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Pooing the right way!

Are you sitting comfortably?

Constipation is not an easy subject to talk about yet it is something that generally affects people as they age.

Poor diet and lack of exercise are just some of the causes that can cause this very uncomfortable and sometimes far reaching problem.

Recently a book, written by a German microbiologist, has caused a sensation in that country by explaining that we in the west empty our bowels in totally the wrong way. This can cause all sorts of problems including not only constipation but also diverticulitis and haemorrhoids.

Guilia Enders, who is involved in gastroenterology at the University in Frankfurt, was investigating the subject for a medical doctorate in microbiology, and found that one’s position when evacuating the bowels is extremely important.

She says that sitting on a normal loo seat is totally wrong and makes the process of defacating more difficult and lengthy.

Her idea is that the sitting position tightens the puborectalis muscle which restricts the rectum. By squatting, the puborectalis muscle is relaxed and the rectum is straightened, making it much easier to pass motions without undue pushing or effort.

In some cultures, squatting is a part of every day life

In the book, she mentions the fact that in Asia, for instance, where many toilet functions are undertaken in a squatting position, cases of bowel problems and diseases are much less.

Modern toilets, based on Thomas Crapper’s historic breakthrough design, enable people to sit down comfortably, but they also keep your knees at a 90 degree angle to the abdomen. This can restrict the rectum by making it bend.

In the traditional squat position, the knees are lifted up and placed much closer to the body, changing the spaces and angles around the intestinal organs and other areas and straightening out the rectum, making it easier for the motions to pass straight down.

Guilia Enders has told the Guardian Newspaper that 1.2 billion people around the world who squat for defecation have almost no incidence of diverticulitis and fewer problems with piles.

She mentioned that it would be possible in the western world to improve the position by climbing up onto the toilet seat and squatting, but that is really not a serious recommendation. Instead the kink in the rectum can be straightened out by sitting on the toilet as normal., but placing your feet on a little stool and leaning forward. This replicates to a certain extent the squatting position but also supports your weight more comfortably.

Guilia’s book Darm mit Charme is now available in English – Charming Bowels – and doesn’t just cover pooing positions. It also contains a wealth of seriously researched information on the gastrointestinal tract and digestive health. It is available from Amazon.

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