By Cal Widdall
Hainan province’s recent decision to build a 1.28million RMB gold toilet may have seemed like a logical, future-proof investment at the time, but the latest health findings suggest that squat toilets found throughout countries like China and India are actually better for your health. The science is explained on the website Slate:
People can control their defecation, to some extent, by contracting or releasing the anal sphincter. But that muscle can’t maintain continence on its own. The body also relies on a bend between the rectum—where feces builds up—and the anus—where feces comes out. When we’re standing up, the extent of this bend, called the anorectal angle, is about 90 degrees, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier.
One study featured in Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (one of our favourite scientific journals) involved six easily-persuaded subjects having their rectums filled with contrast solution then filmed by X-ray as they released it. It was found that squatting reduces the amount of straining involved, thereby diminishing the chances of developing hemorrhoids.
It must be noted, however, that there is also evidence of negative side effects to the ‘natural’ method, including knee osteoarthritis, bilateral peroneal nerve palsy, along with developing a chronic tendency to cop a squat in public.
If your household is being torn apart due to those all-to-common arguments regarding the healthiest method of defecating, there is now a solution in the form of 2-in-1 toilets. For a highly recommended visual instruction of how these devices work watch the video below (along with it’s dramatic mafia-esque soundtrack which sets the tone perfectly).