Is it time to rethink our bowel movement habits?


There’s nothing worse than straining desperately while sitting on the toilet.

While fibre and exercise can help ease the passage, it might also be time to rethink whether we should be sitting in the first place.

Westerners are accustomed to sitting on the toilet, but the research shows that squatting is the way to go.

Pelvic health physiotherapist Caitlin Day said standing or sitting upright causes pelvic floor muscles to semi contract and “kink off” the rectum.

“Essentially when we sit down to poo, we’re trying to poo around a corner and we have to strain and push quite hard to get the poo out,” she told Seven Sharp.

Squatting opens up the angle “like a funnel”, allowing for bowel movements to be “smooth and effortless”.

This can be achieved by bringing your knees above your hips, as well as leaning forward to put your elbows on your knees.

“That’s gonna be the easiest pooing,” Day said.

Day said that healthy bowel movements are not determined by frequency, but rather consistency and ease. However, spending long periods of time on the toilet puts pressure on the pelvis and pelvic tissue.

“If you’re spending 20 to 30 minutes trying to get a poo out, you should probably see your GP or pelvic floor physio because that’s not normal,” she said.

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