STUCK ON THE TOILET WITH CONSTIPATION | 6 GUIDELINES

Reviewed by: Horia Marculescu, MD


figure in front of the toilet feeling stuck

If you’re stuck on the toilet with constipation then do the following:

  • Step away from the bowl.
  • Relax your body entirely.
  • Stay in the squat position for 5-10 minutes to relax the anal sphincter.
  • Take a laxative if it is necessary.
  • Contract and strain the rectum.
  • Go to the toilet again.

When you feel the stool is ready, gently contract the abdomen and gently strain the rectum. In this way, you will be able to poop smoothly.

If you follow the guidelines and learn all the techniques, you will be able to prepare your body, know when not to force yourself, and have smooth defecation in the long-term.

Also, you will know what to do whenever you get stuck again.





1. STEP AWAY FROM THE TOILET

girl stuck on the toilet with constipation image

If you’re stuck on the toilet with constipation, now it is time to step away from the toilet bowl.

This thing means that

  • the puborectalis muscles are not relaxed
  • the anal sphincter is not relaxed
  • the stool is dry and can’t move

Dry stool sticks to the intestine walls like glue.

But usually, your entire bottom (hips, rectum, sphincter, and abdomen) suffer from numbness or soreness.

A dry stool can block the fecal matter coming from the small intestine.

This thing translates to the stool not having a clear path through the anorectal canal. Also, the anorectal angle is unnatural to unlock the kink at the beginning of the rectum. In this way, the stool can't pass through.


girl moving away from the toilet image

So, what you should do is to:

  • step away from the toilet
  • take a break and relax for 30-60 minutes
  • do no sit on a chair
  • try to do some light exercises
  • comeback later

The idea here is to turn your focus away from the toilet, pooping, and let your body react naturally.

If you’re searching to understand how to relieve constipation on the toilet in the long term, you should identify the causes first.

Dealing with the causes, will make your life so much better, rather than dealing with episodic symptoms of constipation.


The more you relax your body, the smoother the defecation will be.

When you’re stuck on the toilet and can’t poop, you must release the tension inside your body, especially in the rectum area.

This thing means to

  • get rid of all your negative emotions
  • get rid of stress
  • finish your tasks or study.

If you continue to feel the need to poop, don’t hold it. Just go to the toilet and try again. But try it gently and slowly.

But if you can’t poop, do not try to strain hard. Do not push your rectum, especially if you have gas inside the intestines.

By learning all of the techniques in this guide, you will be able to have smooth defecation.


What do the experts say?

In a review of chronic constipation in the elderly, the American Gastroenterological Association mentions that patients suffer from symptoms associated with hard and dry stools. [1]

The traditional criterion refers to a limited number of weekly evacuations, although patients mostly complain of symptoms associated with difficult stool passage, such as evacuation of hard or lumpy stools or the need of excessive efforts and/or manipulation during defecation.

Also, the need for straining with effort is present. [back to top]



2. FULLY RELAX YOUR BODY

girl lying on the couch and relaxing her body image

When you’re stuck on the toilet with constipation, and you want to have smooth defecation, it is essential to relax your body.

Fully relaxing your body helps

  • bowel movement
  • digestion
  • defecation

Consider eliminating all the causes that create physical fatigue and mental fatigue.

It is always impossible to get rid of every negative aspect of our life. It is difficult to know what to do when constipated on the toilet at first. But start small.


Relax your bottom

Relaxing your bottom means to not put too much pressure on the puborectalis muscles and anal sphincter.

It also means to

  • get up
  • do exercise
  • walk in your room or outside.

Sitting on the chair for more than 5 hours daily slows blood flow and develops muscle numbness or soreness.


Example

If it is Monday and you are at work, try to take a break from work every 60 minutes, and walk for 5 minutes. Also, rest for the next 5 minutes.


Get rid of negative emotions

Nothing makes you even more stuck on the toilet when constipated than negative emotions.

It is essential to get rid of everything that makes you feel upset or sad. Stress is a cause of constipation.

Negative emotions and stress affect the nervous system in the tummy area.

This thing means that digestion and defecation will not be a priority in that stress time interval.


Example

If you have a deadline or an exam, you will go through a period of stress that keeps the brain and the body temperature working at full capacity.


Take short breaks and vacation

Constipation is a symptom, and it is the result of several causes.

Here are three major causes of constipation

  • the lack of changing stressful scenery
  • the lack of healthy eating habits
  • the lack of proper blood flow

Go on vacations between stressful work intervals. Go somewhere quiet and full of fresh air once every month. No one cares that you work or study hard.

Nothing works best to fully relax your body than a short vacation on the mountainside. Sun and heat do not improve your mood always.


What do the experts say?

In a clinical review on the Intestinal Involvement in Systematic Sclerosis published on the US National Library of Medicine website, the authors recommend rest as a general measure for constipation. [2]

General measures are applied for constipation, and intestine rest plus antibiotics for pseudo-obstruction. Fecal incontinence is managed with measures for associated SIBO, or constipation, and with behavioral therapies.

There are many other ways to relax your body. Just choose the ones that suit your schedule and situation. [back to top]



3. RELAX THE SPHINCTER

relaxing the sphincter anatomy with squatting image

No one likes to be stuck on the toilet with constipation, especially if the sphincter is not relaxed.

A relaxed sphincter will make you poop because:

  • motility and pressure move the stool towards the rectum
  • the rectum prepares stool for evacuation
  • the rectum opens and evacuates the stool

Squatting on the floor is an excellent way to relax the sphincter.

Squat for 5-10 minutes and take pauses. After 10 minutes of squatting, the sphincter, the rectum, and the muscles around them should feel relaxed.


You can semi-squat on the toilet seat

If you can’t squat on the floor, use the toilet or a chair and lift your feet

  • foot-stool
  • squatty potty
  • the toes of your feet

Lifting your feet will help you relax the sphincter and the rectum.

You can lift your heel, stick the toes of your feet on the floor, and keep your knees higher. So, stay calm and try to relax your sphincter and rectum.


What do the experts say?

The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders presents in a guide about constipation that sphincter relaxation is essential to having defecation. [3]

When puborectalis or external anal sphincter relaxation is incomplete, functional obstruction (pelvic floor dyssynergia, also referred to as anismus) may occur.

The guide also mentions that irregularities in muscular relaxation can develop abnormal from birth. [back to top]



4. TAKE A LAXATIVE

colonoscopy preparation laxative with powder and water image

Taking laxatives is a fast way to have smooth defecation. But it is very short-term relief than can sometimes help us.

Doctors do not recommend the use of laxatives in the long-term.

When you’re stuck on the toilet with constipation, it is vital to eliminate the causes first. Keep in mind to eliminate the causes.

There are many over the counter laxatives and doctor-prescribed ones. Try to avoid as much as a possible medication because it can create dependencies.


What you can do once a year is to

  • take a day off from work or study
  • take a colonoscopy preparation laxative
  • have the intestines clean

This type of laxative empties the intestines, similar to an enema.

It does not have side-effects, but it requires eating only liquid foods that day. It is like preparing for a colonoscopy without doing it. A colonoscopy requires to have the intestinal walls clean and no stool around for inspection.

You can talk to your doctor about this.

It is better to take such a laxative rather than doing an enema at home.


Example

As an example, view digestion and defecation as having to change oil for the motor of your car.

The motor pistons run smoothly lubricated with engine oil.

You know that, if you don’t change the oil, the following will happen:

  • the pistons will not have lubrication,
  • they will damage the interior engine walls
  • they engine consumes more oil

Also, if there are impurities (dry stool) in the engine block, they will damage the pistons' canal (intestinal walls).

It is the same with colonoscopy preparation laxatives. If you do not evacuate the dry stool that sticks like glue to the intestinal walls, you will not have smooth defecation.

It is essential to take such laxative yearly because it evacuates the dry sticky stool, and it keeps the intestinal walls clean.


What do the experts say?

A study called Optimal Laxatives for Oral Colonoscopy Bowel Preparation: from High-volume to Novel Low-volume Solutions presents the oral colonoscopy procedure and how to use these laxatives. [4]

Optimal bowel preparation is essential for a more accurate, comfortable, and safe colonoscopy. ... Laxatives for oral colonoscopy bowel preparation can be classified into polyethylene glycol (PEG)-electrolyte lavage solution, osmotic laxatives, stimulant laxatives, and divided into high-volume solution (≥3 L) and low-volume solution (<3 L).

The guide refers to bowel preparation, safe dosing, and safe recommendations of the national colorectal diseases screening program.

The American Academy of Family Physicians presents a more detailed guide for laxatives that you can check here. [5]

Constipation can usually be treated with medicines called laxatives. Many laxatives are available over-the-counter (OTC).

The guide refers to bowel preparation, safe dosing, and safety recommendations of the national colorectal disease screening program. [back to top]



5. CONTRACT THE ABDOMEN

girl abdominal muscle contraction for pooping image

Why to do it?

If you’re stuck on the toilet with constipation, you should start contracting the abdomen muscles.

The tummy is a sensitive area that keeps the small and large intestines in their place.

The purposes of contracting the abdomen muscles are:

  • to contract the muscles near the intestines
  • to expand the intestines
  • to move the fecal matter for evacuation

Contracting the muscles in the abdomen will make the intestines to move and contract involuntarily.


How to do it?

If you are sitting on the toilet, you should start contracting your abdominal muscles slowly.

Take a deep breath and keep the air inside. Push the intestines and the rectum as if you were pooping. Slowly strain for 5-10 minutes.

Do the following:

  • push and shrink your belly to expand slowly
  • push your abdomen as if you were pooping once every 5 seconds
  • take a pause.

Start slowly and increase the pressure gradually using the force of the muscles.


Example

Take a deep breath, keep the air inside, and gently contract the abdomen for 10 minutes.

If you can’t poop after this time interval, you can repeat the steps for another 5 minutes. You can also contract the abdomen by doing any other physical exercise if it suits you well.


What do the experts say?

In the guide called Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (second edition) published by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), physical activity combined with sitting less is recommended for adults of all ages. [6]

The first key guideline for adults is to move more and sit less. This recommendation is based on new evidence that shows a strong relationship between increased sedentary behavior and increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and all-cause mortality.

The guide includes many other recommendations like

  • preventing stomach cancer
  • preventing esophagus cancer
  • preventing excessive weight gain

The guide also focuses on lowering the risk of injuries from falls and managing health conditions. [back to top]



6. PUSH AS IF YOU WERE POOPING

a girl gently pushing and straining to poop image

Pushing your abdomen and rectum as if you were pooping is a useful technique to master whenever you get stuck on the toilet with constipation. But push gently.


Gently strain the rectum

When the rectum gives you signal that you need to poop, gently strain and contract your abdomen to evacuate the stool.

Keep straining the rectum area gently for 1-3 minutes. No more than 3 minutes.

If you feel the stool is ready, then push to evacuate it.

You can push harder if there is a large quantity of stool that you need to evacuate. Do not create too much pressure in the intestines by forcing the abdomen. If you don`t feel any pain or irritation, you can push faster and with more force.


Differences between strains

Straining the rectum

  • focuses on the stool in the rectum
  • uses pressure from early contraction
  • gives the internal sphincter signals

Even if the sphincter is not relaxed, you can still simulate as if you were pooping.

Push slowly inside your intestines for 5-10 minutes.

Do this thing once every 5-10 seconds with low intensity.

When you feel just a slight sensation that you can poop, increase the intensity, and push the inside slowly. If there is enough stool inside the large intestines that is ready for evacuation, push as hard but do not force it.

In this way, you can determine if it’s good or not.

Pushing and putting too much pressure can harm the rectum. This thing can create pain, irritation, and hemorrhoids that can pop out.


Now repeat the steps

Repeat the steps above until your body is ready. It might take more than 15 minutes if you suffer from chronic constipation.

If you get stuck on the toilet with constipation and you need to poop immediately, do not force your abdomen and intestines.

Pushing the interior of your abdomen creates:

  • gas inside the intestines
  • puborectalis muscle soreness
  • involuntary pressure inside the intestines

The gas helps defecation. But gas can create embarrassing situations when suffering from flatulence.


What do the experts say?

A study about Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Refractory Constipation, published on the World Gastroenterology Organization website, presents the causes of constipation and straining as a way to apply manual pressure. [7]

Patients use a broad range of symptoms to describe constipation, including being irregular, having hard stools, …as well as a need to strain or apply manual pressure.

The study also refers to defecation as it occurs using a neurologically series of muscle movements located in the rectum area.

Although not related, here is another study about constipation. [8]

The study defines constipation and the ways to strain for obtaining better results in constipation relief. [back to top]



7. WHAT ELSE HELPS?

hot teacup and laxatives image

1. Take volume laxatives

Their effect is almost immediate and will help you poop easily with the techniques mentioned above.

Do not take strong laxatives when you're at work or school. It will protect you from embarrassing situations.


2. Take bile or pancreatic supplements

Sometimes, bile and pancreatic supplements are faster than laxatives.

If you are stuck on the toilet with constipation and you don`t want to take laxatives, then bile or pancreatic supplements will help you a lot.

These supplements help with the enzymes that digestion needs. If the food that you eat is well digested, you will have no problems with stool evacuation.


3. Do pushups

If you have the luxury to contract your muscles whenever you want to poop, do them.

Doing pushups is good for muscle and bowel movement. And combined with the techniques mentioned above, it will help you poop easily.


4. Drink hot tea or hot soup

Hot liquids act similar to bile and pancreatic supplements.

Heat causes the muscles and the intestines to force the stool to move quickly.

If your large intestine is full of stool, you can eat a hot vegetable soup or warm tea. You can also drink a cup of hot milk just before going to bed. [back to top]



8. A WORD OF CAUTION

If you get stuck on the toilet too often, then it is time to visit a doctor. Especially if you feel discomfort long periods of time.

Also, you should consider

  • doing more physical exercise
  • changing your eating habits
  • replace solid food with more liquid food

In this way, you will find out if solid food (flour, bread, cheese, eggs, and sugar) is the cause. [back to top]



9. CONCLUSION

Relaxing your body and the anal sphincter is the secret when you get stuck on the toilet with constipation.

You should be able by now to know when it is time to step away from the toilet.

Having a relaxed state of mind and a healthy body makes pooping easier. A tired body can’t handle smooth defecation.

Learn all of these techniques in this guide and use them whenever you need to go to the toilet. [back to top]



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About the author

My name is Sebastian D., and I am the senior editor of constipationguide.com. With the help of my mentor, Dr. Horia Marculescu, I decided to create a practical guide to constipation relief.. read more



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