THINK you know how to go for a poo? Think again.
It turns out our modern toilet-using habits can stop us from properly emptying our bowels.
According to an expert, plonking ourselves on the loo in a seated position can actually prevent our bodies from getting rid of poo – instead, we should find a way to squat.
"That's because our muscles around our rectum control whether our bodies are in continence or elimination mode (whether we poo or not)," explains Stephanie Taylor, health and wellbeing expert.
"When sitting down, the anorectal angle (the angle of your anal canal, which releases waste) is kinked, and the puborectalis muscle (the muscle that contracts around the rectum) chokes the rectum, keeping faeces inside," she said.
That kink can restrict your bowels, leaving you straining in an attempt to empty them.
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Squatting, says Stephanie, could make all the difference.
Her tip is to use a stool to help you manoeuvre into a better pooping position.
“A stool can help you achieve the best squatting position and puts your muscles into elimination mode for a healthy bowel movement without excessive straining,” she said.
Simply place the stool in front of the toilet and rest your feet on it when you go.
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Being able to fully empty your bowels without straining can recue your risk of other health conditions too.
Constantly straining when pooping can lead to several uncomfortableissues such as piles, anal fissures (a tear in the large intestine, near the anus) or even anal prolapse (when the large intestine slips down, into the rectum).
"Sitting on the loo keeps our bodies in continence mode and makes it difficult to eliminate waste.
"If you don’t get rid of all faeces, this can cause constipation, which can lead to bowel disease or appendicitis," said Stephanie.
NORMAL FOR YOU
When it comes to going for a number two, plenty of people aren’t really sure what’s normal.
Depending on your diet, age, and activity, regularity can mean anything from three bowel movements a day to three each week.
Keeping an eye on what's 'normal' for you though is crucial, as is being aware of the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer.
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The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:
- Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
- A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
- Pain or a lump in your tummy
- Extreme tiredness
- Losing weight
If you notice any changes to your usual habits, don't be embarrassed,speak to your GP.
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