Think back to when you last went camping, chances are you had to squat somewhere in the bush or use a ‘bush toilet’ to eliminate when nature calls, after all, it’s easier and healthier to do your business the natural way, it’s a complete emptying of your bowels, and the effect is brilliant for your energy, recovery, fitness and general health.
Pooing regularly is part of keeping your digestive system healthy. But when nature calls, it doesn’t always come so easily. While it’s not abnormal to have discomfort during a bowel movement on occasion, defecating should not be a source of constant pain.
Some people swear there’s an ideal position that will reduce the pain and friction felt when having a bowel movement, and you well may ask, can changing the position really make the process smoother? My answer to that is ‘yes’.
There are three specific positions that you can get yourself into that make it easier to eliminate.
We call them defecation postures:
- sitting with hips flexed
To envision the way your body empties your bowels, picture a flexible pipe as the exit canal from your body. This pipe is your rectal canal.
If the pipe is bent, then matter in the pipe can not completely empty out. When the pipe is set straight, it forms a direct route that’s now efficient and whatever matter is in that pipe is on its way out easily!
Hip flexion, the degree to which your legs are elevated or tilted during a bowel movement, can also help your rectal canal reach its potential as an evacuation route. sitting:
Sitting is the typical defecation posture for most people in the Western hemisphere who use a traditionally shaped pedestal-type toilet bowl. The pedestal toilet came into prevalence in the 19th century when indoor plumbing became more mainstream.
By studying the digestive system, researchers have traced health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation to this type of toileting position.
They point out that the natural human impulse is to squat while emptying the bowels, and that the sitting position doesn’t allow for your rectal muscles to relax in a straight line.
Sitting on a toilet with your hips flexed away from your body at a 60-degree angle may help your rectal muscles into a more neutral position, reducing the straining it takes to get your poop out.
There are currently no studies to indicate that sitting with hips flexed is better than squatting to use the toilet, though some researchTrusted Source suggests it may be better than just sitting.
Squatting, or sitting with your knees raised and your legs slightly spread, may indeed be the most natural and most effective way to empty your bowels.
A 2019 study with a small sample size showed that a toilet modification device that elevated the hip flexors into a squatting position resulted in less straining and more complete bowel movements. Study participants also spent more time pooing when they used this type of device.
Certain products can lift, elevate, and angle your legs when you use the toilet.
We used an ‘IN LOU’ when we held retreats in North Queensland. This structure was designed to fit around the toilet with areas for you to place your feet, then naturally you would be squatting over your toilet.
A friendly warning here, be careful not to build your own structure with a pile of bricks on either side of your toilet, or even attempt to squat on the toilet border, as serious injuries have occurred with people doing this. Whatever way you decide to act to place your body in a squatting position it must be safe.
Potty stools are simple to use and relatively affordable.
Besides changing the position that you use to poop, there are other best practices you can use to make pooping a more pleasant and efficient part of your day.
- Eat plenty of fiber. The recommended amount of fiber is 25 to 38 grams per day. Consuming fiber can help stool pass through your bowels efficiently and out without straining.
- 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.
- Check the temperature of your water - warm to hot water is perfect for softening stools and helping with elimination.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Remember squatting provides 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 eliminate.
If you have frequent constipation, it’s probably worth your while to try a new pooing 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 health professional if you’re concerned about ongoing constipation.
In my Lifestyle Reset book, you will learn more amount the gut, and effective ways to eliminate including a chapter on specific essential oils to include in your everyday activities. Here is the link: Lifestyle Reset, The Essential Guide To Healing You and the Planet.