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Why Should I Use A Squatty Potty?

Hi friends! You may have seen the funny commercials on TV for a toilet stool to help you poop and thought to yourself, “What is this!” It was likely a Squatty Potty commercial! Squatty Potty is a name brand for a toilet stool, but there are others on the market as well. These toilet stools may seem like a good gag gift, but in reality they can help you poop better! This week we’ll discuss how they work and why you should try one.


Using the toilet stool helps to relax a muscle called the puborectalis. The puborectalis muscle wraps around the rectum (where poop is stored) to help keep poop in when we aren’t ready to go yet (Grimes, 2021). Think of the puborectalis as a kink in a garden hose. When the puborectalis muscle relaxes, this allows the rectum to straighten and allow for easier pooping (Grimes, 2021).


As the rectum fills with stool it sends a signal to the muscle to relax. We can also help the muscle to relax by flexing our hips (when sitting on a toilet knees higher than hips). The higher your knees are the straighter the rectum will become and can make pooping easier (Sakakibara, 2010).


A toilet stool will allow you to hold your knees high without actively engaging your muscles. When we actively engage our muscles we often contract our pelvic floor muscles at the same time, and we need the pelvic floor muscles to relax to allow the poop to exit through the rectum.


If you aren’t ready to invest in a toilet stool yet, you can make a DIY stool by stacking books, turning a trashcan on its side, using your kids step stool, or any other creative way to lift your knees.


There are several factors that impact pooping, including the consistency of stool, but using a toilet stool for better posture on the toilet can help. Talk with your healthcare providers about any persistent issues with your bowel movements.


If you struggle with having bowel movements, a pelvic floor physical therapist may be able to help. Constipation can be caused by overactive pelvic floor muscles that have difficulty opening to allow stool to pass through. This is especially common in individuals with chronic pelvic pain. Pelvic floor physical therapists have special training to help you learn to control these muscles.


With constipation, you may also find yourself having trouble with urinary incontinence. If the rectum is filled with stool, that leaves less room for the bladder to expand as it fills with urine, which in turn can contribute to leakage. (Hint: a pelvic floor physical therapist can also help with managing urinary incontinence).


You can ask your healthcare provider for a referral to physical therapy, or find a pelvic therapist on your own at www.mypfm.com. We have links to 4 free searchable databases under Find a PT.


To learn more about your pelvic floor muscles, check out these great resources:


For providers, check our online courses to help your clients with bowel dysfunction. Consider joining our Ambassador Program and most of our courses are included with your membership!


Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT


References

1. Grimes WR, Stratton M. Pelvic floor dysfunction. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing;2021 Jan. PMID: 32644672.

2. Sakakibara R et al. Influence of body position on defecation in humans. Low Urin Tract Symptoms. 2010;2(1):16-21.

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