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Optimal Bowel Movement Position

According to Nutrition Facts, there are a number of diseases that plague Americans and are not found in rural African societies. Much of this is attributed to the modern diet, but there is another fundamental difference that may be responsible. In rural Africa, residents squat when they defecate and this may relieve pressure on their digestive tract and lower body.

Bowel movements are probably low on most people's list of topics they like to discuss, but it's an important one nonetheless. Not only can your poop tell you a lot about your health, how you go can have a significant impact too.

Your position can affect the ease with which you eliminate, and doing it wrong may increase your risk of bowel and pelvic problems, including constipation, hemorrhoids and more. As it turns out, virtually everyone living in Western societies is defecating improperly.

Sitting on a modern toilet places your knees at a 90-degree angle to your abdomen, which actually hinders elimination by pinching off your anal canal. Squatting, on the other hand, places your knees closer to your torso, and this position changes the spatial relationships of your intestinal organs and musculature, relaxing and straightening your rectum. As a result, you maximize the efficiency of elimination.

Importantly, this prevents fecal stagnation and the accumulation of toxins in your intestinal tract that can fester and contribute to bowel problems and a variety of discomforts. In fact, non-Westernized societies, in which people squat rather than sit, do not have the high prevalence of bowel disease seen in developed nations; in some cultures with traditional lifestyles, these diseases are virtually unknown.

Another helpful tool is a bidet. While it doesn't help with elimination, it's a practical and affordable alternative to toilet paper. Bidets are the norm in many European countries, where you'll find one in virtually every bathroom. A bidet is refreshing in a way toilet paper will never be, is gentler and less irritating than wiping with paper, and reduces hand contamination. Whenever I travel it is one of the items that I miss most from my home.

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