WHAT TO DO WHEN CONSTIPATED ON THE TOILET | 7 STEPS TO POOP

Reviewed by: Horia Marculescu, MD


man sitting on the toilet bowl

First, prepare yourself and squat on the floor for 5-10 minutes to relax the anorectal canal. Second, use an anti-bacterial soap to clean the toilet bowl and the toilet seat.

Third, position yourself on the toilet bowl and squat there for 5 minutes to relax the puborectalis muscles and the sphincter.

Fourth, contract your abdomen slowly for 1-5 minutes to expand the intestines and move the stool. Fifth, slowly strain your tummy for 5-10 seconds.

Sixth, slowly strain your rectum for 5-10 seconds. The seventh step, pause to relax your body.

To have better results, try repeating steps 1-7 slowly. Follow the guide to learn more.





1. PREPARE YOUR BODY FIRST

girl on the toilet seat wondering what to do when constipated on the toilet image

Here’s what to do when constipated on the toilet in Step 1.

Preparation is everything when you learn how to relieve constipation on the toilet. You need to prepare your body before going to the toilet.

Preparation means to relax your body and to relax even more your bottom. The key to having smooth stool evacuation is relaxing your puborectalis muscles and sphincter.

This step is necessary if you want to poop without any effort in any given situation. Preparing your body and mind before going to the toilet is a great technique to improve bowel movement in the short term.

The reason is that many of us have issues with

  • temporary stress
  • negative emotions
  • other factors that change our mood.

Not to mention the bad eating habits of the majority of the population.

If any other symptoms related to constipation affect us, then we should know how to prepare ourselves quickly to have immediate stool evacuation.

Also, it is essential to know how to avoid intestinal pain and irritation.


Squat for 5-10 minutes before you go to the toilet

This technique is great for preparation. Especially before going to the toilet. It relaxes the lower part of your body, and it makes the intestines expand with the help of gas and transit.

Make sure that you use Step 1 as preparation for stool evacuation.

The Squat position or Semi-Squat are excellent positions that release tension. You can do it anywhere before going to the toilet.


Here is how to do it

  • Lower your body in the squat position
  • Stay there for 30-60 seconds
  • Lift your body up
  • Stay there for 30 seconds
  • Start all over for 5-10 times

These simple steps might be hard to do at first, but they will help you to relax your body. The steps are easy to memorize, that’s why you can practice them when taking a break from work.

Perfect practice makes perfect. So start slow. Practice the steps until your body feels comfortable.

If you follow all the steps in this article, you will be able to:

  • Have stool evacuation when your body needs to.
  • Control stool evacuation.
  • Have less painful symptoms.
  • Avoid embarrassing situations when there is gas in the intestines.

Also, you want to be in good physical shape. Preparing your body for stool evacuation means that you have to rest. A tired body can’t handle proper digestion and bowel movements.


girl preparing body before going to the toilet image

Get rid of negative emotions and stress

Negative emotions slow down digestion and stool evacuation. Our primitive or primal instinct appears whenever we deal with stress or negative situations.

Due to this fact, digestion slows down, and our body sends all the resources to the heart, lungs, and muscles. Stress influences these vitals every time we are in a difficult situation.

Long periods of stress combined with a diet low in nutrients and fiber are a cause of episodic constipation amongst adults and the elderly.

Due to this fact, the entire digestion slows down, and our body sends all the resources to the heart, lungs, and muscles. Stress influences these vitals every time we are in a difficult situation.


Get hydrated

Dehydration is another cause of constipation, especially in adults. Similar to stress, long periods of dehydration have only undesirable effects over digestion and bowel movement.

Before going to the toilet, drink one glass of non-carbonated mineral water. In this way, your body will know that you are ready to poop and will have enough water to keep the intestines hydrated.


What do the experts say?

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases presents lifting your feet on the toilet as a treatment for constipation. [1]

Try to relax your muscles or put your feet on a footstool to make yourself more comfortable.

The guideline also mentions to be patient and give yourself enough time until you have a bowel movement. When this thing happens, go immediately to the toilet.

The US National Library of Medicine presents in an article from the World Journal of Gastroenterology the fact that stress is a potential risk for constipation, especially from childhood. [2]

Biopsychosocial risk factors such as psychological stress, poor dietary habits, obesity and child maltreatment are commonly identified predisposing factors for Functional Constipation.

The NIDDK (The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) presents in its health guide that hydration helps to soften the stool to pass without problems. [3]

Drinking enough water and other liquids is also a good way to avoid dehydration. [back to top]



2. CLEAN THE TOILET

cleaning the toilet bowl with anti-bacterial soap and a sponge image

Step 2 is necessary because you don’t want to stay in a dirty environment. The body reacts fast and very negatively when we see dirty places.

Sometimes our body puts pressure on the intestines and the nervous system when we know the toilet bowl is dirty. This thing makes us nervous, constipated, and tense.


Example

  • stains inside the toilet bowl
  • dirt around the toilet bowl
  • dirty sinks with rust.

So, here’s what to do when constipated on the toilet with Step 2.

Clean the toilet bowl with anti-bacterial soap.

Before you clean the toilet, get a sponge for the toilet bowl and one for the toilet seat.

The presence of viruses and bacteria is real. If you work in a dirty environment or you have pets at home, this thing might be a problem.

As a general rule, do the following:

  • Clean your toilet bowl once every week.
  • Clean your toilet seat once every week.
  • Keep the sponges separately in a safe place
  • Mark the sponges to know which ones to use.

You can easily take bacteria in your intestines if the toilet seat and bowl have Helicobacter or Giardiasis

One of the best places to get bacteria is in homes where pets live.


Example

Another good example is public restrooms. When you need to poop, you need to stay relaxed on the toilet and not worry that you might get bacteria if you sit on the bowl.

Not to mention, if you are a girl, that is even more necessary.

The next thing you need to do is clean the sink in the toilet (with a different sponge, of course). Use anti-bacterial liquid soap or any other anti-bacterial liquid you consider safe.


Clean the toilet bowl and seat often

A clean toilet relaxes our body and mind. A clear mind will help to have proper stool evacuation.

The toilet room is a sanctuary for stress relief and rest. Keep your smartphone and your tablet away.

Do not get distracted while you suffer from constipation.

Get a supply of clean and soft toilet paper, with more than two layers of paper. Also, get anti-bacterial soap and anti-bacterial liquid to clean the toilet at least once a week.

Always remember: a clean and quiet environment is a good thing for constipation relief. [back to top]



3. SQUAT ON THE TOILET SEAT

semi-squat position on the toilet bowl with a footstool image

If you suffer from episodic constipation or a severe type, the position you stay on the toilet is essential. This thing improves the stool movement whenever you need to evacuate it.

So, what to do when constipated on the toilet in Step 3?

Take time to put the footstool near the toilet bowl. Make sure it does not move. Turn around and put your feet slowly. Try to lower your body slowly over the toilet seat.

If you don’t have a footstool or a stand, then squat 5-10 minutes before you go to the toilet.

In this way, your rectum and puborectalis muscles will relax before you decide to poop.


How does squatting work?

  • It relaxes the puborectalis muscles
  • It increases the anorectal angle
  • It unlocks the kink at the entrance of the rectum
  • The stool will evacuate because of the unlocked kink

Most of the time, sitting on the toilet is similar to sitting on a chair. This thing does not help much with constipation.

You can do this with or without a footstool.


Which position is the best?

The “Squat” or “Semi-Squat” position is the best.

You can do it on the toilet bowl or off it. This position keeps your knees above the toilet seat.

This position will help you to:

  • relax your bottom
  • make the sphincter create a straight path for stool evacuation

If the standard position of sitting on the toilet works for you, then that’s ok.

But If you suffer from severe or chronic constipation, you should consider buying or creating a footstool. With a footstool or squatty potty, you will only benefit from the best position to poop in when constipated.

You can stay in this position when you are in nature, and you don’t have a toilet at your disposal. Also, you can squat whenever you want during the day to relax your bottom often.

Take short breaks during your study or work and stay 1-3 minutes in that position.

So, learn how to stay in this position because it’s easy, and it will help you control when you want to poop.


What do the experts say?

The National Institute of Health presents squatting as an essential movement for health. It has positive biomechanical and neuromuscular implications on body control, strength, stability, and mobility. [4]

The squat movement pattern is required for essential activities of daily living such as sitting, lifting and most sporting activities.

Squatting is an excellent position to consider because it improves digestion and motility. It does so by releasing tension in the abdomen and rectum.

You can do this with or without a footstool. [back to top]



4. CONTRACT THE UPPER ABDOMEN

abdomen contraction to move the stool image

Here is what to do when constipated on the toilet in Step 4.

After you’re in position on the toilet seat, you need to simulate as if you were pooping. You can do this by contracting the muscles in the abdomen and over your belly.

Contract only the abdomen muscles without the rectum and intestines.


How to contract the upper abdomen?

Contract your abdominal muscles slowly for 5-10 seconds.

This thing means to simulate muscle contraction as if you were lifting a heavy object with your hands.

Take a deep breath and keep the air inside. Focus your mind on the pectoral muscles. You should feel pressure under the neck.

Contract the muscles and keep them tensed for 5-10 seconds. It is like pushing a heavy object away from your pectoral muscles.

After 10 seconds, release the air and take a small pause. You can do this contraction without keeping the air inside the lungs. Air increases lung volume.

Thus, it makes the intestines move.

Another way is to imagine that you were lifting weights. Imagine it as if you were lying on the ground with your hand up.

You can follow the same process described above.

The contraction should start from the abdomen and continue up towards the shoulders.


You will poop faster because

  • The intestines will feel the contraction.
  • Constant contraction creates movement of the stool.
  • Movement creates pressure.
  • Intestinal motility is active.
  • Pressure and gas make the stool evacuate.

Muscle contraction is beneficial for constipation in the long-term.

Also, it will create pressure because of gas in the intestines and their wall movement. The stool in the intestines creates gas because of fermentation, glucose, and humidity.

Intestinal walls expand and move, and they make the stool to continue its journey towards evacuation.


Example

Contract and strain your abdominal muscles to eliminate the matter inside the intestines.

Here is what to do:

  • Contract the abdominal muscles five times a minute.
  • Repeat this step 1-2 times slowly.
  • After 5-10 minutes, you should feel a light bowel movement.
  • When you feel the stool is ready to evacuate, lower your body, and let it go.

Muscle contraction is a simple technique that helps stool evacuation. This technique usually has immediate results and, it is good for short-term relief.

It is easy to understand and to practice. It works great if you suffer from episodic constipation. And it has good results with chronic symptoms.


Contract the abdomen muscles 30 minutes before you poop

To have better results, here is what to do when constipated: simulate muscle contraction 30 minutes before you go to the toilet.

You can mix muscle contraction with squatting to relax the sphincter and puborectalis muscles quicker.

For most people suffering from constipation, the four steps described above in detail are enough to stimulate bowel movement and quick stool evacuation.

If you want to have good intestinal motility and alleviate constipation, practice these steps as often as you can.

And consider them as a way of relaxing your body or taking a break from work. [back to top]



5. STRAIN THE ABDOMEN

straining the abdomen and the large intestine image

What to do when constipated on the toilet in step five?

The next thing you need to do is: to slowly create more pressure inside the intestines.

Creating pressure is a great technique that helps with constipation.

This step is similar to the one mentioned above. The difference is that you create pressure from the middle abdomen, going down towards the rectum.

This area is usually the tummy area.

When you do this kind of movement or strain, all three parts of your body will expand and move in some way.

At the opposite end – upper abdominal muscle contraction focuses on the chest, stomach, and pectoral muscles.

This type of strain, contraction, or muscle movement directly affects the large intestine.


How to strain the middle abdomen?

  • Take a deep breath.
  • Push the middle abdomen as if you were lifting a weight from your tummy.
  • Keep the air inside the abdomen.
  • Strain 5-10 seconds.
  • Release the air and relax.
  • Repeat these moves to create pressure.

Straining the abdomen slowly and gently will create enough pressure to make you poop.

This step will make the stool move without pain and irritation. The stool passes the small intestine and the large intestine.

After minutes of squatting and pushing, the rectum will create a clear path for the stool to exit.

And the best part is that the rectum will give you clear signals when it is time to poop.


What you want to achieve is to:

  • Strain the abdomen and the intestines to create pressure with gas.
  • Push the rectum to prepare for stool evacuation.
  • Get your body used to this movement for the next time you want to poop.

So, strain your abdomen slowly at first, all the way to the rectum for 1-5 minutes.

Push it down 5-10 times every minute.

But do it slowly and gently, until you feel the rectum is ready to evacuate the stool.

What to keep in mind is that repetition is the only way for these techniques to work. Every step is important. But repetition is essential because body movement creates the actual results. When you feel you are ready to poop, follow the next step.


What do the experts say?

The American College of Gastroenterology recommends relaxing the anorectal muscles and the pelvic floor with muscle movement. [5]

This can be treated with biofeedback or muscle retraining exercises

You can try with laxatives and other medication if you suffer from severe constipation.

But there’s no need for medication because you can easily stretch and strain the abdomen. This thing has almost the same effect as medicine. [back to top]



6. STRAIN THE RECTUM HARD

straining and pushing the rectum to evacuate the stool image

Here is the most crucial step on what to do when constipated on the toilet.


Strain and push the rectum

If you feel that the large intestine and the rectum are ready to eliminate the stool, then push the intestines and rectum hard.

Try to visualize and feel how the matter inside the large intestine moves towards the rectum.

After you relax the puborectalis muscles and sphincter with squatting and short breaks, the stool will have a clear path towards the rectum.


Repeat step six as follows:

  • Slowly strain or push the rectum for 5-10 seconds.
  • Take a pause.
  • Strain the rectum hard for 1-5 seconds.
  • Take a pause.
  • Finally, push your rectum hard to evacuate the stool.
  • Repeat these steps until you feel the stool tickling inside the anus.

When you feel the stool near the anus, put all the pressure on that specific area.

Take deep breaths to fill your lungs with air. After air enters your lungs, keep the air for 5-10 seconds while you try to poop.

After you pushed the rectum and abdomen, let the air out and relax.

When you do all these steps correctly, you will be able to poop like you used to.

Also, you will let all internals know that the stool is about to evacuate.


Push hard and to stay calm

Do it as if you were trying to lift weights and squat at the same time. This movement creates pressure in the rectum.

Practice it for 5-10 seconds and pause. Then repeat it.

So, the stool will evacuate slowly, but surely, without any trouble.

You can take pauses if you feel there isn’t much stool movement. But keep in mind the steps and repeat them slowly.


Don’t push too much because of

  • pain
  • cramps
  • hemorrhoids
  • gas evacuation
  • intestinal irritation

If you feel irritation and pain often, then you suffer from chronic and severe types of constipation.

Pushing, contracting muscles, and putting too much pressure on your abdomen is not a great idea in the long-term.

If all of the symptoms mentioned above affect you or get worse, try to have a diet with more liquid foods.


What do the experts say?

According to the World Gastroenterology Organization website, all these movements are part of a technique called Bowel Training. [6]

Bowel training can lead to improvement in symptoms so it should be tried as a first-line treatment.

These techniques include biofeedback, straining, pelvic floor relaxation, and simulating defecation. [back to top]



7. TAKE A PAUSE

taking pauses to relax the body image

To alleviate constipation in the long term, here is what to when constipated on the toilet, with step 7.

Too much pressure inside the intestines and on the puborectalis muscles can have unpleasant effects.

One of the most common symptoms is the appearance of hemorrhoids. So be careful if you work all day sitting in a chair, and you suffer from constipation.

Pain and irritation appear if you suffer from severe symptoms of constipation. If you suffer from constipation and you feel the need to go to the toilet, then you must take pauses.


How to take pauses:

  • Prepare steps 1-3
  • Repeat steps 4-6 once
  • Take a five minutes pause
  • Repeat again steps 4-6

Even before you go to the toilet, take a break and walk for 1-5 minutes to let relax your body.

Get loose of the tension after sitting or working.

Taking pauses is essential to relax your bottom and to keep good blood flow around the abdomen. If you suffer from stress and constipation, you need to manage things that affect you.

Negative emotions and negative stress affect digestion and bowel movement. A healthy and functioning body can’t handle proper digestion.

Try to take pauses or breaks at least once every two hours.


Example

A 10 minutes pause once every two hours will also do the job. Ideally, you want to have a 10 minutes pause from work or study every 50 minutes.

On your pause do the following

  • Stand on your feet
  • Walk at a slow pace
  • Go out and take a walk
  • Sit on a couch
  • Stretch your hands slowly
  • Squat with pauses.

These types of movements help you relax your body and increase blood flow around the abdomen and bottom.

Pauses are necessary even if your work involves body movement.

Don’t stretch too much to keep your shoulder and joints in good shape. [back to top]



8. WHAT ELSE TO DO?

hot tea, fruit juice, and medicine image

There are other things that you can do to make you poop.

The following things help you create pressure inside the intestine and force the stool to move towards the rectum.

So, here’s what else to do when constipated on the toilet.


Drink hot tea

Drinking hot tea before going to the toilet will create gas in the intestines.

The heat makes the matter inside the intestines to ferment or to dissolve.

In this way, the matter that stays glued to the intestinal walls can disintegrate very well because of hot liquids.

Gas creates pressure inside the intestines. The intestines modify their volume. Gas is good for stool movement but can get you in embarrassing situations.

Drinking hot tea often can cause constipation because heat and humidity dehydrate your body.

That’s why going to a sauna does not improve your health status when you suffer from constipation. It dehydrates you even more.

So, try to drink tea only before you want to go to the toilet. This thing is necessary to keep you and the stool hydrated.


Drink fruit juice and chicory

Fruit juice and chicory have laxative effects. These foods and supplements can be considered natural laxatives.

Chicory is usually a white powder that has a sweet taste. You can combine it with any liquid juice or just non-carbonated mineral water.

How to use this technique?

  • Drink 1-2 glasses of juice mixed with chicory
  • Wait 10-15 minutes before you go to poop.
  • Don’t drink more than two glasses to prevent leaks and excessive fermentation.

Similar to hot tea that makes parts of the stool to ferment, fresh fruit juice tends to ferment quite fast.

In less than 5 minutes, the small intestine will assimilate all the vitamins and nutrients from the juice.

After 5 minutes, the juice will start to ferment due to heat and humidity.

When it passes the small intestine, the juice is nothing but a liquid without any nutrient in its composition.


Take laxatives

Medicine is beneficial for short-term episodes of chronic constipation and severe symptoms.

Medicine is usually for those of you who do not have the time to learn all the techniques. And are not interested in learning anything about constipation.

What medicine to take when constipated on the toilet?

If you are at home:

  • take light laxatives before you go to the toilet
  • wait 3-6 hours to have stool evacuation
  • prepare for 1-6 episodes of pooping

Medicine, such as laxatives, creates uncontrolled bowel movements. You need to take the day off. And have a clean toilet nearby anytime.

If you take any laxatives, then pooping can be a challenging thing. You need to prepare yourself for 1-6 pooping episodes to evacuate the stool and the laxative liquid.

If you don’t want to take laxatives, you can take bile supplements to improve digestion and stool evacuation.


Take pancreatic supplements

Bile and pancreatic supplements help digestion and stool movements.

These pills do not have side effects and, you can control when you want to poop.

Supplements for bile and pancreas have an almost instant effect. They make the bile combine all the digestive juice to keep the stool moving.

If you haven’t pooped for 3-4 days, you should get a strong laxative and wait until it does its job.

Be sure to stay at home, near the toilet.

If you feel pain whenever you defecate, please visit a doctor and do some medical examinations. [back to top]



9. A WORD OF CAUTION

If you suffer from severe constipation for more than three months, then it is time to see a doctor.

You will need to take some blood and stool tests to help you and the doctor establish a diagnostic and treatment.

The advice and the techniques in this guide cannot replace the opinion and the diagnostic of an authorized and specialized doctor. [back to top]



10. CONCLUSION

There are many other techniques and things on what to do when constipated on the toilet. But they are not as effective as the ones mentioned above.

You can easily use the seven steps presented to poop if you suffer from constipation.

The techniques of preparing your body and straining your abdominal muscles improve stool evacuation in the long-term.

You can combine these steps by taking medicine or by drinking certain liquids that create pressure and push the stool to evacuate. [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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