Here at CG, we think it’s important to discuss those things that no one wants to mention – but everyone needs to know!
For example: the average person spends 3.5 hours on the loo each week. 1https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/how-many-hours-brits-spend-on-the-toilet_uk_60acdff6e4b0d56a83ee6ee5 That’s a lot of time. So let’s get it right!
Did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to sit on the toilet? We didn’t either! But knowing best practice could make all the difference to your comfort and healthy bowel habits.
Here are four top tips for proper Poo Posture – the best ways to avoid straining on your toilet and protect your pelvic floor muscles.
1. Squat on the loo (or raise your feet)
Did you know that your body is designed to squat? Sitting on a toilet is a modern thing and creates a difficult angle to empty your bowels. Instead, squatting is the best position to avoid constipation and straining.2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30993133/
But how do you squat if you’re sitting on a standard Western-style toilet? The trick is to raise your feet off the ground (while still sitting on the toilet seat.) Simply find a small step (or a spare roll of toilet paper for each foot) and get your feet higher off the ground. This will put you in a better position for less straining and protects your pelvic floor muscles.3chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/http://www.pjs.com.pk/journal_pdfs/oct-dec13/269.pdf Research has also shown that squatting (or raising your feet) can cut your toilet trip in half.4https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12870773/ Definitely one to consider if you’re having a busy day!
2. Allow yourself enough time
We know that because of the gut-brain connection, mental stress has a massive impact on your gut, and vice versa. Hurrying in the toilet can cause problems. If you’re in a rush to use the loo, this can result in straining, which can lead to a hernia, anal fissures or haemorrhoids.5https://www.healthline.com/health/poop-strain#potential-complications So when you feel the urge to poop, head to the bathroom as soon as you can. Then sit and relax on the toilet. Avoid immediately trying to push the poop out. Give your body about 5 minutes to get things going. Having reading material nearby is one way to avoid impatience and the urge to strain.
3. Fine-tune your poo posture
Once positioned, do the following:
- keep your legs apart
- lean forward with your back straight
- rest your forearms on your knees
4. Breathe correctly
Do not hold your breath. Pushing your stomach muscles forward, breathe out through your mouth. Repeat with each colon contraction, as your colonic muscles help move feces along the lower portion of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 6https://www.healthline.com/health/colon-spasm#symptoms
What about having a wee?
While we’re having a cheeky chat, let’s talk about the right time time to urinate. Did you know that it’s important to wait until your bladder is completely full? If you empty your bladder when it’s only halfway there – you’re training your bladder to empty when it’s not supposed to.7https://nafc.org/urinary-incontinence/7-tips-for-practicing-good-toileting-habits/ You can also train your bladder muscles by ‘holding on’ when you feel the urge to go.8https://nafc.org/urinary-incontinence/7-tips-for-practicing-good-toileting-habits/
Toilet habits may seem like an awkward topic of conversation, but you are not alone! This topic applies to every single person, every day.
See your GP if you are experiencing any of the following:
- a change in your bowel habits that has lasted for more than six weeks, especially if you are over 50 years of age
- unexplained weight loss
- a swelling or lump in your stomach or back passage
- bleeding from your back passage/blood in your stool
To read more about the stress/IBS cycle, read our blog post here about how to improve your mood and stress levels.
Feel free to get in touch with our Nutritional Therapists via live chat 8 am to 8 pm weekdays to have your questions answered!