The john. The commode. The loo. The crapper. The porcelain throne. We each have our own affectionate term for the toilet, but we all have the same way of using it. And as it turns out, that way is wrong. Yes, you read that correctly. Our number one way of going number two just isn’t cutting it.
Modern-day toilets are designed for comfort and convenience, but one thing they aren’t designed for successful elimination. Toilets that require us to sit instead of squat might seem more civilized, but they can also set the stage for all kinds of problems including constipation, straining, hemorrhoids, and bloating. Here’s why.
The colon contains a natural kink where it meets the rectum, which helps to prevent incontinence. Looped around the rectum is a band of muscle called the puborectalis which acts as a sling to pull the rectum forward and form an angle with the anal canal. This is known as the anorectal angle, and it helps to further prevent fecal incontinence. When you sit on the toilet and your knees form a 90-degree angle with your abdomen, the colon is still positioned with its natural kink and the puborectalis muscle is engaged. See why this is a problem?
The squatting position is the preferred posture for bathroom visits in non-Westernized societies, and evidence shows that it should be our preferred position too. Squatting promotes successful elimination in the following ways:
Squatting not only makes for an easier and more effective bathroom experience. It can also prevent a number of bowel troubles and health issues that come with sitting (Source: Mercola).
Constipation is defined as having three or fewer bowel movements per week. Estimates show that 4 to 10 million Americans deal with chronic constipation while 63 million people suffer from occasional constipation. Squatting can help to alleviate this condition by straightening the bowel and promoting complete elimination.
Hemorrhoids are swollen and inflamed veins in the anus and lower part of the rectum that can cause discomfort, itching and bleeding. There are several causes for hemorrhoids including pregnancy, aging, obesity, and chronic diarrhea, but one of the most common causes is straining during bowel movements. Squatting places your body in the most natural posture for bowel movements to eliminate straining that can lead to hemorrhoids. In fact, squatting can allow hemorrhoids to heal without relapse.
Urinary Tract Infections are less likely to occur in women who squat to urinate. Squatting strengthens urinary flow and allows the bladder to be emptied completely which can reduce the frequency and intensity of infections.
Colon disease has been linked to fecal buildup in the colon. Squatting promotes bowel regularity to reduce the risk of disease and allow for proper absorption of nutrients.
Pelvic floor disorders affect one third of women, according to one 2008 study. Using a squatting posture during bathroom visits can help alleviate these issues (Source: Squatty Potty).
Squatting devices are now available for purchase online and at several retailers, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a five-star restroom visit. Using a simple foot stool to elevate your knees will improve your toilet posture and eliminate straining. Changing this one daily habit could have a profound impact on your health, so why not give it a try? You just might find that our Westernized toilet habits aren’t worth squat!