It’s difficult to be surprised by the viral trends that circulate on TikTok, but when people on the platform started discussing a rather unconventional method for relieving constipation through the vagina, it definitely caught everyone’s attention.
In case you missed it, a trend called “splinting” gained popularity in 2021 after TikTok user @ambriaalicewalterfield shared a video asking her followers to share why they’re grateful to have a vagina. She started off by saying, “You know that feeling when you’re seated on the toilet and struggling to have a bowel movement?” Then, she wiggles her thumb towards the camera and says, “But then you simply push it forward, and everything becomes fine.”
Naturally, her followers had numerous questions and were curious about what she meant. So, she posted a follow-up video where she explains that she inserts her thumb into her vagina, allowing her to feel the stool through her vaginal wall. She refers to it as “turtling.” Then, she demonstrates a “pop” sound while saying, “You just push it out.” Essentially, she uses her thumb to physically push the stool out of her rectum.
Before we delve into the details of the splinting technique, let’s address the most important matters: What exactly is constipation and what causes it?
What Is Constipation?
Constipation refers to infrequent, difficult, or painful bowel movements. If you find yourself spending a long time on the toilet without being able to have a bowel movement, you may be constipated. If your bowel movements are hard and uncomfortable to pass, it is likely that you are experiencing constipation. More severe symptoms of constipation can include abdominal pain and the presence of blood in the stool. If you have these symptoms, it is essential to contact your doctor immediately.
There are several factors that can contribute to constipation. Inadequate fluid intake, low fiber intake, and certain medications or supplements (which may list constipation as a side effect) can be responsible. However, constipation can also be caused by simple changes in your daily routine.
What Is Splinting?
Splinting is a technique used to alleviate constipation by inserting a finger (or thumb) into the vagina. Once inserted, the finger is pressed against the posterior vaginal wall to assist in easing out the stool. In some cases, you may feel a bulge on the back wall of the vagina, where gentle pressure is then applied.
While this may not seem like a scientifically backed method for relieving constipation, surprisingly, it is actually considered legitimate. This thumb-in-vagina trick is a medically endorsed approach to alleviate constipation. The University of Michigan Health System states that clean, lubricated fingers or a fresh tampon can be used to help push the stool from the anal canal.
However, prior to rushing to the bathroom for some do-it-yourself action, it would be advisable to listen to the insights provided by a medical professional.
Are There Any Dangers Associated with Splinting?
The method isn’t “risky,” according to Felice Gersh, M.D., an ob-gyn, founder/director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, in Irvine, CA, and the author of PCOS SOS Fertility Fast Track. However, she does not recommend attempting it, particularly if you frequently experience difficulty in having a bowel movement. The sensation of needing to insert your thumb into your vagina to manually evacuate stool can indicate a “clear indication of bowel dysfunction,” and there are much safer and healthier approaches to managing constipation, according to Dr. Gersh.
Alternative Methods for Managing Constipation
Adjusting your diet can assist in restoring regular bowel movements and alleviating constipation. How many vegetables do you consume? What about whole grains? Are you drinking enough water? Whatever the situation may be, incorporating more plant-based fibers such as root vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, as well as probiotics or fermented foods, can be “extremely beneficial,” remarks Dr. Gersh. And remember to stay adequately hydrated (at least 8 cups of water per day) and engage in physical activity, as regular exercise can accelerate the transit of food through your digestive system. Nonetheless, if you have been dealing with any digestive problems such as stomach pain, excessive gas, and constipation, especially for an extended period of time, it is advisable to consult your doctor, as these symptoms may indicate an underlying and more serious digestive condition, explains Dr. Gersh.
TikTok can serve as a valuable (and subtly addictive) resource for a wide range of subjects, from skincare to convenient snack wraps. However, it is crucial to rely on medical advice from a doctor or licensed healthcare professional when it comes to medical-related content on the app — when in doubt, consulting with your own doctor is always a prudent approach.
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