Being part of Western civilization with its modern toilets means you aren’t pooping in the proper manner. This is because you sit down to poop.
The human body is created in such way that squatting seems a more natural and relaxed way to poop, rather than sitting to do your business.
Well, research has proven that you have been pooping wrong your whole life, especially if you are using the fancy, sit-down toilets.
Such toilets do not allow the “hatch” to open all the way, which in turn puts strain on the colon that stores waste from the small intestine. The waste is moved by the colon using rhythmic muscular contractions. The sitting position interrupts the flow, causing the waste product to “cement” to the colon wall.
The sitting position also increases the risk of hernias, constipation, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer and diverticulitis.
On the other hand, the squatting position is the perfect posture for defecation. In this position, the guts straighten out, leaving you to do the job in comfort.
A 2002 study published in the Archives of Iranian Medicine compared the effectiveness of sitting versus squatting for evacuation using 30 healthy subjects (21 males and nine females ranging in age from 11 to 75 years). Researchers found that the subjects who used squat toilets reported “complete” evacuation.
The study shows that when using the squat method, puborectalis relaxation occurred easily and straightening of the rectum and anal canal facilitated evacuation. The anal canal became wide open and no folding was noticed in the terminal rectum.
On the other hand, in the sitting position, a remarkable folding was created in the terminal rectum and puborectalis relaxation was incomplete. The subjects reported that elimination felt “incomplete” in the sitting position.
Another study published in 2003 in Digestive Diseases and Sciences reports that squatting to poop was the “most satisfactory”.
The study compared the straining during defecation in three positions – sitting on a standard toilet seat (41 to 42 cm high), sitting on a lower toilet seat (31 to 32 cm high) and squatting.
Twenty-eight volunteers with normal bowel function were asked to use a digital timer to record the net time needed for sensation of satisfactory emptying while defecating. A total of six consecutive bowel movements were recorded in each position.
At the end of the study, researchers found that the sensation of satisfactory bowel emptying in the sitting defecation posture required excessive expulsive effort when compared to the squatting posture.
There are several advantages of squatting, such as:
- It makes the elimination process faster, easier and more complete.
- It prevents “fecal stagnation”, one of the main reasons behind colon cancer, appendicitis and inflammatory bowel disease.
- It plays a key role in protecting the nerves that control the prostate, bladder and uterus from becoming stretched and damaged.
- It securely seals the ileocecal valve located between the colon and the small intestine. This prevents any kind of leakage during evacuation, which can contaminate the small intestine.
- It relaxes the puborectalis muscle, which in turn prevents putting strain on the rectum.
- It uses the thighs to support the colon and prevent straining. Strain on the colon is linked to increased risk of hernias, diverticulitis and pelvic organ prolapse.
- It reduces the risk of hemorrhoids.
- For pregnant women, squatting avoids pressure on the uterus when using the toilet. It even prepares pregnant women for natural delivery.
To use the squatting position, you can either get a modified toilet seat or simply keep a little stool in front of your toilet seat and put your feet up on it while sitting down on the toilet. This raises your legs, simulating a shallow squat.