Mistakes You’re Making Going Number Two
Nobody wants to talk about it, but like with any health topic, talking about it can help you learn what’s normal and what’s abnormal—what’s a cause for concern and what’s a little common flare up. We’re talking about dropping the kids off at school. Having a meeting with a man about a horse. Going number two or whatever you like to call it. So many people have irregular or unhealthy bowel movements, and they just don’t know it because they either A) Don’t want to talk about it or B) Don’t quite know how to explain it to their doctor. And a decent amount of Americans are constipated, suffer from diarrhea or have some untreated digestive health issues that can be spotted in their bowel movements. While some of these issues should be treated by a doctor, many are just the result of our bathroom habits. Here are mistakes you’re making when going number two.
Assuming you’re done
Your intestines are very long and windy. They’re not straight pipes that run from your mouth to your anus. For that reason, your bowels will often move in shifts. Once a bowel movement has begun, a small amount of stool may come out, then it could stop. But that doesn’t mean it’s over—it just means some is still working its way around those windy intestines. If your bowels still feel full, don’t walk away from the toilet just because nothing else is coming out. Have patience.
Not setting aside the time
Going to the bathroom can take some time. Even if you don’t need that much time, if you’re in a rush, the stress that rush puts on your brain could trickle down to your bowels. Stressing about running late can cause your bowels to contract the wrong way, and constipate you. Wake up a little earlier and give yourself plenty of time to poop. If you know you have 30 minutes, you may only take 10 minutes. But knowing you have the time will relax your bowels.
Not setting aside the same time
Most people go to the bathroom first thing in the morning, since your body digests the previous day’s food during the night. Whatever you find is your time, make sure you give yourself that time, at the same time, each day. That’s right: schedule your poops! So if you know you go at, say, 7:30 am every day, you may not be able to join your friends for the 7:45 workout class. Going at the same time each day keeps you regular.
Turning to laxatives
Being constipated can be incredibly frustrating. Many people want to turn to laxatives. That is fine for occasional and rare constipation. But if you use these regularly, your bowels can lose the ability to contract on their own. You could become dependent on laxatives. If you’re just backed up for a day or two, give your body time: it will work it out.
Not using a squatty potty
If you haven’t looked into the science behind squatty potties, it’s pretty enticing. To put it simply, squatting adjusts the angle of your anus and rectum in a way that makes it easier for poop to come out. So ask for a squatty potty for your birthday.
Sitting down the whole time
While you shouldn’t leave the bathroom or your home if you still need to poop, you can get up from the toilet if things aren’t moving. Sitting on the toilet for a half hour, waiting for something to come out, can result in a prolapsed anus. That amount of pressure on your bowels isn’t good. So while you wait for more to move, you can stand up in your bathroom.
Not knowing about the colon stretch
If your bowels are feeling a little sluggish, stand up and try this stretch. Put your hands on your hips and then reach your left hand up towards the sky, and over your head to the right. This gently stimulates your bowels and can get them moving.
Holding it in
The moment you feel you need to go, find a bathroom. The longer your stool sits in your bowels, the more fluid gets sucked out of it. This can result in hard stool that is difficult and even painful to pass. So go ahead and ask your date to wait to order drinks: you need to hit the bathroom.
You may like to read a book or a magazine while you’re on the toilet. Just don’t crouch forward. This bends your intestines in a way that can hinder a bowel movement. Stay seated upright, preferably with your feet on a squatty potty.
Not looking at it
Part of being a responsible adult is looking at your poop. It’s true! You should know what normal and abnormal poop looks like for you. Any change in consistency or color could be a sign of a health change that you should discuss with your doctor.
Eating before going
You should eat breakfast, but perhaps not before going to the bathroom. Your gut can only handle so many tasks at once. And since most people need to go number two in the morning, eating breakfast before going confuses their digestive system. Then your body is both breaking down food and passing waste at the same time. It could become exhausted, and constipated. Poop, then eat.
Skipping sanitary wipes
Women, in particular, should invest in hypoallergenic sanitary wipes. We cannot afford to have any bacteria left down there. It can migrate to our vagina and cause urinary tract infections.
Doing work on the toilet
It’s important to feel relaxed when going number two. Reading an email from your boss or filing taxes is not relaxing. Don’t do work on the toilet. Watch a funny show, listen to pleasant music or scroll through an uplifting Instagram profile.
If you need to push to poop, then you’re not getting enough fiber and water in your diet. But you really shouldn’t push because this can actually lead to hemorrhoids.
Not having a little coffee
The acidity in coffee can stimulate your bowels and speed up a bowel movement. Have one small cup if things are moving slowly. If you don’t like caffeine, decaf works, too.