Squatty Potty

By Riva Preil

Ever wonder how to pass bowel movements with greater ease?  Believe it or not, the optimal position for passing a bowel movement is …SQUATTING!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not recommending that we ditch standard toilets for good old fashioned floor holes, however I am suggesting that we become more mindful of our bodies and of our biomechanical alignment while toileting. An important factor in defecation is the anorectal angle, the angle formed by the junction of the anus and the rectum, which at rest is approximately 90 degrees. The puborectalis muscle (part of the levator ani pelvic floor muscles) wraps around the junction like a sling. Contraction or tightening of the puborectalis decreases the anorectal angle or makes it more acute, for our geometry-oriented readers.  (For those who are not, please refer to the Squatty Potty video link here which provides an amazing visualization). On the other hand, relaxation of the puborectalis muscle increases the anorectal angle which allows for descent of stool from the rectum towards the anus. Therefore, it is important to be able to relax or release the pelvic floor muscles in order to allow for strain-free, pain-free passage of bowel movement.  Squatting facilitates pelvic floor muscle relaxation and straightening of the large intestine.  Therefore, it is recommended to attempt passing bowel movements with both feet atop a stool, thereby mimicking the squatting position.  The Squatty Potty is a wonderful tool that was invented with this in mind.  The Squatty Potty is a user friendly stool that can be inconspicuously stored at the base of one’s toilet.  However you choose to simulate squatting while toileting, best of luck and may you have a moving experience!

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