As part of biological routine of nearly all living organisms, elimination of unneeded and digested food remains is a requirement of ongoing health. Within human beings, the position the individual utilized in the elimination of fecal waste may have far-extending health consequences, and while sitting has been the primarily position adopted in western societies in the last two centuries, squatting has been found to offer many discerning advantages to one’s well-being.
Expediency of Elimination
Addressed in greater detail below, the quantity of time one spends during fecal elimination has been found to have profound effects on the health of the body. Studies have shown the amount of strain, as well as the energy expended to complete elimination, are both greatly reduced when one is positioned in the squatting position rather than a sitting position.1 In part, the squatting position allows the rectoanal canal to move into a straight position, allowing for quicker and easier fecal elimination, as opposed to the curvature put onto the canal in a sitting position.2
Reduction of Digestive Issues
Below are several major health issues that can be reduced, if not eliminated, by replacing the sitting position on a toilet with squatting for a bowel movement. In addition to straightening the rectoanal canal, squatting also widens the rectoanal angle, allowing the puborectalis muscle to relax and reduce strain further.3
Hard and dry bowel movements, in addition to a diet poor in fiber, may result in chronic constipation. While the position in squatting will not eliminate the causes of constipation fully, utilizing squatting for elimination will reduce the amount of time one remains constipations, and eliminate the discomfort and pain associated with it.4
Primarily created from straining in the process of fecal elimination, hemorrhoids are veins that have protruded outside of the anus or lower rectum. Their presence is not only painful, but may also cause bleeding during elimination, and make one’s life both uncomfortable and difficult. Clinical studies have shown that in individuals suffering from hemorrhoids have shown a significant reduction in symptoms, if not outright elimination, when squatting, rather than sitting, was utilized during the elimination process. Primarily, the reduced volume of time required for total elimination was found to be approximately 1 minute in the squatting position, rather than 4 minutes to 15 minutes required in the sitting position.5
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Traumatic injury in the pelvic area, as well as childbirth, may result in the Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, where the individual has difficulty controlling the muscles that allow for elimination of fecal waste from the body. Incomplete bowel movements, as well as painful urination, ongoing pain in the pelvic region, as well as painful intercourse for females, are some of the more common symptoms.6 While squatting is not a cure for Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, it will improve the ongoing symptoms in regards to problem elimination.7
Irritable Bowel Disease
The chronic bloating and pain resulting from Irritable Bowel Disease can result in cramping, gas, as well as constipation.8 As with Pelvic Floor Dysfunction, many of the symptoms from Irritable Bowel Disease can be greatly reduced through the use of squatting for fecal elimination.9
Childbirth, as well as severe straining or passing large, hard stools during bowel movements, can create anal fissures, which are small tears along the linings of the anus. Resulting in great pain, fissures not only cause bleeding, but may expose the muscle underneath.10 Squatting reduces the pressure on the anal fissure, allowing it to heal, and reducing the likelihood of reopening the tear during the bowel movement.11
Diverticulitis is the bulging of areas of the outer layers of the large intestine where the inner mucosa layer has weakened, creating sacs for fecal material to collect rather than move forward towards the rectum for elimination. Most common among age 60+ in the western countries of the United States, Canada, England, and Australia, it is virtually unheard of in the countries of Africa and Asia.12 Further studies have shown that in addition to the lower fiber intake in western countries compared to their eastern counterparts, habitual bowel emptying in a sitting posture in more prevalent in the west. The reduced straining that is resultant of the squatting position in bowel elimination in African and Asian nations result in part of lower diverticulitis rates in these regions of the world.13
Squatting for fecal elimination not only has numerous health benefits, but also reduces the amount of time one spends addressing this need. While other areas of one’s health should also be addressed, squatting can reduce a great number of everyday health problems many individuals deal with.