How to Poo Properly: Best Position to Poop In According to Science

28 Jul, 2020

Woman in a squatting position on the toilet.

Having proper posture sure is tough and taking proper poos should be easy enough but we’ve grown accustomed to pushing, straining, and forcing out our stuff. Okay, enough poo-etry.

Pooping is actually very scientific. It’s a combination of biology (our gut biome, intestinal tract, colon, etc.), physics (gravity), and ass-tronomy (get it?). Einstein pooped, Newton pooped, and you know Neil Degrasse Tyson has launched a few butt shuttles in his day. 

Now that you have the image of these scientific legends pooping in your mind, let’s have some real talk about how to poo properly, according to science. 

Poop Positions

The scientific term for poop positions is “defecation postures.” Although it is popularly debated — and even experimented — among your friends at a frat party, scientists have identified only two poop positions: sitting and squatting. 

The “sitting defecation posture,” is where the person’s knees and hips are aligned forming a 90-degree angle. As you’re reading this, you are likely in a seated position, and you may even be in said seated defecation posture. Reminder to disinfect your phone. 

The “squatting defecation posture,” on the other hand, is one where the person’s knees are above their hips, forming an almost 45-degree angle with the knees. 

Squatting Toilet vs Sitting

The squatting toilet is common in Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The toilet bowl is actually embedded in the ground and there are typically indications of where to put your feet on either side of the bowl. The instructions for use are as follows: 

  1. Squat
  2. Poop

The health benefits of using a squatting toilet versus sitting toilet are controversial. Although there is no argument between doctors that hemorrhoids can be caused by straining during a bowel movement or sitting for too long on a seated toilet, there is some argument over whether there is enough data to definitively say that squatting is better than sitting for hemorrhoid prevention.

What there is definitive data on is that squatting to poop puts less pressure on your rectoanal canal and therefore makes it easier and therefore less strain on your bowel movements.

The sitting toilet is a chair-like commode that allows the user to take a load off, quite literally. But the sitting toilet we westerners know and love has recently come into question about whether it is the best solution. It’s like your family’s forks vs chopsticks debate all over again.

Thankfully, there is a safe middle ground between the sitting and squatting toilet. Basically, elevating your feet while sitting on the toilet can bring your knees above your hips and your rectoanal canal in one straight line. 

Enough with the hardware, Let’s move on to the software and user experience discussion. 

Best Position to Poop in When Constipated

According to the Cleveland Clinic, more than 2 ½ million patients visit their doctor each year due to constipation, and many more likely suffer from constipation but do not seek medical attention. Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week. So what can we doo when our buttholes won’t poo? 

One study found that defecating in the “Thinker” position, with the upper body bent forward and elbows on knees was the best position for constipated patients to finally have a successful bowel movement.

Correct Position to Poop

Physiologically speaking, the correct position to poop is squatting because the flexion within our hips allows our rectoanal canal to straighten. You should also consider resting your elbows on your knees to achieve the “Thinker” position, which has been found to relieve constipation. 

If you are a westerner on the prowl for a proper-moving bowel, use Tushy’s Ottoman toilet stool to bring the proper pose into your sacred ritual.

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