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Apparently, I'm not alone.
Here's Daniel Lametti writing eloquently in Slate about his own foray into the pelvic region — specifically, how bathroom posture affects your health. He explores the claim that squatting to defecate puts the body at a better angle for complete evacuation of the colon, ridding the bowel of disease-causing toxins. This is no joke. The squatting vs. sitting debate rages, he writes:
Modern-day squat evangelists make money off the claim that a "more natural" posture wards off all sorts of health problems, from Crohn's disease to colon cancer. Inventor Jonathan Isbit runs a modest online business selling Nature's Platform—a homemade, $150 device that fits over toilets to make them more like holes in the ground...Other entrepreneurs peddle similar products, like the In-Lieu, the Lillipad, the Evaco toilet converter, and, for those who don't like explaining their squat platform to house guests, a $688 Japanese toilet that lets users switch among different squatting and sitting postures, from the "East Asian squat" to the "aft sit."
That may sound like a bunch of Internet quackery, but there's now some empirical evidence for the claim that defecation posture affects your body. The more extreme assertions about squatting—that it prevents cancer, for example—remain untested. But when it comes to hemorrhoids—a painful swelling of the veins in the anal canal that affects half of all Americans—new research suggests that you may want to get your butt off the toilet.
There's a lot of anatomy here that you may not be in the mood for, quotes from the medical journal, Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, and details on pushing, but it's a great read nonetheless, especially Lametti's own squatting-for-health experiment.
This program aired on September 1, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.
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