Benefits of Squatting During Bowel Movements—Learn How to Squat on a Toilet

How to Squat on a Toilet

Crouching with your knees bent while you answer nature’s call – this position doesn’t seem elegant, but there’s a growing following for this method of squatting to poop. Something that’s been done for centuries in some parts of the world like Asia is now becoming a more acceptable style of toilet etiquette on local shores too. Here’s why people are suggesting you squat to poop.

Puts Less Pressure On Pelvic Muscles And Rectoanal Canal

To understand why there’s so much fuss about this quaint style of sitting while you poop, it helps to understand the process itself. The pelvic floor contains superficial muscles such as the anal sphincter which can be contracted or released to allow you to defecate. Besides this, there is also the deeper puborectalis muscle that winds its way around the rectum, helping you keep up fecal continence. Unfortunately, when you sit down, you tend to position yourself in a manner that pinches the rectum close, to prevent accidental leakage of fecal matter. When you squat, the muscle relaxes, allowing you to poop with ease.

Squatting relaxes the muscle that controls the passage of poop. Squatting also prevents straining on the toilet bowl.

When you squat, the rectoanal canal also straightens up more, allowing waste to exit more easily. As researchers also found, the more the hip flexion you achieve while squatting, the better it is. This means less straining while pooping as the canal straightens when you flex your hip further. The angle for squatting is about 126° compared to 100° when you sit normally.

The importance of optimal movements and positions that help the body rid itself of all its waste isn’t something we’ve recently discovered. Ayurveda has always emphasized the importance of proper bowel movements. There’s even a name for the squatting position one needs to be in – malasana or the garland pose of yoga3 (or even the shitting pose, since mala also means excrement in Sanskrit).

As researchers have found, there are many reasons as far as health goes, for you to squat when you poop.

Is More Hygienic

Since you are not sitting down directly on the toilet seat, but hovering over the pot, you do not come in contact with the seat. This means fewer chances of picking up germs or bacteria from previous users or other contamination. Due to the design of the traditional squatting toilet, you also are unlikely to splash the water from the toilet bowl when you defecate.

Empties The Bowel Completely

Like we said, this position is optimal for your body and is also a more natural way to push fecal matter out. Since you are in the right position for the rectum and anus (nearly vertical) to empty out with the help of gravity, you are able to fully empty bowels of waste.

Helps Overcome Constipation

Often, those who otherwise struggle to poop due to constipation, find it easier when they are squatting because you have the posture on your side.

Speeds Up Emptying Of Bowels

Besides helping achieve a more thorough purge, squatting also helps the process finish faster. One study found that those who squatted finished their bowel movement in just 50 seconds, against the 130 seconds needed by those who were in the sitting position.

Protects Nerves In The Bladder, Uterus, And Prostate

The nerves in your bladder, uterus, as well as prostate tend to get stretched and sometimes damaged in the regular seated position on a western-style throne. However, while squatting the nerves are less likely to be damaged because the squatting position protects them.

Reduces Hemorrhoids

Because the strain on the anus and surrounding area is reduced, you are also less likely to have the problem of hemorrhoids, inflamed and swollen veins of the anus and rectum.

Eases Pressure On The Uterus During Pregnancy

For women with a baby on board, the squatting position takes some of the load off the uterus while pooping. Plus, it comes with the added bonus of getting in some squats, which are said to help ease delivery.

Reduces The Chances Of Colorectal Disorders

Squatting may even help reduce the incidence of colorectal disorders like appendicitis, colitis (inflammation of the digestive tract), and diverticulosis (bulging pouches in the colon).

THE PROBLEM WITH YOUR TOILET


The problem comes from the posture. When you sit down on a regular toilet, your colon is kinked, just like a garden hose. With enough straining, fecal material can still be forced through, but you'll be sure to feel the effort, and the odds of you getting all the poo out of your body are slim to none.

It should come as no surprise that this often leads to a long line of chronic health problems. Below are some of the most common.

CONSTIPATION


No one likes straining on the toilet seat, but for millions of Americans, it's an unfortunate daily ritual. Chronic constipation can cause you hemorrhoids, anal fissures and worse.

No matter how hard you try to go, your constipation will only cause you grief if you try to relieve it on a regular toilet. Worse yet, oftentimes it's the cause of your suffering. Without releasing the kink in your colon caused by sitting, your poo is going to continue to get jammed up inside you.

HEMORRHOIDS


No one wants to suffer from swollen, inflamed veins in the anus, but for over half of Americans over the age of 50, it's a sad reality. Sitting on a toilet only worsens the problem, as the angle you sit at puts too much pressure on your rectum, keeping feces trapped inside. The only way to get them out is to strain harder, which stretches out the veins of your anus until you've accidentally given yourself uncomfortable hemorrhoids.

PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION


The pelvic is essentially all that keeps your bladder, rectum and reproductive organs in place, and you'll certainly notice when something goes awry. Over one-quarter of women experience pelvic floor complications, and many researchers believe that the posture of sitting on a toilet is partly to blame.

URINARY INFECTIONS


An all too common medical ailment for most women, urinary infections lead to itching and burning in the places you can't easily scratch. A too-full colon is sometimes responsible for the pain, as it can transfer toxic bacteria to the urethra, where it then lands in the bladder and causes you grief.

IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)


Chronic indigestion and abdominal pain are never pleasant, but for the sufferers of IBS, it's hardly unusual. This chronic condition can lead to severe cases of constipation, making every moment on the toilet a strain.

COLON DISEASE


There are lots of probable causes for colon disease, but most experts agree that fecal buildup is partly to blame. The sitting posture with the kinked colon can be a big contributor to that.


IT'S TIME TO SQUAT, NOT SIT


Even if squatting over a traditional squatting toilet is something you’d never do, there are modern innovations or simple workarounds that simulate squatting. For instance, a footstool placed near the usual western-style toilet can help you achieve a semi-squat while you remain seated. Other special devices made for squatting to poop like the “squatty potty”, are also available to buy, so there should be no reason for you not to make the switch!

Learn How to Squat on a Toilet


Bringing knees up while on the toilet is key to enjoying anatomical benefits of squatting while moving your bowels. The higher the knees towards the chest, mimicking the position of squatting on the floor, the better. This can be replicated by putting a small stool in front of the toilet that will put you into a squatting position while still sitting on the toilet. This is a half-squat, half-sit position good for beginners.

The stool also gives the option to be in a full squat position with all your weight on your feet and the buttocks raised above the toilet. While any footstool will get you into the correct position, there are many stools designed specifically for this.
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