- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Got Hemorrhoids? You Could be Pooping the Wrong Way
Even though you've probably been doing it the same way your entire life, you could be pooping the wrong way. According to a 2003 study published in Digestive Disease and Sciences, squatters took an average of 51 seconds to finish their business as opposed to 130 seconds for those sitting on a standard toilet. While the 39 second difference doesn't seem like a significant amount of time, researchers have found that sitting inhibits the body's ability to complete a bowel movement. Squatting, on the other hand, eliminates many of the issues connected with modern living including constipation, hemorrhoids, and may even prevent colon cancer.
Why does squatting work?
Squatting enables the puborectal muscles to relax. This paves the way for the colon to do its regular process smoothly and gently. In addition to the time savings (12.5 days over the course of a lifetime!), squatting:
Prevents constipation. Since squatting relaxes the puborectal muscle it aids the passage of fecal material through the colon. With the addition of fiber, squatting can dramatically increase the body’s ability to eliminate waste.
Prevents Hemorrhoids. One of the major causes of the hemorrhoids is constipation and the length of time spent sitting on the toilet. Sitting produces an angle which prevents the colon from fully relaxing. Squatting creates a more direct line for fecal matter to flow, thereby reducing the risk of constipation and hemorrhoids.
Could prevent cancer. Since sitting prevents the elimination of fecal material, that material stays in contact with the colon for a longer period of time, allowing harmful carcinogens to do damage. While there are no direct clinical studies, lessening contact with the harmful ingredients contained in poop is believed to reduce incidences of cancer.
How Can You Keep from Falling Over When You Squat?
While many cultures are accustomed to squatting, Americans often find it difficult to maintain balance. While practice is certainly a key ingredient, squatting aids are available to help. Rather than completely eliminate the use of a traditional toilet, squatting devices like the Squatty Potty assist in providing a platform that aids in achieving the squatting position without the instability that comes from squatting solo.
In the end, digestive health isn’t just about proper pooping technique. A healthy colon requires a healthy diet of fruits, grains, and vegetable. While squatting can help, there is no real substitute for exercise, weight management, and diet. In both matters, balance is key.