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-   -   Healthier to "squat" when you eliminate waste rather than sit? (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=88966)

XelaIsPwn 18 March 2014 11:33 PM

Healthier to "squat" when you eliminate waste rather than sit?
 
Hey, long time listener first time caller.

I've read about this for a long time and want to know if there's any truth to it - I've heard that it's actually far healthier to "squat" when you eliminate waste rather than sit. It piqued my interest, and I managed to find two studies on pubmed, but I wanted to see if anyone had any other resources or maybe any conflicting information. I know a lot of other (less wealthy, in general) countries already have squatting toilets, but I wanted to know if there was actually any legitimate health benefit that comes with "squatting."

Appreciate the information in advance!

DawnStorm 21 March 2014 08:13 PM

First off, welcome to the Board!

As to your post, I've heard the same thing: squatting eliminates the need to strain, plus it 'unkinks' the sharp turn in your colon thus making it easier to empty. (I really need to find some better phrases!)

A Turtle Named Mack 21 March 2014 08:26 PM

I do not see why it would unbend the colon, though, as the difference in the body's positioning should only be the extent to which the hip joint is flexed. The torso should remain pretty much the same either way. The only real difference I can see is the extent to which the butt cheeks spread themselves out of the way.

Morning 21 March 2014 09:07 PM

/hijack This brings up other sorta related questions. In cultures and areas where squat toilets are the norm, do they have special facilities, perhaps with hand rails, to be used by persons with age or handicap limitations? Would an area or stall have some sort of handicap designation like Western culture's blue wheelchair icon?

/hijack

amorrison50 21 March 2014 09:41 PM

I've wondered the same thing as Morning. You really can't accomplish that maneuver when you're on crutches, for instance.

A Turtle Named Mack 21 March 2014 09:57 PM

And what about people with Parkinson's or other shaking disorders - things could get messy!

St. Alia 21 March 2014 10:41 PM

When I spent a month in China a year and a half ago, squat toilets were the norm. Some places had sit toilets, and I think I may have seen one with a handrail, but other than that I didn't see anything that was designed for those with physical disabilities. This was all on the east coast; Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou, and a number of other cities. All the hotels had sit style toilets, but no handicap bars.

Of course, if you couldn't do stairs you really couldn't go into quite a number of places (including some hotels).

Mad Jay 21 March 2014 11:24 PM

In India, most places have a squat and a sit toilet side by side, simply because it's not uncommon to have a westerner visit you. Some toilets are designed so you can squat on them or sit on them. They are like normal Western toilets, except The sides are wide enough that you can plant your feet on them.and squat

ganzfeld 21 March 2014 11:30 PM

Most of the toilets here are western style but some public places still have the traditional style (usually together with a western toilet but in some older places exclusively, as I realised a bit too late on a recent trip with visitors). There usually is a handrail for the traditional style but I don't know if that would help much when someone can't squat.

moonfall 21 March 2014 11:39 PM

I've always wondered whether using a squat toilet is, um, messier than using a sit toilet if you're not careful. Seems like it might be easy to miss the hole.

Beejtronic 22 March 2014 02:15 AM

I've read that hiatal hernias are thought to be caused by the "unnatural sitting position" used in the west.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the subject, although the citations are weak: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defecat...cation_posture

queen of the caramels 22 March 2014 04:47 AM

TMI..when my sister was pregnant, the family went on holiday to the Yorkshire Dales and had to make some external comfort breaks. My sister claimed that she was able to void more urine by squatting to pee than she could on a regular toilet.

I hvae no data to back up this data point, however.

Sylvanz 22 March 2014 05:00 AM

I'm starting to have a lot of issues with kneeling and squatting lately. It is painful. I cannot imagine having to do it every time I need to use the facilities, no matter how much healthier it is. I'm pretty sure my issues don't stem from being sedentary either, because my job requires hours of standing, interspersed with, kneeling, climbing ladders, squatting, crawling on occasion, and a lot of other pretty physical activity.

Brad from Georgia 22 March 2014 10:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by queen of the caramels (Post 1810475)
TMI..when my sister was pregnant, the family went on holiday to the Yorkshire Dales and had to make some external comfort breaks. My sister claimed that she was able to void more urine by squatting to pee than she could on a regular toilet.

I hvae no data to back up this data point, however.

OTOH, I know one woman who on a longish hike went off into the brush to relieve herself and came back with a shoe full of urine.

Horse Chestnut 22 March 2014 06:04 PM

The first time I ever went primitive camping it hit me -mentally, not scatologically - that this may be the reason women originally opted to stick with wearing robes and skirts; because wearing pants when you need to pee in a squatting position usually means you're going to wind up wearing it.

thorny locust 22 March 2014 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia (Post 1810503)
I know one woman who on a longish hike went off into the brush to relieve herself and came back with a shoe full of urine.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Horse Chestnut (Post 1810545)
this may be the reason women originally opted to stick with wearing robes and skirts; because wearing pants when you need to pee in a squatting position usually means you're going to wind up wearing it.

It's perfectly possible for women to pee neatly in the brush/woods without getting urine on shoes, pants, or anything else*. It just takes a bit of practice, both at balancing in the needed position (so that urine is directed straight downwards) with one's feet out of the way, and in holding one's pants out of the way while doing so.

It does seem to me that modern clothing has shifted the advantage of doing so from women to men; when men's clothing had lace up flies, and women wore long skirts with no underpants, it would have been easier for women than for men to pee outdoors or, for that matter, discreetly in public. Now that nearly everyone is wearing pants with zipper flies, but with the fly located where it's useful for a man but useless for a woman, the advantage is the other way around.


*ETA: well, aside from the ground :)

Morning 22 March 2014 08:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mad Jay (Post 1810384)
In India, most places have a squat and a sit toilet side by side, simply because it's not uncommon to have a westerner visit you. Some toilets are designed so you can squat on them or sit on them. They are like normal Western toilets, except The sides are wide enough that you can plant your feet on them.and squat

These toilets sound like an interesting compromise. Do the householders or facility owners provide wipes or brushes so that one can remove either shoe marks or bottom marks for the next occupant to start fresh? How about a small step for the person who wants to climb up and put their feet on the rim?

As to the lack of special accommodations for the handicapped in areas where squat toilets are standard; I think perhaps it could be that folks who need help are usually with other folks who can help and in the Western culture people who need help are more likely to be out alone. Maybe. Or it could be that the disabled in other cultures are voiceless and unseen and they should pee on the sidewalks to get noticed.

And my last odd thought -- has any professional done a study on cultural changes in toilet facilities? In the US it would be the change from outhouses to indoor flush; in India from pure squat to semi-sitting to sitting facilities. It just sounds like a fresh way to look at human behavior.


Morning
has too much free time thinking in the bathroom.

erwins 22 March 2014 08:33 PM

I agree with thorny locust. It's perfectly possible to squat and pee without going in your shoe (this makes me think the position was not well thought out at all) or on your pants. You just need to know how, and perhaps have a little practice.

Lainie 22 March 2014 08:53 PM

I agree, too, but I also took Brad's post to be a joke.

Ramblin' Dave 24 March 2014 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 1810385)
Most of the toilets here are western style but some public places still have the traditional style (usually together with a western toilet but in some older places exclusively,


In Singapore as well. Usually in a place with both, there will be signs on the stall doors indicating which type it is. I think the squat ones do have handrails, but I'm not sure because I never use them if I can help it.


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