Do you squat to poop?
I remember when I was at uni, on the back of the door in each of the cubicles there was a picture of stick person squatting on the toilet with a big red cross through it. At the time, I was like 'who would do that? Why wouldn't you just sit on the toilet?' It made no sense to me until I learnt about anatomy and realised that we should actually be squatting to go to the toilet.
If we look back in history, people have been squatting for many many years. It wasn't until the invention of the modern toilet that people started to sit to poop. But is this the best way for complete elimination?
Why should we squat to poop?
When we look at little kids, they naturally go to squat to poop. It is only when we put them on a toilet that things start to change.
Looking at anatomy, the colon has a natural kink that helps to maintain continence. This is important as it stops us from doing poos anywhere at anytime. When you sit on the toilet, the natural kink is maintained. However, when you are squat there is a straight exit for your poo to come out. Have a look at the diagram below as sometimes it is easier to see it visually:
Ref: Diagram from the wellnessmama.com
So when you are sitting, your poop stays in place due to the kink in the colon. This is due to the puborectalis muscle. The sitting posture partially relaxes the tight muscle around the colon, blocking the flow of waste. Have you ever been to the toilet but don't have a complete sense of elimination? This is partly due to it.
When you squat to poop, your body is in the correct position to effectively eliminate all of the feces from your colon. When you squat, this tells your puborectalis muscle to fully relax which allows the colon to empty quickly and completely. Squatting straightens out the kink and allows for complete elimination.
What are some of the problems associated with sitting on the toilet?
The National Institue of health (NIH) defines constipation as having fewer than 3 bowel movements every 7 days. Now I don't know about you, but this is not good. If I don't go at least once per day, I feel bloated and sluggish. Having all this waste in your body that you can't excrete is not healthy and can cause numerous health complications. You should be passing at least 30cm of feces per day.
These are swollen and inflamed veins in your anus and lower rectum when occur when they are stretched under pressure and bulge or swell. Hemorrhoids can develop from an increase in pressure in the lower rectum.
3. Colon disease:
Eliminating completely helps maintain good colon health. If we do not eliminate fully, there is a build up of fecal matter in the colon which can cause colon cancer or other diseases.
4. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI):
Squatting can help to fully empty the bladder especially for women and can help to reduce the risk of UTI.
5. Pelvic Floor Issues:
When we sit, this puts a lot of pressure on the kink in the colon which can cause the lower part of the colon to drop and protrude in to the wall of the vagina. This puts pressure on the pelvic floor.
What are the benefits of squatting?
Easier to poop as your colon is in the correct position
Gravity helps move everything down
Less risk of hemorrhoids and constipation
Helps to speed up emptying of the bowel
Eases pressure on the uterus during pregnancy
Reduces the chances of colorectal disorders such as appendicitis, colitis (inflammation of the digestive tract) and diverticulosis (bulging pouches in the colon)
I have been using one of these toilet stools for about 15 years and I can tell you it makes the experience of pooping much more enjoyable :-) When I sit on a normal toilet and try and poop that way, I find it so much more difficult.
There are actually stools that you can purchase that fit around the toilet bowl, such as the 'squatty potty' or you can improvise using a stool. Either works just as fine.
Let me know your thoughts. Have you tried to use a squatty potty or something similiar?