and my only option was surgery. I really didn't want to go that route, so when we got a referral, I decided to try it--it can't hurt, I thought. I am so glad I did. She diagnosed the problem right away, which was a relief in itself.

To know why I was having pain eased my mind immensely. And to hear that she could fix it without surgery was another relief. She said she could fix the problem in 6 weeks. I think it was actually 4 for me. She was very methodical, and treated me as an intelligent human being capable of participating in my own recovery. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone. She did not try to prolong my session numbers, she worked hard to accommodate my schedule (and the fact that I had to bring a baby to sessions), and she was completely honest the entire time. It is so hard to find someone with these characteristics, much less a professional who is so good at what she does. She has my highest respect.

-- R.H.

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I wish i could give this place 10 stars!! 
I have been suffering from vaginismus for 5 years and never found the cure to it. I had seen an ob/gyn and he diagnosed me with vaginismus and told me i needed a surgery to cure my condition, which i refused to do. He also referred me to a PT that he works with, i had given them multiple calls and they never responded back to me, so i started searching yelp for another PT. I am SO HAPPY I found Heather's office! I was working with Laureen, and with her guidance and techniques i was able to be cured from vaginismus in only 2 1/2 short months!!! I couldn't believe how quickly their program worked for me! I am forever grateful and thankful from Heather, and Laureen! They are the absolute best at what they do!

Read more: Testimonial by Ann V.

Testimonial by M.N., age 28

A personal journey and testimonial from one of my patients:

I was diagnosed with vaginismus 4 years ago. I never heard of such medical condition until after I got married. At first my husband and I didn't know what to do, we didn't know what the issues were or how to overcome it. Being born and raised in Armenia and being Christian I wasn't that open about talking to sex with others and so it wasn't easy to seek help. But eventually I went to an Ob-Gyn and luckily she knew about the medical condition (not many doctors know). She referred me to a physical therapist and I couldn't believe it and thought it's something I can handle myself. I ordered a kit from vaginismus.com and started practicing with dilators. There was some small progress but wasn't much helpful.

Read more: Testimonial by M.N., age 28

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Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

-- Alexandra B., 5/20/2015 via Yelp!

Testimonial by Alexandra B.

Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

-- Alexandra B., 5/20/2015 via Yelp!

Testimonial by S.H., age 24

I just wanted to thank you for everything you've done for me for the past 19 months. I literally could not have reached my goals without you and your practice. You gave me the courage to keep moving forth with my treatment no matter how afraid and anxious I was. You were always there to answer questions and made this whole process so much easier than I expected it to be.

It's because of you that my marriage is on the right track, that I can get pregnant and that this part of my life is finally over. I really feel that Fusion Wellness is a team of people you can call family and are there to root for you and cheer you on until you reach your goals. There is nothing better than knowing I accomplished this with you guys by my side and as calmly and patiently as I needed. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being there and helping me reach my goals.

S.H., age 24

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