We were meant to squat - but using a stool will do

When sitting, there’s an angle where your rectum (poop storage) meets your anus, of about 90° - meaning that you have to push pretty hard to get poop past this angle. When you get into a deep squat (think hole in the ground), that angle straightens to about 115° - meaning you don’t have to push as hard (or at all), to pass.

Since we no longer squat like this, the best way to re-create that wide ano-rectal angle is by sitting with your feet on a stool. This gets your knees up higher than your hips. And voila! No more straining to drop that deuce.

You guys! Sit down!

Just as squatting is better than sitting, sitting is better than hovering. Line the seat with toilet paper if you have to and sit the heck down.  The muscles of your pelvic floor can’t fully relax and open when you’re hovering so you either end up pushing down or not fully emptying…neither of which are doing you any favours.

Have mercy, stop straining

It’s not just stool that you’re pushing out when you strain. All that downward pressure is acting on your pelvic organs contributing to things like prolapse or hemorrhoids.

Poop or get off the pot

Just as straining can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction, sitting for longer than necessary on the toilet can have negative effects too. Go read your phone somewhere else!

Keep it smooth

Ideally, poop is formed and smooth. There are lots of variations on normal here but too hard is difficult to pass so eat that fiber and drink that water.

Go on your first urge

Waiting too long past your first urge actually makes your body bring stool back up into your colon. The longer it stays there, the harder it gets. The harder it gets, the more constipated you become and the more pushing you have to do.

See a Pelvic Physiotherapist

If chronic constipation is weighing you down, Pelvic Physiotherapy can help. It’s a combination of getting your stool consistency right, your toilet habits more favourable and your pelvic floor working with you instead of against you.

Jillian Palmer