German scientist and author Giulia Enders says that squatting is the best way to ensure a healthy bowel movement – providing a more pleasurable toilet experience and reducing the risk of piles and unpleasant digestive conditions.
The bottom-inspecting microbiologist pooh-poohs the western approach of sitting down to take a dump, which she says has an adverse shape on the muscles on the end of the colon and prevents them opening fully. Squatting, however, ensures a nice, straightforward despatch.
“1.2 billion people around the world who squat have almost no incidence of diverticulosis and fewer problems with piles,” she told The Guardian. “We in the west, on the other hand, squeeze our gut tissue until it comes out of our bottoms.”
She recommends sorting out the unwanted kink in the colon by sitting with our feet on a little stool – no, not that sort of stool – in front of the toilet, and leaning forward slightly.
In her new book, ‘Gut, The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ’, Enders also explains that humans have two sphincters. The outer sphincter is the one we all consciously open when we go to the toilet. But the inner sphincter is our pal because it operates sub-consciously – emitting samples for clever sensor cells to work out whether it’s safe to poo or parp. For example, if you’re at home then you’re good to go; if you’re sitting in a lengthy business meeting with the boss then maybe not.
But the inner sphincter can switch off if it is ignored too often. This can happen if someone is shy to go to the loo for fear of being overheard, for example – and it can lead to constipation.