Do you know how toilet position affects your health? What if I told you that you have been evacuating your bowel the wrong way your entire life, and that it has been negatively affecting your health? Anatomically, humans are designed to squat to eliminate. Children from every civilisation automatically learn to squat to eliminate. But don’t worry, it’s not your fault. The way the modern toilet has been designed actually causes us to change the natural position we should be using to evacuate our bowels.
The modern-day flush toilets became popular and widespread in the 1900’s and scientists noticed the correlation between an increase in the number of pelvic diseases and the change of toilet habits. People in the western world sit on a toilet because it is more “civilised”, whereas those in developing countries squat to defecate. The way we sit on the toilet has been linked to conditions like haemorrhoids, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer and appendicitis. Research shows that our toileting position plays a bigger role in these ailments than a lack of dietary fibre.
The puborectalis muscle holds the rectum in place. When we sit at a ninety degree angle, this muscle chokes the rectum and literally seals it off. This then requires pushing to try and complete the movement, although the movement can never actually be complete. Eventually this causes an accumulation and hardening of built-up waste in the lower regions of the colon, which also increases your chance of developing constipation and colorectal cancer. People sit in this position multiple times per day, no wonder it is related to the health issues I mentioned before.
“The postulated causal link between constipation and increased colorectal cancer risk is that longer transit times increase the duration of contact between the colonic mucosa and concentrated carcinogens in the lumen, such as bile acids or other carcinogens.”
Whereas squatting at a thirty five degree angle relaxes the puborectalis muscle and straightens the rectum letting things take their natural course.
Benefits of squatting
- prevents straining for faster and easier bowel movements
- flatter tummy (having complete bowel movements reduces bloating giving you a flatter tummy!)
- maintains good colon health
- protects the nerves that control the prostate, bladder and uterus from becoming stretched and damaged
How to gain these benefits?
One option is to squat on the toilet seat. This is what I do. But be aware that it can be a dangerous practice, as sit-on toilets are not designed to be squatted on, and there have been some nasty accidents when bowls have broken or collapsed. So just be mindful.
Another option is the squatty potty. You pop this device under your toilet and it helps you return to a more natural pooping position. You can purchase one here if you live in Australia, or here if you live in any other country.
I would definitely recommend you consider returning to the natural pooping position to help avoid any negative health consequences.