Stool, feces, excrement, dung and even poop. It doesn't matter what you call it, you're doing it every day (I hope) and you're probably doing it wrong.
It turns out that all the countries that have fancy, sit-down toilets aren't allowing the... uh... 'hatch' to open all the way.
When we stand up or sit down, there's a kink in our lower gut that stops us pooping at random. But when we squat, our guts elegantly straighten out, leaving us free to eject any waste in comfort.
Sitting down to poop means that the muscles in the gut have to strain to push excrement around the bend in the bowels. "Just like a car on the highway, turning a corner means our feces have to put on the brakes," Giulia Enders, writer of 'Darm mit charme' (Charming Bowels in German), told the Guardian'’s Annalisa Barbieri.
This isn't just a harmless observation; nature designed us to squat when we poop. When we try to force our way around that, we're at greater risk of damaging our bodies.
"“1.2 billion people around the world who squat have almost no incidence of diverticulosis and fewer problems with piles. We in the west, on the other hand, squeeze our gut tissue until it comes out of our bottoms,”" says Enders. Diverticulosis occurs when excessive strain and pressure push out weak areas of the muscle wall and form little pouches in the colon. Piles are swollen blood vessels around the anus, also caused by straining.
This revelation isn't new; in fact, a study in 2003 by Israeli doctor Dov Sikirov concluded that squatting to poop was the 'most satisfactory.' The study compared defecating in three different positions: Sitting on a toilet 42cm high, 31 cm high and squatting. The test subjects reported that pooping while squatting took an average of 50 seconds whereas pooping while sitting took an arduous 130 seconds.
The paper also noted that sitting necessitated "excessive expulsive effort" to shift biowaste, whereas squatting was a comparatively carefree exercise.
So, if you're a toilet user, how can you adjust your pooping habits to protect your bowels? Well, Enders suggests that climbing on top of the toilet seat and perching while you poop "might be fun," Enders. However, she also suggests having a little stool in front of your bowl to elevate your feet. So remember kids - squat when you poopy, to keep a healthy booty.