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What’s the Dirt on Poop?

Everyone poops—it is one of the certainties of life. If we don’t, our bodies and minds both become very unhappy.

For kids, constipation is the root of many evils. It can cause or contribute to issues such as nausea, abdominal pain, behavioral changes, mood, poor sleep, urinary and fecal incontinence, and poor performance at school, just to name a few.

Despite what some may think, constipation isn’t just having hard poops. Any of the following conditions qualify a person to be diagnosed with constipation:

  • Hard bowel movements
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Inability to fully empty bowels
  • Having 3 or fewer bowel movements per week
  • Straining/pushing to get stool out

I’ve heard people say, “As long as I’m getting even a little bit out, that means I’m not constipated, right?”


If we don’t empty our bowels when we poop, we put ourselves at risk for overstretching our rectum or large intestine and losing the ability to correctly sense the urge to poop, which can lead to fecal incontinence. Lack of bowel emptying can also cause urinary leakage.

Imagine your bladder is a balloon and it is full of water (urine). Now place a lumpy rock on that balloon and see what happens. Over time, the walls of the balloon are going to give in and let the water out from the pressure of the hard item on top of it.

That’s what can happen with stool that sits in the body too long—it presses on the bladder and can cause leaks. Getting rid of the constipation and fully emptying our bowels can reduce urinary leakage faster than you would expect!

Our guts are also responsible for creating and excreting serotonin to our body. Serotonin is one of the hormones in our body that helps to stabilize mood. If our gut isn’t happy, the rest of us sure won’t be, either.

By the way, we should all be looking at our poop every time we have a bowel movement. Yes, that means you! We can tell a lot about how healthy our body is by looking at our poop.

Poop should look and feel like an overripe banana—brown, soft, and about as long as the open palm of your hand. When it isn’t, problems can occur.

Oaklawn Physical Rehabilitation is here to help! Our expertly trained physical therapists who specialize in bowel and bladder dysfunction can work with patients, especially kids, to resolve constipation and prevent a lot of body and brain unhappiness.

A happy gut = a happy life.

Ask your medical provider for a referral to Oaklawn Physical Rehabilitation’s pediatric pelvic health therapists so we can resolve the constipation and bowel issues. Everyone in the family will be happier, guaranteed.

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