Having proper posture sure is tough and taking proper poops should be easy enough but we’ve grown accustomed to pushing, straining, and forcing out our stuff. Okay, enough poo-etry.
Pooping is actually very scientific. It’s a combination of biology (our gut biome, intestinal tract, colon, etc.), physics (gravity), and ass-tronomy (get it?). Einstein pooped, Newton pooped, and you know Neil Degrasse Tyson has launched a few butt shuttles in his day.
Now that you have the image of these scientific legends pooping in your mind, let’s have some real talk about how to poop properly, according to science.
Trying to maintain a good toilet position may be useful for people that find it difficult to pass a stool, who strain when defecating or who suffer from constipation. There is no right or wrong way to sit on the toilet; however the following pointers may help make emptying your bowels easier.
The scientific term for poop positions is “defecation postures.” Although it is popularly debated — and even experimented — among your friends at a frat party, scientists have identified only two poop positions: sitting and squatting.
- The “sitting defecation posture,” is where the person’s knees and hips are aligned forming a 90-degree angle. As you’re reading this, you are likely in a seated position, and you may even be in said seated defecation posture. Reminder to disinfect your phone.
- The “squatting defecation posture,” on the other hand, is one where the person’s knees are above their hips, forming an almost 45-degree angle with the knees.
Squatting Toilet vs Sitting
The squatting toilet is common in Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The toilet bowl is actually embedded in the ground and there are typically indications of where to put your feet on either side of the bowl. The instructions for use are as follows:
SO …. Poop Already….
The health benefits of using a squatting toilet versus sitting toilet are controversial. Although there is no argument between doctors that hemorrhoids can be caused by straining during a bowel movement or sitting for too long on a seated toilet, there is some argument over whether there is enough data to definitively say that squatting is better than sitting for hemorrhoid prevention.
What there is definitive data on is that squatting to poop puts less pressure on your rectoanal canal and therefore makes it easier and therefore less strain on your bowel movements.
The sitting toilet is a chair-like commode that allows the user to take a load off, quite literally. But the sitting toilet we westerners know and love has recently come into question about whether it is the best solution. It’s like your family’s forks vs chopsticks debate all over again.
Thankfully, there is a safe middle ground between the sitting and squatting toilet. Basically, elevating your feet while sitting on the toilet can bring your knees above your hips and your rectoanal canal in one straight line.
Enough with the hardware, Let’s move on to the software and user experience discussion.
Best Position to Poop in When Constipated
According to the Cleveland Clinic, more than 2 ½ million patients visit their doctor each year due to constipation, and many more likely suffer from constipation but do not seek medical attention. Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. So what can we doo when our buttholes won’t poo?
One study found that defecating in the “Thinker” position, with the upper body bent forward and elbows on knees was the best position for constipated patients to finally have a successful bowel movement.
What about using a potty stool?
Certain products can lift, elevate, and angle your legs when you use the toilet. This category of products, called potty stools, can put the body in an ideal position for pooping.
Potty stools are simple to use and relatively affordable. Purchase a potty stool online.
There is something to Sheldon’s bathroom rules. In my favorite show, The Big Bang Theory Sheldon Cooper is on a timely bathroom schedule where he only relieves himself when it’s his ‘scheduled time’ to do so. Let’s talk about what I think:
- Try to defecate at the same time each day. When it comes to digestion, our bodies tend to operate on autopilot. Visit the bathroom each day around the same time and attempt a bowel movement to get on a regular schedule. (BAZINGA)
- Stay hydrated. The water content in your stool matters when it comes time to poop. Being dehydrated can cause hard, dark stools that lead to constipation.
- Exercise. Your colon can be stimulated by regular exercise, which can help clear things out. Exercise may also stimulate blood flow to the abdominal area, triggering a bowel movement.
- Don’t ignore the urge to go. When you feel the pressure that indicates it’s time to use the bathroom, don’t try to “hold it in.” Get in the habit of going as soon as you feel the need to.
I leave you with this! It’s not just marketing hype — pooping in a squatting position really is better for many people’s bodies. Not only does squatting provide a clearer exit for your bowel movements, but it also gives some of the job of emptying your bowels to gravity, thereby cutting down on the strain on your muscles as you poop.
If you have frequent constipation, it’s probably worth your while to try a new pooping position to see if it helps. If it feels uncomfortable at first, stick with it for at least a week before you decide if it makes a difference or not.
Occasional constipation is normal, but pain every time you go isn’t. Speak to your doctor if you’re concerned about ongoing constipation.