[Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

User avatar
dudiobugtron
Posts: 1098
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:14 am UTC
Location: The Outlier

[Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby dudiobugtron » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:14 pm UTC

I saw an ad recently for a product (obviously I won't link to the actual product, or the 'research' that backed up their claim, or anything like that!) which claimed that modern Western toilet design encouraged an incorrect defecation position. The claim was that our bodies were designed to defecate in a squatting position, which helped correctly relax the sphincter muscles or something like that. Modern toilets encourage us instead to defecate in a sitting position, which is less efficient.

There's a Wikipedia article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_defecation_postures
which links to sources which evaluate the different positions with respect to particular syndromes or symptoms, but doesn't seem to have much about how it affects people in general (other than as it relates to those syndromes or symptoms, eg constipation).

All of the information I can find on how it affects people in general is by 'alternative health' websites/etc. My basic question is: are we pooing correctly? Could we benefit from using a better defecation posture?
Image

User avatar
Yoshisummons
Posts: 93
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:47 pm UTC
Location: Happily curled up in a cardboard box alone

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Yoshisummons » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:42 pm UTC

Cracked did an segment about this a while ago about this here we gohttp://www.cracked.com/article_19121_7-basic-things-you-wont-believe-youre-all-doing-wrong.html.

From the sources that article cites mostly diverticular disease(sounds lovely), and a main cause of hemorrhoids. I'm rather strapped for time so I'll update when I get time tonight to dig through the sources more thoroughly.
eran_rathan wrote:Listen to the man with the cone on his head - these are Words of WisdomTM.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:53 pm UTC

I've heard this too. In the realm of 'Things Western Habits Got Really Wrong For Our Bodies', sitting on toilets is definitely up there with 'how we deliver our babies'
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Diadem
Posts: 5654
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:03 am UTC
Location: The Netherlands

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Diadem » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:49 pm UTC

I don't know about health, and honestly don't care either, but sitting sure is a lot more comfortable than squatting.

Calling a position that may be slightly less healthy, but is infinitely more comfortable, 'wrong', is just silly.
It's one of those irregular verbs, isn't it? I have an independent mind, you are an eccentric, he is round the twist
- Bernard Woolley in Yes, Prime Minister

User avatar
poxic
Eloquently Prismatic
Posts: 4751
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:28 am UTC
Location: Left coast of Canada

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby poxic » Fri Sep 13, 2013 10:54 pm UTC

In TMI news, I've found that adding a short footstool to my usual routine (somewhat like this, but cheaper) makes for easier pooping. Still get to sit, get fewer problems with hemorrhoids and constipation. Win/win/poop.
A man who is 'ill-adjusted' to the world is always on the verge of finding himself. One who is adjusted to the world never finds himself, but gets to be a cabinet minister.
- Hermann Hesse, novelist, poet, Nobel laureate (2 Jul 1877-1962)

zukenft
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:34 am UTC

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby zukenft » Sat Sep 14, 2013 9:00 pm UTC

this is the best thread I've read in here :lol:
and yeah, squatting tires out your legs, especially for people that loves to philosophize while doing this "business". so that stool idea is the best of both worlds.

Ciber
Posts: 126
Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2013 1:33 pm UTC

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Ciber » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:52 pm UTC

As someone who prefers their poos to be prompt, I can attest that elevating the legs while sitting results in roughly 20% faster pooping.

User avatar
bigglesworth
I feel like Biggles should have a title
Posts: 7461
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:29 pm UTC
Location: Airstrip One

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby bigglesworth » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:08 pm UTC

I have a medical manual from 1922 - it suggests adding a small step in front of the bowl so that you defecate "in the manner of savages".
Generation Y. I don't remember the First Gulf War, but do remember floppy disks.

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Izawwlgood » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:09 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:I have a medical manual from 1922 - it suggests adding a small step in front of the bowl so that you defecate "in the manner of savages".
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

"What is best in life? To take a huge poop, see it steaming in a pit, and smell the dawning of a new day."
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7594
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Zamfir » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:12 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:I don't know about health, and honestly don't care either, but sitting sure is a lot more comfortable than squatting.

Calling a position that may be slightly less healthy, but is infinitely more comfortable, 'wrong', is just silly.

Squatting is uncomfortable if you're not used to it, but it doesn't seem uncomfortable at all for people who do it from childhood on. I have seen people climb on a toilet to squat on the seat, because sitting would be uncomfortable.
Last edited by Zamfir on Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:48 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

speising
Posts: 2353
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:54 pm UTC
Location: wien

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby speising » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:19 pm UTC

and people not used to mattresses may sleep on the floor; it's amazing what habit can do to you.

User avatar
dudiobugtron
Posts: 1098
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:14 am UTC
Location: The Outlier

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby dudiobugtron » Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:01 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I have seen people climb on a toilet to squat on the seat, because sitting would be uncomfortable.


Sounds like you lead an interesting life!
Image

zukenft
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:34 am UTC

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby zukenft » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:34 am UTC

squatting is the most optimal way to force the poo out, as said by the OP. therefore people that are used to squat will be uncomfortable when they use sitting toilet, simply because they feel the poo won't come out.

User avatar
tomandlu
Posts: 1111
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:22 am UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby tomandlu » Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:40 am UTC

When I went to India, it took me a month to realise I should squat rather than attempt to hover over the hole at roughly the position I would be in if there'd been a toilet seat. Not recommended (my invisible toilet seat).

Aside from that, presumably we've evolved to squat?
How can I think my way out of the problem when the problem is the way I think?

User avatar
Zamfir
I built a novelty castle, the irony was lost on some.
Posts: 7594
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Zamfir » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:02 am UTC

Nah, historically people poop more like cows, standing upright and using pressure to eject the poop away from the body.

Clothing and the associated taboos around genitals get in in the way there. And farmers have much weaker belly muscles than hunter-gatherers, so they cannot eject the poop far enough away to keep their legs clean. The move to sitting and squatting poop styles date back to the 5th millennium BC, o even earlier. It's difficult date exactly, archeologists have to base it on the spread patterns of poop around human settlements.

User avatar
tomandlu
Posts: 1111
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:22 am UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby tomandlu » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:01 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:It's difficult date exactly, archeologists have to base it on the spread patterns of poop around human settlements.


Is this for real? Wonderful - how on earth do you know this shit?
How can I think my way out of the problem when the problem is the way I think?

User avatar
Izawwlgood
WINNING
Posts: 18686
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:55 pm UTC
Location: There may be lovelier lovelies...

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:22 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:And farmers have much weaker belly muscles than hunter-gatherers
This sounds spurious...
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

speising
Posts: 2353
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:54 pm UTC
Location: wien

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby speising » Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:16 pm UTC

tomandlu wrote:When I went to India, it took me a month to realise I should squat rather than attempt to hover over the hole at roughly the position I would be in if there'd been a toilet seat. Not recommended (my invisible toilet seat).

Aside from that, presumably we've evolved to squat?


A technical question: how do you keep your trousers clean in the process?

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Jorpho » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:46 am UTC

The last time I used a squat toilet just so happened to coincide with the start of a thoroughly unpleasant stretch of intestinal distress that persisted for several months, the details of which I am not inclined to post publicly. I never did learn exactly what was wrong, but it cleared up eventually; I'd be interested if this is something experienced by other people who don't usually squat. Suffice it to say, my enthusiasm for trying squat toilets again in the future is dampened.

Manabu
Posts: 30
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2010 1:57 am UTC

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Manabu » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:00 pm UTC

On squatting not being as comfortable as sitting, you should consider that the time spent pooping will be shorter [1]. Sitting for long periods of time on a toilet seat, that isn't a soft couch, will likely block circulation on legs that adds on the discomfort of the hard to get out poop itself. On the other hand, using a notebook will be harder... :roll:

Jorpho wrote:The last time I used a squat toilet just so happened to coincide with the start of a thoroughly unpleasant stretch of intestinal distress that persisted for several months, the details of which I am not inclined to post publicly. I never did learn exactly what was wrong, but it cleared up eventually; I'd be interested if this is something experienced by other people who don't usually squat. Suffice it to say, my enthusiasm for trying squat toilets again in the future is dampened.

Let me guess, you had just moved to another country, with new bacteries and/or less sanitation, and that is probably the cause of this intestinal distress. I've had many friends reporting similar troubles on their first months in Mexico, India and China...

[1] More than 2 times faster and easier acording to this study: http://link.springer.com/article/10.102 ... 4180319005

User avatar
Dopefish
Posts: 855
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:46 am UTC
Location: The Well of Wishes

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Dopefish » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:28 pm UTC

As far as comfort of the squatting position goes, I was actually surprised to learn a few weeks ago that not everyone could hold that position more or less indefinitely. I believe the article I read referred to it as "the asian squat" reflecting the fact that pretty much all asians can do it thanks to the nature of asian toilets, but I've pretty much always been able to do it with no particular discomfort (and I'm as white as can be).

Really, if I'm in a situation where there's no seats I trust to be clean, I'm inclined to assume a squatting position simply out of comfort (rather than sitting cross legged). I've never actually pooped squatting, but it doesn't strike me as terribly difficult/uncomfortable as some people describe. I imagine it's just something people get used to, as has been suggested.

As for keeping clean, the way I squat my feet my feet/legs are more or less in line with the outer part of my cheeks rather then together, so as long as there's no horizontal motion or shaking I don't imagine theres be much risk of contact. (Although splashback might possibly be an issue I suppose, but I guess that's something that'd come with practice.)

speising
Posts: 2353
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:54 pm UTC
Location: wien

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby speising » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:11 pm UTC

Dopefish wrote:As for keeping clean, the way I squat my feet my feet/legs are more or less in line with the outer part of my cheeks rather then together, so as long as there's no horizontal motion or shaking I don't imagine theres be much risk of contact. (Although splashback might possibly be an issue I suppose, but I guess that's something that'd come with practice.)


but what about the middle? i'd assume you have to have your trousers at your ankles. of course, in typical sqatting cultures, males frequently do not wear trousers.

User avatar
Dopefish
Posts: 855
Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:46 am UTC
Location: The Well of Wishes

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Dopefish » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:24 pm UTC

Well, theres still some distance between ankles and exit as my feet are slightly forward relative to my behind, although I suppose it'd be fairly close. (Although I'm speaking mostly theoretically here as someone who is comfortable squatting but doesn't actually do so for pooping purposes, so maybe there's some detail I'm overlooking that makes it harder in practice.)

Simply lowering things down to only knee level or so would probably be safest though, as in a squatting position your pants won't simply fall down since your legs aren't vertical (not to mention you could sort of squeeze things with your leg muscles behind your knee). This seems like it'd be doubly useful as from what I've heard many public bathrooms with eastern toilets have floors you wouldn't want any part of your clothes to be touching if you can help it (this is probably true for all public bathrooms actually, but eastern ones in particular).

User avatar
Jorpho
Posts: 6279
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:31 am UTC
Location: Canada

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby Jorpho » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:11 am UTC

Manabu wrote:Let me guess, you had just moved to another country, with new bacteries and/or less sanitation, and that is probably the cause of this intestinal distress. I've had many friends reporting similar troubles on their first months in Mexico, India and China...
A nice guess, but no, this was a reputable-looking establishment in central Paris. I have other reasons to believe that it was something physical, but as I am not inclined to go into the details and no other similar experiences are forthcoming I should probably just drop it.

User avatar
tomandlu
Posts: 1111
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:22 am UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: [Biology] Are we pooing correctly?

Postby tomandlu » Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:55 pm UTC

speising wrote:
tomandlu wrote:When I went to India, it took me a month to realise I should squat rather than attempt to hover over the hole at roughly the position I would be in if there'd been a toilet seat. Not recommended (my invisible toilet seat).

Aside from that, presumably we've evolved to squat?


A technical question: how do you keep your trousers clean in the process?


With difficulty. (assuming you're referring to my incorrect stance)
How can I think my way out of the problem when the problem is the way I think?


Return to “Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 3 guests