Why Squatting Is a Better Position for Bowel Movements
Health Hacks Are you sitting on the toilet while reading this? Great timing, but not so great posture. Let me explain.
Although the United States has been quite attached to their modern commode, many countries around the world have squatted to poop for centuries, and science is starting to catch up. Your body relies on a bend in the colon (where your poop lives) and the anus (where your poop says hi) to keep everything stored until showtime. Your Puborectalis muscle helps keep your poop in place by kinking your colon, much like a bend in a garden hose stops the flow of water, when you’re sitting or standing. This muscle is helpful for when you’re sitting and don’t want to poop, but unhelpful for when you’re sitting and do want to poop. Your colon’s sweet spot comes with the squat. This tells your Puborectalis muscle to fully relax. Squatting straightens the kink and allows for a more complete elimination.
Here are some interesting facts you may not have known.
The struggle in sitting
A researcher named Dov Sikirov asked groups of study participants to poop while squatting. He compared how long each bowel movement took and the effort each required. Sikirov published his results in Digestive Diseases and Sciences and found that in a squatting posture, subjects required, on average, only one-third the time to poop. Plus, subjects who squatted rated the experience as much easier than those who sat.
In Japan, researchers took this quite a bit further. Six patients had their rectums filled with a contrast solution that could be seen under X-ray. The patients then “released” the fluid from a squatting or a sitting position while being filmed with X-ray video. The videos showed that the anorectal angle increased significantly from 100 degrees to 126 degrees and from a sitting position to a squat, making elimination much easier in the squat.
“Squatting straightens the kink and allows for a more complete elimination.”
More recently, a research study was conducted by Dr. Rodi Mohan, an internal medicine residency physician at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center. The study aimed to test the potential impact of using a footstool to simulate a squat position, while the study team enlisted more than 52 men and women with the average age of 29.
Prior to trying the footstool, nearly 30 percent said they regularly struggled to go to the bathroom, while more than 44 percent said they increasingly experienced strain while doing so. Nearly 56 percent said they had noticed that their toilet paper was bloody after a bowel movement attempt.
Roughly 1,000 bowel movements were tracked, of which more than 700 were facilitated by using the footstool provided by Squatty Potty of “Shark Tank” fame.
Squatty Potty's design
Investigators found that using the device was linked to a notably shorter time spent going to the bathroom, a reduction in bowel movement strain and an increased sense of bowel emptiness, as reported by HealthDay reporter Alan Mozes in his article “Trouble with #2? One Simple Step May Help.”
With this knowledge, Squatty Potty’s founders created a solution: a stool that works hand in hand with the modern toilet. Squatty Potty is designed to tuck in under the toilet when out of use and is the correct height to simulate the squat depending on the height of your toilet. It allows for healthier elimination for people of all ages.
Select Squatty Potty models are sold in stores at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Costco, Target and Ace Hardware. Squatty Potty sells online at the Squatty Potty website and Amazon. We refer our Canadian patrons to Canadian Tire, Cayne’s, Bed Bath and Beyond online or Amazon.ca. You can search for a retailer near you here.
Just wait, there will come a time when people will scratch their heads at that strange dark time in history when folks sat straight up to poop.