Must we squat to poop?
Prompted by the high recommendation from a patient, I recently purchased a ‘squatty potty’ – no it’s not really a potty it’s actually a footstool to adjust your posture while you poop. In fact the idea is to put you into the more natural position of squatting for healthy bowel elimination.
So I thought I’d try it and review it and I must say it’s absolutely brilliant.
Years ago I wanted to build a squatting toilet in the garden (long story) but my friends were against it and we went for the more conventional seat. But with a footrest you can use a conventional modern toilet and just raise your knees and lean forward and you’re in a squatting position. After extolling the virtues of my new piece of bathroom furniture, I then found out that many of my friends already use either a homemade footrest or a manufactured for purpose prop. AND they all swear by it.
So why is it so great? Well it’s a posture thing. By squatting we take the kink out of our colon by relaxing a muscle called puborectalis so poo doesn’t have to be pushed and squeezed around a corner - making it all so much easier to go.
You might have noticed in the press back in May that squatting is the new sitting as far as toilet behaviour goes. Although squatting is as old as humanity this press coverage was all due to the recent success of a book by German Scientist Giulia Enders called Darm mit Charm in German or simply Gut in the recently published English translation. It’s a great book, easy to read, entertaining and full of fun drawings by her sister who is a science illustrator. I would recommend this book if you want an introduction into how the gut works, how a healthy gut is so important to our immune system and mental health and the latest research into the interactions of gut bacteria with our whole well being. As a research scientist Enders has oodles of references in the back of the book but she also has a great skill in writing for a general readership. She is an endearing speaker and her award winning ‘science slam’ based on her research went viral on YouTube in 2012 and is well worth looking up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFsTSS7aZ5o
So if you’re interested in reducing the time you spend on the toilet, reducing your likelihood of getting haemmorhoids and anal fissures, reducing constipation and being kinder to your pelvic floor then look into a footrest to put you into a squatting position on the toilet. There are many on the market - squatty potty seems to be the easiest to buy online in the uk but have a look.