And we all know, what goes in most come out. And traditionally, not much thought is given to going, “number two.” You just sit on the toilet and go, right? Well, that is one way of doing it, but there is a more effective way, known as squatting. I was introduced to this concept in 2012 when I traveled to India and soon learned that this was the only way I would be pooping for the next several months. What I found was that everything flowed much more easily. There is actually a scientific explanation for this: when you squat, the puborectalis muscle relaxes, in turn, straightening the rectum. In a sitting position, the puborectalis muscle “chokes” the rectum and inhibits excretion (1). A study by Dr. Sikiov showed that individuals who squatted “moved their bowels” twice as quickly as those sitting, and with less reported effort (2). This position may decrease the probability of developing hemorrhoids and prevent fecal stagnation (1,2). The Edwards family has developed the Squatty Potty so that one can enter the proper squatting position, even when using a standard Western toilet. A stool may do as well, although the positioning isn’t as exact as it would be using a Squatty Potty. Or, you can do like I did, and work outdoors, dig a hole, and poop in the ground! This is a simple but often overlooked and incredibly powerful tool for optimizing digestive health.
Additionally, your stool can give you a clear indication of how your diet is impacting your body. In general, stool should be a medium to light brown color, smooth and soft, formed into one long shape (not many pieces), 1-2 inches in diameter and 18 inches long, shaped like an “s,” fall serenely into the bowl, not cause a huge splash, sink slowly, not smell too repulsive, and have a uniform texture (3,4). If the stool has any of the following characteristics, it may indicate a digestive problem of some sort: is difficult to pass, is in hard lumps and pieces, mushy and watery, pasty and difficult to clean, narrow, pencil-like, ribbon-like, black, tarry, or bright red, white, pale, grey, yellow, if you can see undigested food, if it floats or splashes, if there is increased mucus, or if it has a very bad odor (3). Frequency of bowel movements is dependent on several factors, but in general, going 1-3 times a day is considered normal. But, that does not mean that only going a few times a week is cause for concern. So long as the movements are normal and do not have any of the previously mentioned red flags, your poop is on point. [PS If you do see red flags in your poop, call your doctor immediately! ;-)]
Whew, I’m pooped!…
- Mercola, Joseph. “Want Better Bowel Movements? Squat, Don’t Sit!.” com, 2015. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/01/benefits-squats.aspx.
- Sikirov, Dov. “Comparison of Straining During Defecation in Three Positions: Results And Implications For Human Health.”Digestive Diseases And Sciences, vol 48, no. 7, 2003, pp. 1201-1205.Springer Nature, doi:10.1023/a:1024180319005.
- Mercola, Joseph. “How Perfect is Your Poop?.” com, 2016. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/07/23/healthy-stool.aspx.
- Axe, Josh. “Poop: What’s Normal & What’s NOT.” Axe Food is Medicine, 2017. https://draxe.com/poop/.