If you’re trying to get healthy, there’s a good chance you’re paying pretty close attention to the food you put in your body – and that’s fantastic!
But there’s one thing you may not be considering… and that’s what comes OUT of your body. Sure, no one wants to talk about it, but when it comes to your health, digestion is key – so let’s talk honestly about the one thing NO ONE wants to talk about – bowel movements.
How Much Should You Go?
Generally, your goal should be to have a bowel movement anywhere from three times per day to three times per week.1 The frequency should depend on what you eat, how much water you drink, and your unique digestive system. But here’s the truth: a lot of people don’t happen to fall into this category.
In fact, in the United States, there are around 2.5 million visits to the doctor each year because of struggles with constipation. Of course, lots of folks turn to professional medical care or laxatives for help with the issue.2
But really, you should also be looking at your toilet.
Turns out there’s a new toilet innovation on the market called the Squatty Potty. And the Squatty Potty promises to be the solution for anyone troubled by constipation. The Squatty Potty is a stool that you put your feet on so that you can essentially be in the squatting position while seated on the toilet. (You can also just use a good old cardboard box to prop your feet up on.)
Could fixing constipation be this easy? Read on to find out.
The Science of Squatting
Before deciding whether the need for a ‘stool stool’ is a fit for you, you need to understand how squatting might affect your bowel movements. Let’s pretend we live in the old days – otherwise known as B.T. – Before Toilets.
Nowadays, when you sit on a toilet, you’re at what’s called an anorectal angle. According to the Squatty Potty website, the anorectal angle is the root of poop trouble as it puts “upward pressure on the rectum.”3
Think of the end of your digestive tract as a garden hose. Sitting on your toilet causes a kink in the hose. The result? You need to strain harder to get your feces out.
Squatting, rather than sitting on a toilet, may increase the speed of elimination by removing that kink. And it may also help fix more serious digestive problems, too.4
So, is a Squatty Potty the Solution?
Well, one study the company cited showed that subjects found squatting toilets were more comfortable and even more efficient than Western toilets. But, the subjects of the study were also used to squatting when using the bathroom.5
The thing is, nothing shows that squatting is bad for you. And the anorectal angle does technically allow for less space in the rectum which may help prove the point that squatting is the natural way to use the bathroom.6 And scientific studies show that squatting can help people who are having trouble with regular bowel movements.7
Other Ways to Help Ease Constipation
When it comes to constipation, squatting can help stack the deck in your favor. But there are other things you can do to improve this as well. So whether or not you try Squatty Potty (or recycle a cardboard box) try using these tips as well.
- Keep Hydrated
Regular dehydration can play a role in constipation. Naturally, water is proven to help with constipation relief. And some studies show that sparkling water can be even more effective than tap water.8,9
- Up Your Fiber Intake
Chances are that you’ve heard about how fiber can play a role in easing constipation. A better fiber can help increase the bulk and consistency of your bowel movements so they’re easier to pass.10
However, when it comes to fiber, there are certain things you want to look for. If you’d like take a fiber supplement, opt for psyllium husk or a prebiotic powder to add to water or a smoothing. Soluble fibers have the best track record of supporting regularity. So shoot for vegan favorites like beans, raw asparagus, artichokes, lentils, peas, and nuts.11
- Get Active
A recent study showed that exercise relieves some symptoms of constipation.12 So, take a walk or go for a swim… your body will thank you.
Issues with elimination can come from a number of sources. Squatting to use the toilet might give you some real relief if you’re struggling with bowel issues. To really make a difference in your regularity, consider combining a Squatty Potty (or a small cardboard box) with more dietary probiotics and prebiotics, and more exercise.