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Stop the Strain by Dr. Hailey Jackson

Stop the Strain by Dr. Hailey Jackson
  • PublishedMay 19, 2023

Ideally, you’re having a bowel movement once a day or every other day that is bristol stool 4 in nature. Now, this is not a win at all cost type of situation. Meaning, ideally you’re not pushing or straining to have a bowel movement, but rather waiting until your body is ready (and setting it up for success to have one daily) and letting your body do its thing.

I’m often asked to teach people how to engage their muscles for a bowel movement, and I love that people are wanting to optimize this, however it’s actually optimal to relax your pelvic floor muscles rather than engaging them.

You have a muscle called the puborectalis that attaches to the back of your pubic bone and wraps around the rectum and then attaches to the adjacent pubic bone. This muscle, when contracted, pulls on the rectum forward and makes it more challenging and less efficient to have a bowel movement. To be more efficient and effective you can relax the puborectalis and adjacent muscles and also alter your positioning.

Sitting with your feet elevated on a stool re-creates a natural pooping position that we all assume organically during childhood— think about toddlers when they go squat in the corner to poop. Sitting in this position allows the puborectalis to relax.

Additionally, breathing while having a BM rather than tensing up and holding your breath helps tremendously.

Invest in a Squatty potty—HC-HaileyTexasPT20 saves you 20%
Blow while you go — breathe it out, don’t push it out
Relax your muscles rather than contracting them to have a BM

For a more info, be sure to call 903-962-2600, or email, follow @thepowerfulpelvis on Instagram, or learn more at



Written By
Taylor Nye

Taylor Nye is the editor of Front Porch News. She has degrees from the University of Wisconsin in human biology, Latin American studies, and public health. She has previously worked at the Wisconsin State Journal, Tucson Weekly and Sulphur Springs News-Telegram. As a sixth generation Hopkins County resident, she loves celebrating our heritage and history.