A new study from the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology proves that squatting while pooping can have a positive effect on your bowel movements. TIME's Jamie Ducharme explains that our bodies are actually built to squat while relieving ourselves (toilets haven't been around forever):
The findings seem to confirm the idea that squatting is the ideal way to go, Stanich says. 'From the rectum into the anus, there’s kind of a bend,' he says, and squatting helps to straighten it out—unlike Western toilets, which position the body at a 90-degree angle. The Squatty Potty 'gets us closer to how we’re ‘supposed’ to have bowel movements,' he says.
The study itself followed the bowel movements of 52 medical residents, asking them to keep detailed logs of their poops for two weeks without the Squatty Potty and two weeks with the new-age tool. According to researchers:
After sorting through descriptions of more than 1,000 bowel movements, the researchers found that 90% of people who used a Squatty Potty strained less, and 71% had faster bowel movements. Fewer users also reported feeling like they still had to go after using the bathroom.
...constipation correlates with many issues. Yet none of them are position-related. So although the research [Squatty Potty offers] can suggest that squatting makes bowel movements easier it doesn't automatically follow that sitting contributes to constipation.
If you're constipated, you're probably positioning yourself to poop just fine! Grab some broccoli and good luck.
Microbiologist Giulia Enders corroborates claims that squatting is the natural way for humans to poop. The Guardian'sAnnalisa Barbieri sat down with Ender's to discuss her research:
Enders tells me about various studies that show that we do it more efficiently if we squat. This is because the closure mechanism of the gut is not designed to 'open the hatch completely' when we’re sitting down or standing up: it’s like a kinked hose. Squatting is far more natural and puts less pressure on our bottoms. She says: '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.' Lovely.
Ender brings up an important point: Not everyone in the world uses toilets. According to World Toilet, 15 percent of the world's population practices open defecation. Ender notes fewer digestive conditions among this population, making the conclusion pretty clear—we should all be squatting.
Changing your habits isn't that easy. Even if squatting makes releasing your bowels a slightly less arduous task, there's something somewhat strange about hiking your legs up while you're on a toilet. As Gizmodo's Danielle Steinberg puts it:
If I were a unicorn whose hemorrhoid-laden rectum produced scintillating, bedazzled ice cream cones, I’d live my entire life on a Squatty Potty. But I am a human, I do not poop rainbows. I do not like to use toilet stools as an ice breaker at parties. I do not like to fling myself off my toilet with abandon or remove my entire outfit every time I have to pop a squat. I do like to poop on a regular basis, unaided by Metamucil or a prodigious number of leafy greens, aided and abetted by an ugly stool isn’t the way. The Squatty Potty is notty for me.
All that matters when you sit down on your throne is that you try–and push–you're hardest!