Physiotherapy normally helps with one of the bowel conditions described below.

Faecal incontinence is the leakage of gas, solid or liquid from the back passage. Leakage can range from a smearing of underwear to the loss of a full bowel motion. Faecal urge incontinence happens when you are not able to get to a toilet quickly enough. Passive faecal incontinence is when you are unaware of any leakage. The most common causes of faecal incontinence are weak muscles, making it difficult to hold on, or having loose stools that are difficult to hold on to.

Constipation means having a bowel movement fewer than every three days and the bowel motion may be hard and difficult to pass. People may strain in their attempt to empty their bowels. Constipation is also associated with pain on having a bowel movement, bloating, or a sense that the bowel has not emptied properly. This may be due to diet, fluid intake, lifestyle and age.

Obstructed defecation describes difficulty emptying the bowel even with excessive straining. There is a sensation of blockage during defecation. This type of problem can be caused by poor muscle coordination when sitting on the toilet. The sphincter muscles can tense and close, instead of relaxing and opening. In women, the presence of a prolapse (a bulge in the rectum) can cause a bowel motion to become trapped.