How many of you actually think about how you’re sitting on the toilet when you take a crap? Turns out, it’s something you should consider.
According to Daniel Lametti, who examined the best position for pooping in a piece for Slate, “bathroom posture” can actually have a big effect on your health.
Our bodies hold in feces with the help of a bend between our rectums and anuses. When we stand, the bend is at a 90-degree angle, which helps keep everything, um, inside. But when we squat, Lametti wrote, “the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier.”
Theoretically, that means that the closer you are to a squatting position, the easier it should be to poop. A 2003 study seemed to argue this is, indeed, the case; the participants who pooped in a squatting position needed less time and less straining to achieve a “sensation of satisfactory bowel emptying” compared to their toilet-sitting counterparts.
Giulia Enders, the author of Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ, explains that there is a right way to position yourself on the potty, and it’s all about squatting.
“1.2 billion people around the world who squat have almost no incidence of diverticulosis [a condition that occurs when pouches in the bowel become inflamed, leading to abdonimal pain, constipation, and rectal bleeding] and fewer problems with piles [hemorrhoids],” says Enders in the interview. “We in the west, on the other hand, squeeze our gut tissue until it comes out of our bottoms.” Enders, who is studying for a microbiology degree in Frankfurt, Germany, also claims that there are various studies showing that people can poop more efficiently if they squat. One 2012 study published in the Digestive Diseases and Sciences journal, for instance, found that people who squatted on a 12-inch toilet while pooping took 51 seconds, while those who sat without squatting on a 16-inch toilet took 130 seconds.
Can’t picture what squatting on the toilet looks like? Enders tells The Guardian that you can use a little stool to place your feet on while you’re sitting. Voila—it’s as simple as that. You can also buy what’s called a “Squatty Potty” to make things even easier.
Try this technique yourself the next time you’ve gotta go. Your bowels will thank you