Tamara Duker Freuman, MS, RD, CDN
The Bloated Belly Whisperer

Bloated Belly Q&A Index

"How can I alleviate bloating from incomplete daily bowel movements?"


"Dear BBW,

I experience a bloated belly constantly due to incomplete daily bowel movements. I was diagnosed with a "redundant colon" four years ago. High fiber and drinking water don’t help much. I’ve been like this for 15+ years, but it got worse after two pregnancies and two C-sections. Thank you!


Dear ND,

"Redundant colon" is a tricked out way of saying that your colon is a little extra long, and that suggests it may take poop longer to make its way to the exit.  By the time the poop finally arrives, it may be a bit dried out and harder, meaning its less likely you'll have moist, plump, long "log-like" poops that are more likely to pass intact and completely.  The fact that things worsened after 2 C-sections suggests your problem may have been be worsened by weakened abdominal wall muscles; you need to be able to tense that abdominal wall tightly in order to create some force to propel your poop out during defecation.

Assuming your diet is indeed high in fiber already-- particularly high in "soluble" fiber that helps glue poos together cohesively (is it?)--I'd consider layering on two additional interventions to promote more complete defecation: magnesium and squatting. A dose of magnesium somewhere in the range of 400-800mg every evening should help speed the stool through your redundant colon before it can get too hard/dried out, while adding a bit of extra 'oomph' in terms of osmotic force to help propel the full stool onward and outward.  (Start low and work your way up by 200mg at a time.) Secondly, invest in a "squatty potty" or stepstool to place in front of the toilet when you go.  Drawing your knees up toward your chest when defecating helps get your pelvic floor muscles in the optimal pooping position and minimizes their reliance on a tight abdominal wall to conjure the force needed to finish off strong.

If soluble fiber, magnesium and squatting still doesn't do the trick, it may be worth having a gasto doc investigate your pelvic floor muscle function.  If its impaired, there are physical therapies that can be helpful.