Ideal bowel movements are soft and formed, easy to initiate, easy to pass and the person should feel completely empty afterwards. When this is not the case, and underlying medical causes have been ruled out, physiotherapy may be able to help.
Treatment for constipation begins with the assessment of fluid, fibre and activity levels to determine if they are adequate in promoting healthy bowel function. In women, scanning for conditions such as a rectocele (also known as posterior vaginal wall prolapse) will be performed, and tools to manage will be provided.
Defecation dyssynergia is a condition where in an effort to evacuate stool, the muscles of the pelvic floor contract instead of relax. This results in the person bearing down against a closed muscular wall, making movement of the bowels difficult, if not impossible. Treatment includes learning the skill of complete relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles (how to "push" properly), which allows for the easy passage of stool.
Assessment and treatment will include vaginal and/or rectal examination and EMG biofeedback.
Here is a link (page 20) to an article about bowel function and the pelvic floor in the "Inside Tract"