Why You've Been Pooping Wrong Your Whole Life!
Are You Pooping Wrong?
Squatting, not sitting, may make toilet time easier and reduce the risk for digestive problems.
By Jaimie Dalessio Clayton
Medically Reviewed by Justin Laube, MD
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Our ancestors did it. People in Asia, Africa, and some parts of Europe still do it. So how did so many Westerners end up deviating from the best way to go No. 2?
Blame it on toilets as we know them. Thrones, they have been called. Turns out we should squat, not sit.
In a study published inDigestive Diseases and Sciences, 28 healthy people volunteered to time themselves doing their business in three alternate positions: sitting on a standard toilet, sitting on a low toilet, and squatting. They not only recorded how long it took them, but also how much effort it took. Squatting, the study concluded, takes less time and effort.
“There is definitely some physiologic sense to squatting,” says Anish Sheth, MD, a gastroenterologist with the Princeton Medical Group in New Jersey and coauthor of the booksWhat’s Your Poo Telling You?andWhat’s My Pee Telling Me?“Simply put, it straightens out the colon.”
When we're standing, the colon — where waste is stored — gets pushed up against the puborectalis muscle, which helps maintain fecal continence until it’s time to hit the bathroom. Sitting down only partially relaxes that muscle. Squatting fully relaxes it, easing the elimination pooping process.
A study published in 2010 inLower Urinary Tract Symptoms supports the idea that squatting increases the anorectal angle — the bend between the anus and the rectum — which reduces the strain associated with bowel movements. That strain can increase the risk for conditions such as hemorrhoids (swollen blood vessels in and around the anus) and anal fissures (tears in the lining at the end of the digestive tract). Straining can also weaken pelvic floor muscles that help control bladder and bowel function.
Squatting toilets, also known as Turkish toilets, are used throughout the world. In Asia, some public restrooms offer stalls with Western porcelain flush toilets, as well as stalls with squatting toilets in which users plants their feet over an opening in the floor and squat. Squatting toilets can be found in many countries, including Japan, Russia, and France.
Video: Why You've Been Pooping Wrong, Squatty Potty - Multiview's Good Company
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