Did you know that sitting on a standard toilet is not the best position for effective elimination? It’s true!
Historically, most cultures around the world actually favor a squatting position, rather than a sitting position, when going to the bathroom.
And, just as ancient, traditional wisdom proves absolutely correct in regards to nutrition, it turns out our ancestors were right about proper potty posture as well!
There are actual physiological reasons for us to squat when pooping and not doing so- and sitting as we’re told is civilized- can lead to incomplete elimination/constipation, hemorrhoids, UTIs, pelvic floor issues and even colon cancer.
It’s all about proper alignment! Your body is designed to be in the squatting position to eliminate. We maintain continence over our bowels using the anal sphincter muscles, which we can control, and the puborectalis muscle which we do not control. Our bodies also rely on a bend (called the anorectal angle) between the rectum (where the feces is stored) and the anus (where the feces comes out) to maintain continence.squatting vs sitting
When we are in a standing or sitting position (as on the toilet), the puborectalis muscle works as a sling and puts a kink in the anorectal angle. This kink puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps the feces inside, keeping us continent (which is a good thing in most situations). However, when we’re trying to eliminate, this kink is NOT a good thing because it creates the need to STRAIN in order to eliminate. This straining is one of the main causes of hemorrhoids, according to the Israel Journal of Medicine. Did you know that over 50% of adults over age 50 have hemorrhoids? Yikes!
Because of the anorectal angle being in a kinked position while sitting you are forced to strain in order to move the bowels, which is the main cause of hemorrhoids. While squatting the angle straightens out allowing the fecal matter to eliminate quickly and easily without straining.
– Israel Journal of Medicine
Think of sitting on the toilet (rather than squatting) to a kinked garden hose, it just doesn’t work properly. In a squatting posture this bend is allowed to straighten out and defecation becomes easier.
Assuming the “squat position” is the natural way to achieve easier and more complete elimination. Research has shown that in some people, this kink is completely gone while squatting. Just watch a young child- they naturally squat when they need to poop.
So, what are the possible consequences to your body when you “sit” instead of “squat”??
5 Problems With “Sitting” On Your Toilet:
Let’s face it: most people in the modern world aren’t eating proper diets. It’s true. And we fail to get all the water we need as well. These two things along with improper toilet posture which doesn’t allow us to eliminate completely is a bad combination that creates hard dry stools. These hard dry stools are very hard to push out. It’s called constipation, and we’ve all experienced it. Unfortunately, it’s the norm for altogether too many of us. But that’s just the beginning…
Getting those hard stools out calls for lots of pushing. And that pressure causes hemorrhoids, which can be very painful. Hemorrhoids are inflamed anal varicose veins that have swollen because of our need to push excessively to get those hard stools to pass. And as bad as hemorrhoids are, they aren’t the worst of our potential problems.
#3: Colon Disease
Eliminating completely and often helps maintain good colon health. Many studies point to fecal buildup in the colon as a cause of diseases including colon cancer. And when there is buildup in the colon, our bodies can’t absorb all the nutrients from the food we eat, leaving us without the energy we could enjoy if our colons were healthy.
#4: Urinary Difficulty/Infections
Urinary flow is usually stronger and easier when women squat to urinate. The bladder is emptied more completely when squatting rather than sitting or “hovering”. Squatting can help reduce episodes of urinary tract infections in both frequency and intensity. Now, that is good news!
#5: Pelvic Floor Issues
When the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman’s pelvic organs weaken, the pelvic organs can slip out of place (prolapse). One of the main causes of this condition is straining on the toilet. The “sitting” position causes a great amount of pressure on the anorectal angle of the colon causing the lower part of the colon to drop and protrude into the wall of the vagina. Pelvic floor nerves can be protected by squatting for bowel elimination. Men can also suffer from pelvic floor disorders and can readily benefit from squatting as well.
The ideal posture for defecation is the squatting position. In this way the capacity of the abdominal cavity is greatly diminished and intra-abdominal pressure increased thus encouraging expulsion.
– William S. Haubrich MD , Bockus Gastroenterology
Everyone can benefit from squatting. Even if you are not currently experiencing any bowel health issues, squatting is the position that Nature intended and by adopting proper potty posture now, you can help avoid problems in the future.
Ok, so now you’re probably thinking that squatting makes sense, and you are probably ready to try proper potty posture yourself. But I bet you are wondering how in the world you are supposed to accomplish this in your bathroom at home- and even more so when you are away from home!
Well, the cool thing is that you can easily achieve proper potty posture and no, you don’t have to go dig a hole in the back yard, you don’t have to remodel the bathroom and you don’t have to try to perch on the toilet seat, balancing precariously in a squat- trust me, that’s a 911 call you DON’T want to make…
Enter The Squatty Potty (aka Proper Potty Posture Facilitator Extraordinaire)
What’s a Squatty Potty, you say? Well, it is a cute little stool that fits right around the base of your regular toilet (which allows it to store out of the way when not in use) that slides out and allows you to elevate your feet when going number two. They come in different heights to accommodate different toilet heights as well as different physical capabilities.
Using the Squatty Potty, you can simply elevate your feet (un-kinking the anorectal angle) or you can actually stand on the stool and squat over the toilet. Don’t worry if you aren’t that adventurous or flexible (we aren’t), you will still get the benefits simply by lifting your feet.
I’ve seen people try to accomplish the squatting posture using various sized boxes or overturned cartons, but the problem with this is that they don’t store easily (who wants a box sitting in the middle of the bathroom?), they are not very secure and it’s difficult to find something that is the correct size.
Other the other hand, a Squatty Potty is easy to use, attractively designed, relatively inexpensive and even easily disassembles and reassembles for travel. They are made of durable material and easy to clean.
We absolutely love our Squatty Potty! I have been recommending it to friends, family and clients because of our fantastic results using it over the past several weeks. I consider a Squatty Potty to be a necessary addition to your healthy bathroom routine. These handy devices are widely endorsed by a diverse group of medical and health professionals and are even being used in some progressive hospitals and care centers.
The SP was designed by a husband and wife team of health enthusiasts as a result of their own experience with colon health issues and their frustration in trying to achieve proper potty posture with a variety of boxes, buckets and the like. The Squatty Potty is the solution to stubbing your toe in the middle of the night (and stashing an ugly box away when company comes) as it wraps around the toilet base to store it out of the way when not in use. Genius! It’s also crafted with 100% recycled wood, made in the USA and is free of harmful glues and resins.
WIN A SQUATTY POTTY!!!
We are giving away a Squatty Potty to one lucky winner. The winner will have their choice of one white wooden SP in the 5”, 7” or 9” tall size.
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This giveaway will end Monday, April 16th, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST. The winner will be chosen via random.org. I’ll announce the winner by the end of Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 on the blog. Winner will have 48 hours to email me with his or her full name and shipping address. No purchase necessary to win.
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In addition to the giveaway, we have arranged for a special Real Food Whole Health reader discount so that EVERYONE can take advantage and get their very own Squatty Potty right now. Simply click HERE to visit the SP store and enter the code “love2012” for a 10% discount, which will be valid through the end of April 2012.
If you purchase a Squatty Potty but win the giveaway, you have the choice of receiving an additional SP for free (to use in another bathroom or give as a gift) OR your original purchase will be refunded!
I’m giving Squatty Pottys for Christmas gifts this year and when our new wellness center & retreat opens this summer, there will be one in every bathroom.
Here’s to your colon health- by way of proper potty posture… Happy squatting!