Monday, December 3, 2012

You've Been Pooping Wrong - Sitting on Toilets Causes Hemorrhoids

This is a poop-related article. I'm doing my best to remain mature, but really, how mature can I be, given the subject matter?

Remember way back when I had that lengthy post about how most people shower wrong? Here's another life-altering thought: if you've been sitting down on toilet seats in order to poop, you've been unknowingly injuring yourself.

The Science of Number Two

Toilets are not from nature - there is no "toilet tree." The modern flush toilet was invented by Sir John Harington in 1596. Focused more on sanitation than anatomy, the toilet was raised off the floor. This makes sense to us modern poopers because we don't like the idea of touching the bathroom floor with our butts.

The problem is that our intestines aren't aligned for sitting down. Like other mammals, we are meant to squat in order to defecate. By squatting, our colon and lower intestine align with gravity in order to expel our waste with minimal effort. Think of it like the waterslides at popular water parks: the long, straight slide drops you straight down, very quickly. The slides with bumps and bends in them take longer to get down.

I can't believe I just compared pooping to waterslides...
Sitting on a toilet is like going down a bent slide - by forcing your waste to work against gravity, you must compensate by straining your lower abdominal muscles. As a rule of thumb, it takes three times as much effort to poop while sitting than squatting.This unnecessary strain can lead to bowel obstructions, diverticulitis (bowel rupture,) and hemorrhoids.

Think this is a load of crap? Feel free to review this study that found the optimum angle of the rectum for defecating. The best flexion, it concludes, comes from squatting. Or, if you'd prefer, peruse this study that timed bowel movements from three different positions. Its subjects reported their average dump took less time and less effort when they were squatting.

Where There's a Problem, There's a Product

If I have you concerned over your pooping habits, you could browse the website of a New Zealand company that sells the Lillipad Squatting Platform. For just $169, the company will send you a platform that will allow you to squat over your standard 14'' toilet. Or, if you're tight on cash, for $8 they will sell you the plans to build one for yourself.

She looks way too happy... And way too flexible...
 Personally speaking, while all this information is fun to know, please don't go out trying to fix something that isn't a problem. If you are having problems evacuating your bowels, see a physician, and consider a simple fix like changing your diet to include more fiber and water.


  1. Fantastic web site. Lots of helpful info here. I’m sending it to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you on your effort!

  2. Corey,
    I have been reading your blog, especially the post about "showering wrong" and your caution towards skin health.

    I can't find an email or "contact us" link on your blog. There is a new science on skin care that you would want to be aware of. Please reply by email to

    I look forward to communicating with you.

    Dominic D

  3. Ergonomically squatting is better for you but people are not going to go back to squat toilets, obviously. Even in Asian Countries when they build a new house they almost always go with western style toilets. The one thing they still get is the Hand Bidet Sprayer. Even though these were originally used because they could not flush toilet paper down the squat toilets they still prefer them with the western style toilets because cleaning with water provides superior hygiene. See