The pelvic floor plays an important role in control and regulation of the bowel. The pelvic floor muscles are active throughout the day in order to hold our waste in until the correct time. Normal bowel function varies widely from person to person and has been defined as having a bowel movement three times a day to three times per week. We should not have to push or strain to have a bowel movement and it should not be painful. Any variation from your bowel routine should be considered abnormal. Travel, school, work, life stress, etc. all can temporarily disrupt your normal patterns but your typical bowel habits should resume when the stress has resolved. Other signs of a dysfunctional bowel include incomplete emptying, incontinence, staining, excessive wiping, hard stools, infrequent stools, pain with bowel movements and diarrhea. Bowel and bladder dysfunction frequently occur together. It is rare to have problems with just one of these systems when the pelvic floor is involved.