Squatting While Pooping

Should I buy a Squatty Potty?

Before we get started on whether or not you should squat while pooping, the truth is, there is no definitive answer.  There is a lot of anecdotal evidence (personal testimonials), a few small studies, and some physiological logic but no right or wrong at this point.  Chances are also good that you came here wondering if you should get yourself the infamous Squatty Potty — and we’ll talk about it shortly. 

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The toilet as we know it is a relatively modern invention.  The first patent was entered in 1775, although there are references to flush toilets as early as 1596.  Up until then, most of the world squatted while pooping, and many still consider squatting to be the normal position for defecating.

Sitting While Pooping

Let’s start with a professional medical opinion.  Colorectal Surgeon Rebekah Kim has stated that most people will have no problems whatsoever if they choose to sit on a typical toilet.  There are some observations about the position of your bowels and such in standing versus sitting versus squatting position, but no hard evidence that pooping in a sitting position causes any harm.  There are lots of OPINIONS though, and we’ll include those.

Squatting While Pooping

Here’s something you didn’t cover in high school geometry — the anorectal angle.  Wikipedia describes the anorectal angle as “the mid-axial longitudinal axis of the rectum and the anal canal, created by the anterior pull of the puborectalis sling at the level of the anorectal junction.  Clear as mud? All you really need to know is that your colon has a bend in it that helps hold the poop in. Not to ruin your gardening, but it’s similar to bending a garden hose to stop the water flow. The angle of the bend in your colon — the anorectal angle — changes when you’re standing, sitting, or squatting.  Although not proven clinically (with many tests on large groups), the logical assumption is that the straighter the anorectal angle is, the easier it is for poop to leave your body. The angle is at its straightest when squatting ergo, so the logic goes, squatting to poop is healthier.

If in fact squatting leads to less straining when pooping, it would also lead to a decrease in hemmorrhoids and anal fissures.

Again, this has only been tested in small studies for short periods of time.  Most of the “evidence” you’ve heard is most likely word-of-mouth or claims from Squatty Potty advertising or similar products.

The next step (or squat)

If you have a desire to try squatting while pooping, by all means do so.  To begin with, there’s no need to redesign your bathroom with only a hole on the floor, or to buy any products.  Simply start with a way to raise your feet about 8 inches from the floor. This allows you to sit on your existing toilet but mimic the squatting position that straightens your anorectal angle.  (If the Squatty Potty really works, does that make it an anorectal “angel”?)

You can use blocks of wood, some bricks, a step stool (pun unintended), books, anything that raises you feet and legs to the squatting angle.

Try pooping in this squatting position a few times.  Go back to pooping while sitting a few times. Go back and forth and listen to what your body is telling you.  Even if the squatting makes you THINK you’re pooping better, there’s a benefit.  

Now you can decide if you want a schlitzly easy-to-clean, easy-to-store, easy-to-use Squatty Potty, or competing product.  Just below, we’re going to include an Amazon link to Squatty Potty’s. That’s just so you can check out prices and reviews.  If you order via this link, we would get a few cents without changing your price, but don’t feel obligated to do so. We’re actually big fans of shopping locally, and you probably have someone in your neighborhood selling Squatty Pottys.

Amazon Link to Squatty Potty

Following is just some Squatty Potty history in case you’re interested… or looking for something to read if you’re pooping right now.

Created by Robert Edwards, a 37-year-old American contractor and designer, the Squatty Potty tale begins with his mother, who was suffering from hemorrhoids and constipation.  We’re not sure how she feel about having her pooping problems broadcast to the world, but it all worked out “in the end”. Edwards’ mother discovered some relief while pooping by using a step stool to raise her feet.  As you can imagine, the typical step stool takes up a lot of space in the typical bathroom. So Edwards tried out a bunch of different options until he came up with the squared off U-shape that stores up against the front of the toilet when not in use.

Since then, the Squatty Potty has, apparently, made pooping easier for thousands of people… and made hundreds of thousands of dollars for the inventor.

Is there a pooping question we haven’t answered?

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