5 Steps to Improving Your Bowel Health by Sadiya Cheshty, MD

Headshot of Dr. Cheshty“Good bowel hygiene is key in achieving digestive health,” says Dr. Sadiya Cheshty. “Here are some simple steps to incorporate into your daily routine. These basic changes can make a big impact on overall health, benefitting all ages, both men and women.”

1. Clean Without Damaging The Skin
The most common ways of cleansing oneself after a bowel movement can be quite damaging! The skin around the anus is sensitive, so if it is not cleaned properly, problems can arise. On the other hand, overzealous or aggressive wiping due to fear of having stool left behind causes damage. Wipes contain chemicals that are damaging to the skin. The best way to clean is to wash after every bowel movement. Use mild, unscented soap like Aveeno. Use paper to pat dry.

2. Don’t Spend More Than Two Minutes On The Toilet
When you sit on the toilet for a long time, hemorrhoids will protrude and become problematic. Time on the toilet should not be spent catching up on reading, smartphone use or any other activity. Time spent sitting on the toilet should be two minutes or less.

3. Put A Stool Under Your Feet
The correct position for having a bowel movement is squatting not sitting. Squatting position straightens out the rectum. Straightening the rectum allows it to empty properly. Put a stool under your feet while on the toilet. This brings up your knees, puts you into a more squatting position and helps you to more easily pass the stool, preventing straining.

“Check our website for more GI health updates and individualized lifestyle modifications to improve daily life and overall health,” says Cheshty.

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