We’re often reminded that good posture is important when we walk, sit, and stand, but have you ever given much thought to proper toilet posture? It may not be the most appealing subject matter, but I do think it’s an important health topic that should be more commonly discussed!
(Don’t worry, I’ll keep the TMI to a minimum.)
If you think about it, it makes sense that squatting is the natural position for humans to eliminate waste. It’s what we have to do when we’re in nature, after all! (i.e. camping) If you’ve ever traveled to other countries, you may have even encountered more primitive-looking toilets designed for just this purpose.
5 Problems with Sitting on Your Toilet
Let’s face it: most of us don’t get the fiber we need in our 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
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 using the Squatty Potty as a part of their everyday routine.
While I’m not suggesting that we all start abandoning our modern toilets, there is a simple solution: Use a stool to prop your feet up! Below, you’ll see how propping your feet up can affect your internal workings.
According to this website:
“People can control when they defecate, to some extent, by contracting or releasing the anal sphincter. But that muscle can’t maintain continence on its own. The body also relies on a bend in the rectum (where feces is stored), and the anus (where feces comes out). When we’re standing or sitting the bend, called the anorectal angle, is kinked which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps the feces inside. The sitting posture actually keeps us in ‘continence mode’. This makes elimination difficult and incomplete, creating the need to STRAIN.
Optimal elimination is achieved in the natural squat position when the puborectalis muscle relaxes, allowing the anorectal angle to straighten, resulting in easier defecation.”
In other words, squatting may help relieve constipation, end hemorrhoids, and improve overall colon health.
For the past few years, I’ve simply used an empty trash can, tipped upside down, to act as a “stool” in our restroom at home. While it’s probably better than using nothing, it’s definitely not the most ideal option since the height and width aren’t necessarily best for my body’s natural alignment.
That’s why I’m so happy I discovered the Squatty Potty!
At first I was skeptical of having something like this stored in my bathroom (and the awkward conversations it might start), but this little stool is perfectly designed to set your body in proper alignment while using the toilet–> then it scoots under the seat and stays completely out of the way!
The stool can be angled up or down, to accommodate the flexibility of your ankles, and is wide enough that your feet can rest comfortably for an overall relaxed squatting position. I am using the 7″ model, which fits under most standard toilet seats and is perfect for beginners, but if you find yourself with higher toilet seats, they also have a 9″ model available.
The Squatty Potty company was kind enough to send me the bamboo model pictured above, and after trying it for the very first time, I noticed a difference right away. In fact, my husband and I are enjoying it so much that I think we may buy more for the other toilets in our home! (They have a more affordable model available, if you want to try it out first.)
I am especially excited to be using this stool during my pregnancy, as it’s thought to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which can be weakened with childbirth. Squatting is also supposed to make laboring more effective, so I look forward to seeing if it helps with that, as well!
Reader Feedback: Have you ever heard of using a stool for the toilet? Do you think it’s worth a shot?
Disclosure: Squatty Potty sent me a complimentary stool, but I am under no obligation to mention their company or post a positive review. As always, I will only mention products and brands that I love and would choose to use in my own home.