Your entire life has been a lie. Mario does not hit blocks with his head, footlong subs are never really 12 inches long, and those paper ketchup cups at fast food joints aren't just little cups. And that's not the worst of it. What I'm about to tell you next is the revelation of all revelations.
Yeah, you read that right. We've been going to the bathroom wrong since the rise of Western civilization, and the creation of the modern pedestal toilet has only cemented this incorrect usage deeper into our genes.
According to Rebekah Kim, a colorectal surgeon at the Center for Pelvic Floor Disorders at Virginia Hospital Center, squatting can reduce the amount of straining on a toilet. Recent studies have even shown that using this more "natural" position for your number two will require less "excessive expulsive effort" and can significantly cut down on defecation time.
What's more astonishing is that this idea isn't very new. People have been squatting when nature calls since, well, before humans were even humans. And while it hasn't been very common in the US for a very long time, the medical community has actually fought for the squat. According to Bockus Gastroenterology, the standard textbook on the subject written by Dr. Henry L. Bockus back in 1964:
The ideal posture for defecation is the squatting position, with the thighs flexed upon the abdomen. In this way the capacity of the abdominal cavity is greatly diminished and intra-abdominal pressure increased, thus encouraging expulsion of the fecal mass.
The reason for this is the puborectalis muscle.
In the Encyclopedia of Gastroenterology, William E. Whitehead says that the puborectalis is a sling muscle that loops around the rectum and "can be voluntarily contracted to further pinch off the rectum from the anal canal and prevent accidental passage of formed stool."
Basically, it acts like a drawstring for your rectum and maintains continence. When you sit on the toilet, its hold on the rectum is loosened, but only partially. When you're squatting, however, the hold is completely relaxed, allowing for an easier time releasing your bowels.
So, squatting obviously helps you poop more easily and faster, but some would even go so far as to say that the squat technique is also good for preventing bowel ailments such as colitis, hemorrhoids, constipation, colon cancer, and even appendicitis.
This is something Squat Potty, makers of the footstool of the same name that helps you "squat" easily on modern day porcelain toilets, likes to embellish in their promotional material. However, there has been no significant research that supports any of those reports, as Rebekah Kim has stated, aside from maybe constipation. Squatting doesn't even help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer like some rumors let on.
Despite any real proof of its preventative health benefits, there's no denying that squatting makes defecation faster with less effort. Combined with a good healthy diet, your bowels don't stand a chance at causing issues with you in the future.
While full-on squatting has the most medical research behind it, Squatty Potty has made it easier to transition to grown-up pooping with a footstool (not a stool stool) that allows you to simulate squatting on your own sitting toilet. Heck, you can even improvise and make your own DIY footstool for more proper poops.
A footstool of some sort also prevents you from having to install a proper squat toilet that's the popular choice for catching feces in Asian and African countries. If you can't do a full squat on the toilet, even a semi-squat can be beneficial. It may be awkward at first, and a bit embarrassing, but it'll make things easier for you when nature calls.
It's never easy to change the way you've done something for a lifetime, but I'll put this whole thing in perspective for you.
We sit comfortably on the toilet just like we eat junk food comfortably. We eat junk food because it's everywhere and tastes delicious, in that guilty sort of way. Similarly, our current bathroom posture is effortless, comforting, and even allows us to text and play games on the toilet. But junk food isn't good for you. Meanwhile, carrots, spinach, and peas are good for your body, but let's face it — they don't taste like French fries.
Squatting and sitting are similarly related. Squatting is the not-so-great tasting vegetable that keeps us healthy. We grow out of being force-fed vegetables as kids to eating them as adults because we know they're good for us (at least, I hope you do), so why not change the way we poop, too?
And while I'm at it, you should probably know that pooping isn't the only thing you're doing wrong in the restroom.