“Hovering” is when we don’t sit all the way down on the toilet to urinate or have a bowel movement. We have all been guilty of this! The exceptional trip to the disgustingly gross gas station bathroom is not going to make or break us, but making a habit of this can create pelvic floor dysfunction.
When we void (pee or poop) we need relaxation of our pelvic floor muscles. Our muscles help to hold our sphincters closed, which keeps us continent through the day. When it’s time to urinate or have a bowel movement, the pelvic floor muscles relax as the sphincters open, and we release our bladder or bowel. When we hover, we maintain tension in the pelvic floor muscles as they are working to keep our body upright, balanced, and stable over the toilet. Essentially, we are fighting ourselves, staying tense when we need to be relaxed for full voiding. Making a habit of hovering can lead to incomplete emptying (feeling like you could still pee right after you finished), constipation, straining, and pelvic floor muscle tightness.
When feeling the urge to hover, make a toilet paper “nest” so you feel more comfortable sitting all the way down and can fully relax your pelvic floor.
As always, take care and be well!