Written by Dr. Emily Melzer, DPT
For centuries, humans have squatted to defecate, but due to 19th century advancements of the sewer system and sanitation, the porcelain throne we sit on today was born. However, in that moment of history, society was unaware of the dysfunction they were setting us all up for.
Real Potty Talk
The dysfunctions I am alluding to are hemorrhoids, constipation and diverticulitis. Not to mention increasing our risk of syncope (fainting), deep vein thrombosis and stroke. You may wonder why simply sitting to defecate would put you at risk for these complications. As you hear quite regularly in regards to the office, there is a certain posture to help you work most efficiently, that is commonly referred to as ergonomics. Ergonomics are important in places other than the office, for instance in your bathroom. Research has sought out and proved the most efficient, effective and proper way to defecate.
And that position is, drum roll…SQUATTING.
The reason squatting is effective when defecating is due to the function of the puborectalis muscle. The puborectalis is responsible for keeping your rectum closed off, increasing the angle between the colon and rectum. Research demonstrates that the angle decreases when obtaining a full squat to defecate, easing the release of contents. This body mechanism reduces the need to strain, in turn eliminating the risk of hemorrhoids, syncope and stroke. It also better allows the release of all content, decreasing the risk of constipation.
Improve Your Toilet Ergonomics
Eliminating the toilet all together seems like a drastic, and let’s face it, unrealistic goal for the United States, but simply adding a small stool underneath our toilet, is a feasible change you can make today. One research study looked at defection while seated, seated with knees raised 60 degrees and a full active squat to 60 degrees. While the full active squat demonstrated the least angle and the quickest time for release of content, the passive squat achieved by placing a stool under the feet was a close second.
I personally have a Squatty Potty in my home, and I can provide consumer feedback of the improvement in efficiency, effectiveness and overall improved bowel health with the addition of this product into my life. I will never be without a squatty potty under the porcelain throne in my home. I may even consider purchasing the travel version (that’s right, there is an inflatable squatty potty!).
Give us a call today and we would love to help you with your mobility and strength to help in this everyday daily activity!
1. Dov S. Comparison of Straining During Defecation in Three Positions – Results and Implications for Human Health. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 2003; 48: 1201-1205.
2. Sakakibara R, Tsunoyama K, Hosoi H, et al. Influence of Body Position on Defecation in Humans. LUTS, 2010; 2: 16-21.