Squatting toilets sometimes leave confused westerns or people from “developed countries”. We used to think that sitting toilet facility is an attribute of civilization. Squatting toilet requires one to take a squatting posture to proceed with motion where knees and hips should be sharply bent and buttocks should be close to the ground. This type of toilets are more common in countries where majority of population are Muslims and Hindus as it makes more comfortable anal cleansing with water than from sitting position. Also squatting posture is determined by early childhood habits and this posture is taken for defecation naturally where there is no toilet facility.
Squatting posture is more natural for human while performing tasks, resting or passing motion. Our bodies are designed so that we can defecate easily in a squatting position. Quite often parents help their baby to pass the motion by pushing childs knees towards the chest while the baby is lying down.
Lets look through some anatomical details of squatting posture and sitting posture in terms of defecation process:
When one is bending the knees towards the chest just as if one was to do a yoga asana he/she would feel a slight pressure on abdomen and this is what happens when one squats to pass the motion. When legs are bent at the hips and the knees are touching the chest in this position, most of the work is done by gravity. Upper body presses against abdomen and colon internally stimulating the body to start the process of moving waste materials to the colon, rectum and finally the anus. During this process the right leg pushes the cecum and its contents upwards into the ascending colon and the left leg thigh lifts the sigmoid colon. These two actions help to move the fecal matter in the intestine, preventing the waste from leaking into the appendix or other places it isnt supposed to be in. Also lifting the sigmoid colon helps to open up the kink allowing the passage of waste into the rectum. Squatting position also helps to seal valve between colon and small intestine which is preventing the back flow of waste and creates pressure within colon which also acts as a natural laxative. Also this position relaxes the muscle at the junction of the rectum and anus which in turn allows to complete excretion of waste.
And what happens when one uses the Western type of toilet or the “throne”. First of all its not natural posture for humans to pass the motion as our body want not made to function in this position. Sitting on throne type of toilet chokes the entire flow of waste where sigmoid colon is not raised and which does not relax the kink. The muscle at the junction of the rectum and anus is also not relaxed, choking the rectum, leading to the retention of waste in the body making one feel uncomfortable. Apart from this, in the sitting position one tends to apply pressure by breathing in and pushing the diaphragm downwards, which harmful.This action also leads to the leaking of stool into adjoining parts like the appendix. It can also effect the heart if one applies too much pressure. On the top of everything mentioned above, in the sitting posture the valve between the colon and small intestine tends to leak making it difficult for the bowels to generate the required pressure to defecate. All these leads to a variety of ailments.
If you are still doubting of benefits of squatting position while passing the motion, you can experience it. Experiment by arranging small stools at the sides of the toilet where the feet could be placed that the knees would be higher close to the chest. And keep in mind that healthy way of defecating prevents the formation of hemorrhoids, beats constipation and helps to complete fecal evacuation to prevent colon cancer. Apart of all these squatting makes the process much faster and easier. According to some practical experiments it takes approximately 51 seconds (for average individual) to move the bowels, compared to the 130 seconds when sitting on a higher toilet. Additionally, when individuals are squatting they are more likely to rate their experience effortless.