If you have spent anytime on the internet, then it is very likely you may have already come across this gem of a video.
Putting all unicorns and their rainbow feces aside, and as silly as this video is, it does hold merit that is backed by a few scientific studies.
The findings show the position in which you use the bathroom can have great implications on the quality of your bowel movements. More specifically;
“the greater the hip flexion achieved by squatting, the straighter the rectoanal canal will be, and accordingly, less strain will be required for defecation” 1
As we have discussed in other articles, one of the leading causes of hemorrhoids is due to excessive straining during a bowel movement, most commonly attributed to constipation.
While a great first approach in addressing any health related issue, particularly hemorrhoids, is through lifestyle factors such as proper nutrition and exercise, using a more passive strategy like altering your position on the toilet can also prove very effective in preventing hemorrhoids.
Simulating a squat by elevating your feet with the use of a Squatty Potty can be a very simple and effective method in helping you get things moving a bit easier.
Humans have squatted to handle their business for thousands of years and it wasn’t until the last 100 years or so Western cultures started using the seated toilet. While this kind of toilet is standard across North America, Europe, and other post-industrial nations, many Eastern cultures still use the squatting method when using the bathroom.
While we certainly have made the process more comfortable, we may be sacrificing our long-term health which could lead to much more discomfort down the road.
Benefits of Squatting:
As the video above (as well as other scientific studies) demonstrates, there are several key benefits of squatting during defecation:
1. In the squatting position, the weight of the torso presses against the thighs and naturally compresses the colon. This gentle pressure facilitates gravity by forcing the waste down, making elimination much easier.
2. Squatting relaxes the puborectalis muscle, allowing the anorectal angle to straighten and the bowel to empty completely (see video above).
3. Squatting has shown to reduce overall time spent on the toilet as well as reduce the force needed to fully evacuate the bowels, which can be a large factor in the development of hemorrhoids. 2
What If I Can’t Squat?
In terms of bio-mechanics, the squat is one of the most functional and basic movements humans perform. With so many luxuries and with advancing technology all in the name of comfort, the need to squat is increasingly disappearing.
We sit when we eat, we sit in our cars or on the bus during our commute, most of us sit when we are at work or at school, and we sit when we use the bathroom.
With the onset of a more sedentary lifestyle, humans as a population are developing more hip dysfunction than ever. Unless you are actively seeking out squatting through various forms of exercise and activity, chances are this movement has probably become unnatural for you to perform, resulting in it being very uncomfortable.
To learn more about the importance of the deep squat and how to perform it, check out this video by Daniel Vitalis.
While we suggest a good exercise program for everyone to get better at this natural movement, we understand that getting into a full squat while handling your business can be a very difficult and awkward thing to do, and let’s just say there isn’t much room for error when balancing on the toilet going number 2. It’s not exactly an area where you can afford to “mess up”, so what can we do instead?
Squatty Potty to the Rescue!
That’s where the Squatty Potty can help. This simple but effective device elevates your feet to simulate a squat which allows your puborectalis muscle to fully relax, enabling your colon to empty waste quickly and completely without straining.
As your body’s main system for eliminating waste and toxins, having healthy, regular bowel movements so these toxins don’t accumulate is critical in the prevention of many diseases and ailments like colon cancer, IBD, and IBS.
With the ease of waste elimination, you will no longer have to use nearly as much pressure to force your stool out, keeping hemorrhoids at bay.
While more research needs to be done to fully examine the effectiveness of a “squatting stool”, it does seem to be an inexpensive and promising way to make waste elimination a much more fluid process.
Do you own, or have you used a Squatty Potty? Let us know in the comments if it did in fact give you the “best poop of your life!”