There has been a lot of toilet talk lately on twitter. I like toilet talk – I spend my days talking toilets- teaching people the how to’s and why’s of correct toilet technique ( yes believe it or not there is a technique for this too)
My friend Pelvic Guru did a recent great post on this subject and included this lovely example of a loo:
Bit daunting isn’t it – imagine cleaning this one?!
I recently came across an excellent article “Influence of Body Position on Defecation in Humans” which in real people talk means “how you sit on the loo affects how you poo”.
For those nerdy enough to want to read the article click on the link above. If that is a case of too much information then here is a summary in real people talk:
(reference here to our friends at Squatty Potty for this image)
At rest, your puborectalis muscle is tensioned to help the external anal sphincter ( the hold it closed muscle around your anus) stayed closed. The puborectalis is a sling like muscle running from your pubic bone at the front around the back of the rectum and back to the pubic bone. When it tightens it pulls the rectum forward, increasing the “rectoanal angle”. It is hard to poo around a corner so this helps to keep what needs to be kept in , in!
When you sit on a traditional western toilet and attempt to empty your bowel, the puborectalis relaxes as in the picture above left but as you can see, in this sitting position there is still a “corner” to push around. Now look at the picture on the right…this is squatting – see how the angle straightens out and becomes a tube – direct exit down the shute.
The study looked at all of this in very technical terms, looking at pressures in the abdomen,rectum and anal sphincter ( don’t ask if you don’t want to know !) and the effect of sitting, hips flexed and squatting on the angle and the pressures created using videomanometry (read the article if you really need the details of this exciting measurement!)
The conclusions were “the greater the hip flexion achieved by squatting the straighter the rectoanal canal will be, and accordingly, less strain will be required for defecation”
In real people talk squatting – and the higher the knees the better- makes it easier for you to poo and puts less strain on your pelvic floor.
To help you improve your toilet technique read my previous post on this and check out Femmeze which can help you to support yourself if you have a prolapse of the bowel.
Using a toilet surround like the In Lieu will assist you to squat on your current loo.
Good bowel habits are also essential as outlined in this very easy to understand book by a leading gastroenterologist and pelvic floor physiotherapist.
So happy squatting !