We can all relate to that moment when you’re halfway out the door and the morning coffee hits. The cramping builds and you find yourself asking where this sensation was while you were sitting on the toilet and aimlessly scrolling through your phone. Before I owned a Squatty Potty, I knew this predicament all too well and was always wishing I had a few extra minutes to evacuate my bowels. Fast forward five years and now the most rewarding part of my job is helping people find their perfect morning squatting ritual to start their day.
The GI tract is estimated to be 30 feet in length and while there are countless avenues to promote digestive wellness, I want to focus on the last 6 inches: the rectum. We often forget about this organ and I am frequently reminded how much power it holds over our gut health. The rectum is best described as a storage container that is in constant communication with your colon and signals the brain when you are ready to initiate a bowel movement. When you sit down on the toilet you increase intra-abdominal pressure and engage your pelvic floor muscles to unknowingly straighten your rectum to help pass stool. In fact, the word “rectal” originates from rectus meaning straight in Latin. Okay I digress – I have bored you with enough technical jargon!Perfecting Function
So what happens when we don’t straighten out our rectum? Unfortunately, this is all too common and can lead to several issues including increased straining, incomplete emptying, upstream bloating/abdominal cramping, and even nausea. You may get diagnosed with constipation, hemorrhoids, or dyssynergia because your rectum is working overtime and understaffed. Even if you swear you have no problems with your bowel movements, I am here to tell you we can help your rectum too!
Prior studies have demonstrated that squatting improves straightening your rectum. Squatty Potty has proven to replicate this alignment, while providing significant benefit in western populations like the United States. In 2019, I published a study with 52 healthy participants who recorded over 1100 bowel movements and found that individuals had increased bowel emptiness, reduced straining, and decreased time on the toilet while using the stool.
I have seen this confirmed time and time again in my own practice. I recently had a follow up visit with a patient who had been struggling with debilitating symptoms of incomplete rectal emptying and the constant sensation of needing to pass stool for the past two years. He had already had lab work, stool studies, hydrogen breath test, colonoscopy, and cross sectional imaging without any answers. The simple suggestion of using a Squatty Potty resulted in significant symptom improvement within 4 weeks. Who would have thought that by straightening out the rectum we could improve quality of life at a fraction of the cost?
I will be the first to admit that I didn’t appreciate the power of Squatty Potty until I made it part of my every day routine. Regardless of how “normal” you believe your bowel movements are, I implore you as well as every single one of my patients to go out and get one of these stools. You may find benefits similar to countless others while simultaneously improving your rectal function.
Cheers to a bottom up approach to promote digestive health.
Rohan Modi, MD
Medical Advisory Council for Squatty Potty, LLC
Gastroenterologist in Columbus, Ohio