Women's Health

Are You Pooing the Right Way?

We all do it. Whether you call it poo, poop, or a number two, evacuating your bowels is a natural bodily function but it is still somewhat of a taboo. But are you doing it correctly? I mean it seems like a pretty straight-forward activity, one that we’ve been doing our whole lives, but there are many things to consider before you visit the toilet.

Are you a squatter or a sitter?

The way in which people use the toilet varies across the world. In Eastern Asia, it is common to squat over the loo, without touching the seat.

But why squat: helpful or a load of crap? Your colon opens up in a squat position, helping speed up the pooing process and reduces straining.

“Squatting rather than sitting could help prevent things like constipation, hemorrhoids, colon cancer, appendicitis, IBS, hernias, diverticulosis, and pelvic organ prolapse.”

Squatty Potty

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have thighs of steel, ready to endure squats. Well you’re in luck because there’s a handy solution: Squatty Potty! A handy footrest designed to alter the angle of your poop. A small stool (the other kind) also does the trick and looks less inconspicuous when you have guests over.

How many times a day should you be making your deposit?

Everyone’s bodies are different, but you should be making a trip to the toilet for a bowel movement at least once a day. The jury’s still out on the exact number, with studies suggesting anything between 3 times a day and 3 times a week is ‘normal’.

how to poo the right way
PHOTO: MICHAEL JASMUND/UNSPLASH

What should poo look like?

Do you remember the days when Gillian McKeith used to poke around people’s poop on the telly? How your poo looks is important.

We should be aiming for a long sausage like log, that is passed in one single piece. It should be a firm texture, not too soft and not too hard. A bit like tofu consistency I guess.

Women are at a disadvantage when it comes to pooing

Women’s internal organs are much more complex than men’s. But it isn’t just periods that put us at a disadvantage, we also suffer when it comes to pooing.

Women have longer colons (by up to 10cm!) This means it takes longer for women to digest food and more likely to result in bloating.

men and women poo differently
PHOTO: TIM MOSSHOLDER/PEXELS

Men are lucky to have more rigid abdominal walls, which help food move more easily and quickly. So men have quicker and more regular visits to the loo, whilst women have to deal with the bloat

Period play havoc with our poop routine

Unlike Sheldon Cooper, whose ‘bowel movements run like a German train schedule’, it can be more difficult when it comes to that time of the month. In the run up to your period, you’re more likely to be constipated. This is thought to be due to an increase in the hormone progesterone, which starts to increase in the time between ovulation and when you get your period.

Did you know? Period diarrhoea is believed to be linked to menstrual cramps. Chemicals released during your period cause both the uterus and intestines to contract, resulting in a softer stool.

Hopefully you’ve learnt something new and who knows, maybe we’ll start a ‘bowel movement’ sometime soon!


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