Why You Should Think Twice About Using This TikTok Trick To Cure Constipation

The beauty of TikTok is that it discusses everything, and we mean everything. From styling your hair in bandanas for the summer to inserting your finger into your vagina to make your poop move along more easily, there's not a topic that gets left by the wayside. 

The latter is exactly what user Ambria Alice Walterfield (who seems to have since deleted her account), shared in two videos. It's a cure for when you're constipated, according to this TikToker. "When you're constipated and like the poop is there but you can't quite push it out... it's like turtling," shared Walterfield (via IFL Science). "Just hook your thumb into your vagina and you can feel the poop, and you can just pop it out. You're welcome," she finished. 

What her videos were alluding to is a method called "splinting" which is not an entirely foreign concept in the medical landscape. It involves sticking a (hopefully dirt-free) finger into your vagina to stimulate the perineum — the skin between the vulva and the anus. Kind of like having a poop button to help keep things moving. In fact, a 2012 study published in the journal Urogynecology looked at the benefits of manually stimulating the vagina wall to defecate, in persons with pelvic floor problems. Splinting might not be dangerous per se, but if you feel the need to do this often when you're on the toilet, then you have a bigger problem on your hands, say the experts. 

When to think twice about splinting to cure constipation

As with most things on TikTok, this hack was received with a note of amusement, wit, and celebration. From delivery nurses touting the trick's many benefits to regular users trying the technique out and posting videos about its success (especially post-pregnancy), Walterfield's posts garnered quite a number of reactions. 

According to Dr. Pamela Susan Fairchild who specializes in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (via Michigan Medicine), while splinting is a safe practice (even for those without pelvic floor dysfunction), you may want to think twice about this hack if you have skin disruptions near the vagina or perineal region. It could cause some discomfort. It is, however, safer than straining to pass stools all the time, which can lead to anal fissures, hemorrhoids, and rectal prolapse. "It's the path of least resistance, so if your rectum is full of stool, you will likely be able to feel that it is full by touching the wall between the vagina and rectum," explained the obstetrician. 

But it's not a trick you should be turning to often, for the simple reason that regular constipation might be a sign of something more serious like bowel dysfunction, explained OB-GYN Dr. Felice Gersh to Shape. You shouldn't try to cure persistent constipation via TikTok home remedies. 

Constipation home remedies that don't involve splinting

Going to the bathroom every morning (or evening) should not feel like a battle, according to the experts. If it is, you might want to try switching up your diet. Fiber is great for digestion — and healthy bowel movements. Urogynecologist Dr. Eman A. Elkadry told Health that 30 grams of fiber daily is a good goal to have. 

There's also something to be said for using a squatty potty. It's all about adjusting where you place your legs while on the toilet to get a better anorectal angle for smoother bowel movement, says Healthline

If you're having constipation that does not resolve with home remedies (TikTok trick included), you may want to go see a doctor (per Medical News Today). Other symptoms that are worrisome include blood in your stools or rectum area, stomach cramps, fever, weight loss, and vomiting. At the end of the day, it's important to separate the novelty of TikTok hacks like splinting from any underlying health conditions that will require professional input and treatment. Constipation isn't always a laughing matter.