Green toilet habits may seem like minor distractions to bigger issues like global climate change, but environmentalists sure love discussing peeing and pooping. From finding soft recycled toilet paper
to experimenting with composting toilets
, the greenest way to poop and tinkle have been topics of many a nitpicky green blog post — my favorite being a column on Grist about whether or not you should pee while showering to save a flush
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.
Hemorrhoids, most of you may know, is usually caused by what Daniel calls “straining during bowel movement” — or what I call trying to force poop out faster than it seems to wants to come out. Busy bees who’ve tried to reduce the time they spend sitting on the toilet by straining — only to suffer from hemorrhoids — may want to try squatting. Daniel himself gave it a try by perching on his toilet seat — to find that pooping got easier and faster:
Squatting on your toilet seat is not for everybody. Even when I was holding onto a towel rack, the situation felt precarious. A bedpan or a plastic container would have been easier, but I didn’t have the former and the latter seemed gross. So I forged ahead, pushing through the week — or, as it turned out, not pushing: Bowel movements just seem to happen in a squat. My 10-minute routine dropped to a minute, two at the most, and within a few days my knees stopped complaining…. I gained an hour over seven days.
Squat-curious? Try perching, or find out about squat-aiding contraptions that’ll stabilize your pooping stance by reading Daniel’s article
. My own hemorrhoid-avoiding, toilet-timesaving tactic is simply to eat lots of fruits and veggies, but Daniel’s enthusiasm has tempted me to try out the squat.