Constipation and Pelvic Pain

Pooping. Not a topic most of us feel comfortable discussing. However, once we look at the important relationship of the intestines, bladder, and muscles and their interaction with the pelvic and hip bones, you might be see how important this discussion is. If you have ever had trouble moving your bowels it is easy to describe the severe discomfort that occurs in the belly, lower abdomen or even low back. The fact of the matter is that all of the structures related to eating and drinking are inter-connected within a system of tissue called fascia. This fascia runs from the abdomen, belly and trunk muscles down into the floor of the pelvis and hip joints.  So any stress or trauma in the organs (liver, gallbladder, stomach, intestines, bladder) can have a direct effect on the muscles, (belly, back, buttocks, hip, and thigh), which overlap and intertwine with the organs, fascia, and nerves.

Bowel dysfunctions can include:

  • Constipation
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Incomplete emptying of bowel
  • Inability to hold back gas
  • Inability to pass gas
  • Fecal Incontinence
  • Malabsorbtion (Celiac Disease)

Unfortunately most of these issues are chronic, meaning lasting for more than 6 months. Many people deal with these issues for a large portion of their lives. When considering the relationship of these organs to structure and muscle tissue think of the effects they can have on movement. If your belly is chronically tight your movements can therefore be tight. The spine might not move in all of the directions necessary to develop core strength and stability. Constant downward pressure, due to chronically full bowels, can cause chronic tension on the muscles. Chronic tension in these muscles can translate into pelvic, hip, or even low back pain and muscle weakness. The nerves that supply these organs and muscles can also be affected.

So once you start discussing any bowel issues that you might have, begin to consider the importance of re-educating the muscle and bone structures involved. Pelvic floor therapists are specially trained in re-training the habitual movement patterns that can occur as a result of chronic bowel dysfunction.