Crouching with your knees bent while you answer nature’s call – this position doesn’t seem elegant, but there’s a growing following for this method of squatting to poop. Something that’s been done for centuries in some parts of the world like Asia is now becoming a more acceptable style of toilet etiquette on local shores too. Here’s why people are suggesting you squat to poop.
To understand why there’s so much fuss about this quaint style of sitting while you poop, it helps to understand the process itself. The pelvic floor contains superficial muscles such as the anal sphincter which can be contracted or released to allow you to defecate. Besides this, there is also the deeper puborectalis muscle that winds its way around the rectum, helping you keep up fecal continence.Unfortunately, when you sit down, you tend to position yourself in a manner that pinches the rectum close, to prevent accidental leakage of fecal matter. When you squat, the muscle relaxes, allowing you to poop with ease.
When you squat, the rectoanal canal also straightens up more, allowing waste to exit more easily. As researchers also found, the more the hip flexion you achieve while squatting, the better it is. This means less straining while pooping as the canal straightens when you flex your hip further. The angle for squatting is about 126° compared to 100° when you sit normally.
The importance of optimal movements and positions that help the body rid itself of all its waste isn’t something we’ve recently discovered. Ayurveda has always emphasized the importance of proper bowel movements. There’s even a name for the squatting position one needs to be in – malasana or the garland pose of yoga (or even the shitting pose, since mala also means excrement in Sanskrit).
Since you are not sitting down directly on the toilet seat, but hovering over the pot, you do not come in contact with the seat. This means fewer chances of picking up germs or bacteria from previous users or other contamination. Due to the design of the traditional squatting toilet, you also are unlikely to splash the water from the toilet bowl when you defecate.
Like we said, this position is optimal for your body and is also a more natural way to push fecal matter out.Since you are in the right position for the rectum and anus (nearly vertical) to empty out with the help of gravity, you are able to fully empty bowels of waste.
Often, those who otherwise struggle to poop due to constipation, find it easier when they are squatting because you have the posture on your side.
Besides helping achieve a more thorough purge, squatting also helps the process finish faster. One study found that those who squatted finished their bowel movement in just 50 seconds, against the 130 seconds needed by those who were in the sitting position.
The nerves in your bladder, uterus, as well as prostate tend to get stretched and sometimes damaged in the regular seated position on a western-style throne. However, while squatting the nerves are less likely to be damaged because the squatting position protects them.
Because the strain on the anus and surrounding area is reduced, you are also less likely to have the problem of hemorrhoids, inflamed and swollen veins of the anus and rectum.
For women with a baby on board, the squatting position takes some of the load off the uterus while pooping. Plus, it comes with the added bonus of getting in some squats, which are said to help ease delivery.
Squatting may even help reduce the incidence of colorectal disorders like appendicitis, colitis (inflammation of the digestive tract), and diverticulosis (bulging pouches in the colon).
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