IF you struggle to do a number two anywhere in public, listen up.
‘Shy bowel’ – also known as parcopresis – is the name for a disorder that prevents people from pooing in public loos or when other people are around.
Gut health expert Dr Jim Kantidakis, from eco toilet paper company, Who Gives A Crap, says a few simple changes can ease the anxiety and break the taboo.
“The anxiety around going in the office toilet ranges from smells, noises to just the fact others might know you’re sitting on the toilet opening your bowels,” he says.
“It’s important to go to the loo when there is the need as it can lead to more severe outcomes like constipation, piles and pelvic floor problems.
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“Naturally, when we eat, our bowels move.
"It’s important to reduce the stigma that comes with opening your bowels at work.”
Top tips to combat ‘shy bowel’:
- Remember that everyone does it – we all have to go to the bathroom, there's no avoiding it!
- Carry a small spray deodorant to mask the smell
- Line the toilet bowl with paper to absorb some of the sound
- Flush several times while doing a number two to reduce the smell
- Consider how often you actually notice other people nipping off to the loo – it's probably almost never
- Breathe deeply to ease any anxiety and keep yourself calm
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And if you're still struggling to go, or to go regularly, you might have constipation.
According to the NHS signs you're constipated are when you haven't had a poo at least three times in the last week, the poo is often large and dry, hard or lumpy, or you are straining or in pain when you have a poo.
If you are constipated, you may need to up the amount of fibre (try wheat bran, oats or linseed) and fluids in your diet, or you may not be moving around enough.
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Increase how much exercise you're doing and don't ignore or put off going to the loo – when you need to go, go! You can also speak to a pharmacist for over the counter products to get things moving.
See your GP if things don't improve, and always get checked if you spot blood in your poo.
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