The One Thing We're ALL Doing Wrong When We Poop

pooping on toiletHow do you poop? I know, I know, it's a horrifying, disgusting question that no one wants to answer, but it's also a key part of our health -- and 99 percent of us are probably doing it wrong.

The fact is, toilets are a modern construct that come from our collective shame about bodily function. We SHOULD be squatting in the fields to eliminate waste, and if we did, we'd all be a lot happier.

Gross, right? Yes. But our bodies are not designed to sit on the porcelain throne. Just look at the fact that 50 percent of Americans suffer from hemorrhoids. It's a terrible thought, but the reality is far worse. Trust me.

Advertisement

More from The Stir: Pooping During Labor & Delivery: 6 Tips for Avoiding It (PHOTOS)

"If you look at how we poop now and how animals poop, you can see that dogs and cats squat when they poop but people like to sit," says Dr. Jennifer Burns of The Bienetre Center, a clinic specializing in matters of the stomach and bowels. "I don't see a dog with hemorrhoids, while many people have them."

As hard as this may be to believe, there are entire companies dedicated to encouraging Americans to squat when they go to the bathroom. The makers of the Squat Potty put out an information video that tells you ALL you need to know. It's terrifying. See for yourself ...

But we need to be educated.

It's a serious problem in our culture if we ignore what's best for our health in the name of some kind of false sense of "dignity." Take childbirth. All the research shows the healthiest way to deliver a baby is either by squatting (noticing a pattern) or standing -- and yet women continue to labor in the hospital on our backs. Is it because it's easier for the doctor?

Probably.

Here's why we need to squat to poop, according to the research.

Basically we control defecation by contracting and releasing our sphincters (good times), but that muscle can't maintain continence on its own.

There's also a space between the rectum and anus that controls bodily function. When we're standing up, the angle on that space is about 90 degrees, which places pressure there and keeps the poop in (thank you Lord!). But once we are in a squatting posture, that area becomes straight and everything comes out much easier.

"It is basic nature that is what we are suppose to do," says Dr. Burns. "Sitting on the toilet can cut off circulation to your thighs since you are sitting on your major blood vessels and nervous system." And that's not all.

Constipation is is also more common because people don't evacuate all of the contents of the colon. And then, of course, there are the hemorrhoids.

When that area isn't straight, a person has to strain harder to go to the bathroom -- which is how we wind up with the excruciatingly painful condition of hemorrhoids.

Many women who have gone through labor and delivery (me included) have experienced the horror of that first bowel movement following delivery and the strain and pain involved.

Hemorrhoids after pregnancy are annoyingly common, and the only way I found to stop them was, thanks to my midwife, propping my feet on a stool. It was bad. I had a home birth and went drug free, and some of my times in the bathroom in the weeks afterwards were actually worse than that.

But how many of us would embrace the squat?

Our sense of collective shame is keeping us from pooping the way we should be. So go ahead, prop those feet and try it! When we are old and gray, there will be far less Metamucil in our diet. Big win!

"Get a foot stool and place it next to the toilet, so that way you can raise your legs and get in squat position to poop," Dr. Burns says. "This way you don't have to invest in an outhouse. We can still have our modern day conveniences and stay healthy at the same time."

Do you poop the right way? Would you be willing to talk about it more?


Image © iStock.com/gpointstudio

Read More >