According to The Toilet Paper Encyclopedia (no, we’re not making that up), the average human spends three years sitting on the toilet over the course of a lifetime. With that kind of experience, you would think we’d know a thing or two about sitting on the pot. But medical experts say the modern toilet presents several health concerns, and it all comes down to one specific reason: it requires us to sit.
For millennia, squatting was the #1 position for going #2. The squatting position relaxes the puborectalis, a muscle that tightens against the colon to prevent incontinence. Relaxing this muscle allows the colon to open, making elimination faster and easier. But since the invention of the modern-day toilet, humans have changed the way they take care of business. The pedestal toilet, while designed to be more dignified, was not designed for efficient elimination. Read on to learn about health problems that stem from poor toilet posture and how squatting can help relieve them:
Hemorrhoids – Constipation, diarrhea, straining, or rushing a bowel movement increases pressure in the lower rectum and can result in swollen blood vessels called hemorrhoids. Symptoms commonly include pain, itching and bleeding during bowel movements. Proper bathroom posture makes bowel movements easier and faster to prevent the straining that causes hemorrhoids.
Constipation – The National Institutes of Health estimates that 4-10 million Americans deal with chronic constipation, or having less than three bowel movements per week. Squatting can help relieve constipation by relaxing the puborectalis, opening the colon and rectum, and using gravity to do most of the work.
Poor colon health – Fecal buildup can contribute to the development of colon disease and may inhibit proper absorption of nutrients. Squatting helps to completely empty the colon to keep it healthy and functioning properly.
Pelvic floor issues – The pelvic floor is made of muscles, ligaments and tissues that support the pelvic organs. When the pelvic floor becomes damaged, these organs can drop, resulting in issues like constipation and incontinence. Proper bathroom posture helps to relieve pressure and may improve these issues.
Urinary tract infections – Nearly half of all women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point. Squatting can help to reduce the intensity and frequency of UTIs by increasing the flow of urine and emptying the bladder more fully (Source: Squatty Potty).
To encourage healthy posture during your bathroom visits, use a step stool or Squatty Potty to elevate your legs into a squatting position. It could eliminate some of your water closet woes, and it just might grant you an early release from that three year toilet sentence. You’ve got nothing to lose except the bloating, hemorrhoids and constipation, so lift that lid and pop a squat!