This Constipation Trick Is Going Viral on TikTok — But Is It Really the Shit?
All you have to do is stick your thumb up your vagina and push the poop out, they said. It's simple, they said. But you might want to read what a doctor has to say before giving this 'Tok trend a try.
These days, it's hard to be shocked by the trends that end up going viral on TikTok, whether it's emphasizing dark under-eye circles (when many people are over here trying to hide them) or simply testing your balance by way of the Center of Gravity challenge. But then people on the 'Tok started talking about a, err, handy way of relieving constipation by way of the vagina and the surprise factor went through the roof.
ICYMI, "splinting" is the newest viral sensation on the video platform, starting after TikTok user @ambriaalicewalterfield shared a clip inviting followers to give her "one reason you're happy to have a vagina." She continued: "I'll go first. You know when you're [sitting] on the toilet and you're struggling to go for a P-O-O?" She then wiggles her thumb to the camera, saying "But then you're just like [push thumb forward] and then it's fine." (Related: Quarantine Constipation Is a Very Real Thing — Here's How to Deal with It)
Understandably, her followers had many, many questions, wondering what on earth she was talking about. So, she shared a follow-up video in which she describes sticking her thumb inside her vagina, where she can feel the poop through her vaginal wall — or, in her words, "turtling" — and then makes a "pop" sound, saying "you just then pop it out." Meaning she uses her thumb to physically push her stool out of her butt.
Okay, so this definitely doesn't sound like a scientific way of relieving constipation but, believe it or not, it's actually pretty legit. Really known as splinting, this thumb-in-vag trick is a medically-approved method of easing constipation. The University of Michigan Health System notes that clean, lubricated fingers or a new tampon can be used to help push stool from the anal canal. But before you book it to the bathroom for a little DIY, you're going to want to hear what a doctor has to say.
The technique isn't "dangerous," says 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. But she doesn't recommend trying it, especially if you're experiencing frequent issues going to the bathroom with ease. Feeling like you need to stick your thumb up your vagina to manually defecate can show a "blatant red flag of bowel dysfunction," and there are much safer and healthier ways of managing constipation, according to Dr. Gersh. (Related: How to Deal with Stomach Pain and Gas, Because You Know That Uncomfortable Feeling)
For example, reworking your diet can help get your system back on track. How many veggies are you eating? What about whole grains? Drinking enough water? Whatever the case may be, "including more plant-based fibers such as root vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, as well as probiotics or fermented foods" can be "very helpful," says Dr. Gersh. And while you're at it, make sure to stay hydrated (at least 8 cups of water a day) and move your body, as regular physical activity can help speed up how quickly food moves through your body. All that being said, if you've been dealing with any sort of digestive problems including stomach pain, gas, and constipation, especially for a prolonged period of time, you should check in with your doctor, as they can be signs of a more serious underlying digestive condition, explains Dr. Gersh.
TikTok can be a great (and low-key addictive) resource for all kinds of topics, from skin care (see: hydrocolloid bandages) to mess-free snack wraps. But you definitely want to stick to getting your medical advice from a doctor or licensed health care professional when it comes to medical-related lessons on the app — when in doubt, it never hurts to check in with your own doctor, too.