BEST POSITION TO POOP IN WHEN CONSTIPATED | 5 WAYS TO USE IT

Reviewed by: Horia Marculescu, MD


man sitting on the toilet bowl

Squatting is the best position to poop in when constipated because it relaxes the puborectalis muscle, and it increases the anorectal angle to unlock the kink at the entrance to the rectum.

This position creates sufficient intestinal pressure and a clear path for the stool to evacuate. After defecation, the anorectal angle will naturally decrease to its initial state to prevent incontinence.


Benefits of squatting

By using the squat position, you will be able to have smooth defecation and prevent constipation in the long-term. Also, you will know when it’s time to poop and how to prepare your body for stool evacuation.

Follow the rest of the guide to learn more about the benefits of squatting and the ways to use it.





1. SQUAT BEFORE YOU POOP

man sitting in the squat positions image

Squatting is the best position to poop in when constipated because it relaxes your entire bottom and helps bowel movement. But, to get the full advantage of it as quick as possible, you need to prepare your body first.

Squatting:

  • increases the anorectal angle
  • relaxes the puborectalis muscle.

These are the only two things that matter for having stool evacuation more often. When you want to have constipation relief on the toilet in the long term, you have to prepare your body.



How to squat?

First of all, you need to learn how to squat the right way. This position is not difficult to practice.

Place yourself in the middle of the room, on your feet. Move your feet sideways until you have some space between them.

Now lower your body down slowly, until your belly reaches your knees. Stay in this position for 5-10 seconds and return to the initial posture.


Before you poop, do the following:

  • Squat 15 minutes before you decide to poop.
  • Stay in this position for 1-3 minutes.
  • Take a one-minute break.
  • Stay again in this position for 1-3 minutes.
  • Take a five-minute break.

Try to take a break from work or study at least once every two hours and squat as often as you can. In this way, you will relax your puborectalis muscle even more throughout the day.

Ideally, you want to have a ten-minute break every hour. But, a break every two hours will be just fine.


You can squat in:

  • your room
  • your toilet
  • outside your room
  • in a public restroom
  • in a changing closet

Squatting gives you internal signals where the stool will move next. If you squat 15-20 minutes before you decide to poop, you will feel the stool moving inside the large intestine.

Sometimes you will feel the stool ready for evacuation, but the rectum and anus are still under tension. When you have this feeling, it is essential to squat even more.

The more you squat, the less you will need to strain your abdomen and rectum.


Example

girl sitting in the squat before pooping image
  • You are working and sitting at a desk from 9-5. If there is only a toilet near your office, you can go and squat there.
  • If you are shopping at the mall, take some time and squat in the restroom.

It is frustrating when you get up from the desk and, you sit on the toilet. And nothing happens. What you want to achieve is to relax your bottom internals and to prepare for pooping, without pain and lots of effort.


What do the experts say?

In a study on How to squat, the US National Institutes of Health and National Library of Medicine mention the effects of squatting with its different variations. [1]

Squatting is a core exercise for many purposes.. Suitable stance width and foot placement angles should be chosen according to the targeted joint moments.

These variations on the squat position include stance widths, foot placement angles, and many more specific details.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association presents a useful guide on squatting and partial squatting.[2]

You can perform the exercise.. basically anytime you have a spare 30 seconds. For example, always doing partial squats while waiting for your toast to pop or hamstring stretches during TV commercials.

In addition, try partial squats. Hold on to a stable object like a countertop.

The examples continue. It is a good idea to adapt to everyone's situation and environment. [back to top]



2. USE THE SEMI-SQUAT POSITION

girl sitting in the semi-squat position on the toilet bowl image

Once you prepared your body, sit on the toilet bowl using the Semi-Squat position. It can also be considered the best position to poop in when constipated because it does the same thing as Squatting.

The difference with Semi-Squatting is that you position yourself on the toilet bowl, and you raise your knees higher than your hips.

The best way to do this thing is to have a footstool under your feet. Any type of support that raises your feet and keeps them stable is excellent.


What you want to achieve is to:

  • Relax the puborectalis muscle.
  • Enlarge the anorectal angle.
  • To relax the sphincter.

You can do these things even without a footstool. But you will have to raise your heels on your toes. And doing this thing will require effort from your toes.

Stay in this position 5-10 minutes before you poop. If it takes longer than 10 minutes to have results, your rectum and anus are not relaxed enough.

So, get up and relax them more by squatting outside the toilet.

This step is necessary because it will prevent you from straining, and it will help you relax these internal parts more.


How to position in the Semi-Squat way?

  • Place your footstool in front of the toilet bowl.
  • Turn your back towards the footstool.
  • Place your feet on the footstool.
  • Drop your pants.
  • Place your bottom on the toilet seat.

When you feel it is time to poop, stay in the Semi-Squat position on the toilet bowl. You will feel when to stool is moving downwards in the descending colon.

When this thing happens, slowly strain the rectum. Do not push too hard and too often. Push your rectum gently and repeat it.

Semi-squatting is always the best way to sit on the toilet when constipated because it makes pooping smoother. Also, it prevents you from straining too much.


Once you are ready to poop, do as follows:

  • Slowly strain your abdomen for 1 minute
  • Push your rectum slowly for 30 seconds
  • Pause

Semi-Squatting is the best position to poop in when constipated, and it will help you achieve the goal of smooth defecation. So, repeat the steps mentioned above five times gently.

If you suffer from severe constipation and you feel the stool is not moving at all, then you will have to stay longer on the toilet bowl.

When you feel your bottom stiff or stuck up after 15-20 minutes, it is time to move away from the toilet bowl.


The Semi-Squat position without a footstool:

  • Turn your back towards the toilet seat.
  • Drop your pants.
  • Place your bottom on the toilet seat.
  • Raise your heels and toes.
  • Keep your knees higher than your hips.

Keep your knees up for 1-3 minutes and pause. If you can keep them longer, then that is great. You can take a one-minute break.

It is essential to keep your knees higher than your hips. Also, try to keep your body straight.


What do the experts say?

In a review on squatting and squat-assisting devices, the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health mentions that these positions are the most followed postures for stool evacuation. [3]

Squatting is considered to be the natural, traditional and most widely followed posture for defecation and hence, it is one of the practical solutions for avoiding constipation.

Several devices or objects can assist the posture like a footstool, especially if there are people who have temporary or permanent muscle issues.

The American Journal of GASTROENTEROLOGY presents a study to determine is the use of a footstool will aid stool evacuation (in this study - balloon expulsion. [4]

In some countries, squatting posture is the predominant method for bowel evacuation. This position allows an increase in both hip flexion and obtuse anorectal angle facilitating stool evacuation.

The hypothesis is that the use of a footstool will open the anorectal angle. Specialists can use this procedure for the treatment of dyssynergia.

The American College of Gastroenterology suggests in a digestive health guide to avoid straining for long periods, once you sit on the toilet. [5]

Avoid straining at stool or sitting on the toilet for a long time.

This tip also applies to strain in the semi-squat position. [back to top]



3. POSITION YOUR FEET ON THE BOWL

squat position with the feet on the toilet bowl image

Squatting is the best position to poop in when constipated because you can practice it anywhere, without a footstool.

You can squat with your feet on the toilet bowl with ease, only if the structure can hold your weight. Make sure the toilet bowl is stable enough to hold your weight.

Try to move it left or right and force it a bit. If you feel it moving, don't squat with your feet on the toilet bowl.


If the bowl is stable, then do the following:

  • Turn your back towards the water tank.
  • Place the toilet bowl between your legs.
  • Raise your left foot and place it on the edge of the bowl.
  • Lift your body to place your other foot.
  • Lower your body slowly.
  • Position yourself until your knees are higher than your hips.

Try to stay stable. You can use the water tank to control your balance.

Now, try to stay in this position for 1-5 minutes.

Next, gently push your abdomen for 1 minute. Continue with pushing your rectum slowly for 30 seconds and take a pause. Finally, repeat these steps five times.


Some things to keep in mind:

  • Never place yourself on the edge of the toilet bowl with dirty footwear.
  • Always wipe the edges with toilet paper or cloth and keep it dry.
  • Have support nearby to help you with balance.

Always clean the toilet bowl after squatting on it. Make sure that your toilet bowl is strong enough and well fixed on the ground or wall.


What do the experts say?

The American Journal of GASTROENTEROLOGY presents squatting as a prevention posture for constipation. [6]

Four mechanisms have been suggested as to how squatting prevents constipation: (1) the weight of trunk presses against the thighs and compresses the colon; (2) the ileocecal valve is properly sealed, allowing the colon to be fully pressurized in the squatting position; (3)

The description of the study acts as a reminder to prevent constipation. Squatting is a way to do it. [back to top]



4. SQUAT IN AN INDIAN TOILET

indian ground toilet image

Indian and Turkish toilets do not have a toilet bowl or a seat. These types of toilets usually have two feet soles, which raise a bit from the ground and a hole in the back.

The toilet is like a container that keeps your feet up and lets the water flush between them.

This thing is good because you can easily stay in the best position to poop in when constipated and poop without any preparation.


The Indian toilet can be dirty.

If you own such a toilet, try to keep it as clean as possible with antibacterial soap and liquids.

  • Always wash your hands after using it.
  • Always place your bottom as low as possible.
  • Keep your pants comfortable.
  • Try to maintain balance using the walls.

Bacteria and viruses can spread quickly in the canals where water flushes the stool. This place is usually near the soles of your feet.

Try to have clean footwear. If it is a public place, try to avoid contact with any part of your body, especially your hands.

Turkish and Indian toilets are excellent places to have stool evacuation because you squat all the time, and you relax the anorectal muscles with ease.


What do the experts say?

In an article about bowel movement, The American College of Gastroenterology mentions that the squat position is a known posture practiced in Asia and other areas. [7]

While squatting during bowel movements is commonly practiced in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, Western populations have transitioned to using the toilet.

Bowel movements are also affected by the transition from the old squatting to poop in, to the more modern toilet bowl.

The less developed countries from the Middle East like Turkey and India, keep their defecation habits by using their old and specific toilets.

As funny as it sounds, a Turkish toilet is always better than the standard toilet bowl which you can buy from your local store. [back to top]




5. USE MOTHER NATURE

squatting in the middle of the nature image

Squatting in nature is the same as doing it on the ground or in a Turkish toilet. The purpose of squatting is to:

  • relax your anorectal canal
  • and create a clear path for the stool to evacuate.

These two things are the reasons why squatting in nature is the best position to poop in when constipated.

Moving the stool towards evacuation is a part of digestion that sets apart the person who has proper stool evacuation and the person who doesn't.


Whenever you're on vacation, do the following:

  • Choose a place that no one can see you.
  • Stay straight on your feet.
  • Move your feet to have a foot distance between them.
  • Drop your pants.
  • Lower your body down slowly.
  • Put your hands on your knees.
  • Keep your abdomen and knees in balance at a sharp angle.

When you are out in nature, let’s say camping, hiking or just for a simple walk, try to combine leisure activities with squatting.


Example

You can use a smaller tree for balance or a bush that has branches for support. Although it is not ideal, squatting in nature is one of the best ways to have a bowel movement.


What do the experts say?

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders mentions the functional difficulties that most people face when dealing with constipation. [8]

In most people the movement (motility) of stool through the colon is normal, but they have other difficulties in stool passage.

Some people have difficulty coordinating various muscles (pelvic floor dysfunction) which play a role in having a bowel movement.

Pelvic floor dysfunction and motility issues affect defecation. These causes are the result of the lack of movement. [back to top]



6. BENEFITS OF SQUATTING

hand holding benefits image

Squatting is beneficial in the long-term when you deal with constipation. Besides the benefits mentioned at the beginning of the guide, there are others.


Here are the main benefits:

  • It is easy to use.
  • It does not require lots of effort.
  • It has no side effects, compared to taking medicine.
  • It empties the intestines by relaxing the anorectal canal.
  • It improves digestion in the long-term.

You can squat with ease on the toilet bowl with a footstool and have the same result.

Also, if you combine laxatives with the best position to poop when constipated, you can have immediate relief.

If you are looking to empty your intestines quickly, you can also take bile or pancreatic supplement and combine them with 10 minutes of squatting.

You would be surprised how easy it is to poop, without suffering from side effects, and taking too much medicine.

Ideally, you want to avoid medicine and pills, and get full advantage of the ability of your body to make you poop. [back to top]



7. ANY WORKING POSITIONS?

man in different toilet position image

Although the following examples are not the best positions to poop in when constipated, they help move the stool with little effort.


The Push-Up Position

Position yourself with your back on the floor and stay there as if you were practicing push-ups.

When you positioned yourself, try to do the following things:

  • Raise your knees halfway to the hips.
  • Try to move your head towards the knees.
  • Stay in this position, but don’t do the push-up.
  • Stay in this position for 1-5 minutes.

What you want to achieve is to relax the puborectalis muscles and to create enough pressure inside the abdomen to move the stool.


Sit with your knees on the ground

Sitting on your knees is one of the best positions because it’s similar to squatting.

Also, it brings your knees near the abdomen and creates pressure inside the intestines.

How to use it:

  • Position yourself with your knees on the floor
  • Shin on the ground.
  • Move your body forward and backward.

Also, place your hands in front of you and move your palms on the ground. Use your arms to lower and raise your body.

This action makes the intestines compress and expand even more. Also, it helps to relax the anorectal angle by increasing it.


Leaning forward on the toilet bowl

Another position that can help you is leaning forward once you’re on the toilet bowl.

Leaning your body forward, with your hand parallel to the ground, helps to create pressure inside the abdomen.

Practice this technique as follows:

  • Position yourself comfortably on the toilet bowl.
  • Lean forward slowly.
  • Stay in that position for 30 seconds.
  • Come back and take 30 seconds of pause.
  • Repeat these steps five times.

If nothing happens after ten times, it means that the anorectal canal is not ready for stool evacuation.

You can also: lean on your left or right side, and do the same thing. [back to top]



8. WHAT ELSE HELPS YOU POOP

toilet bowl and question marks image

Walk for 10 minutes before you poop.

Although it is not related to the best position to poop in when constipated, walking helps you move the stool. Walking helps you, especially if you sit in a chair longer than usual.

Any muscle movement that involves the abdomen and feet can be a relief for constipation in the short term.


Drink fresh fruit juice.

Fruit juice creates fermentation in the intestines. The intestines are usually wet, humid, and very warm.

Because of these three factors, a stool that contains sugar, fructose, and glucose tends to ferment fast (in about 5 minutes after you eat food).

Fermentation creates gas inside the intestines.

And gas forces the stool to move towards the rectum, especially if you contract and compress the abdominal muscles.


Lying on the side

lying on the side position image

This position is excellent because it forces the abdominal muscles to contract and expand.

Muscle contraction in the abdomen makes the intestines move gently.

Try to do the following:

  • Before you decide to poop, lay on the bed for 1-5 minutes on your left side.
  • After that, place yourself on the right side for another 5 minutes.
  • Be careful not to fall asleep.

You can bring your knees close to the abdomen if you feel the stool moving. Just like a baby sits in his bed.

The purpose is to relax your bottom.


Lying on your tummy

Lying on your abdomen, compresses the intestines and creates pressure with gas and stool.

This position is similar to the one mentioned above and has excellent results.

So, here’s how to do it:

  • Place yourself on the bed with your abdomen towards the mattress.
  • Stay 1-5 minutes.
  • Get up and take a break.
  • Lay down on the bed for another 5 minutes.

Lying on the bed for 10 minutes should be enough to make the stool move. When you feel it is time to poop, go to the toilet, and repeat the first steps in this guide.


What do the experts say?

In a study about the influence of body position and stool, The American Journal of GASTROENTEROLOGY mentions that in the lying posture, one-third of the subjects showed dyssynergia. [9]

.. body position, sensation of stooling and stool characteristics may each influence defecation. Defecation is best evaluated in the sitting position with artificial stool.

Dyssynergia is any disturbance of muscular coordination, resulting in uncoordinated and abrupt movements.

When dealing with constipation, dyssynergia negatively affects normal bowel movement.

Lying on the side acts as a light massage on your tummy. It is like a small stimulus before defecation. [back to top]



9. A WORD OF CAUTION

If you suffer from severe constipation for more than three months, then it is time to see a doctor.

You will need to take some blood and stool tests to help you and the doctor establish a diagnostic and treatment.

The advice and the techniques in this guide cannot replace the opinion and the diagnostic of an authorized and specialized doctor. [back to top]



10. CONCLUSION

Squatting is the best position to poop in when constipated because

  • it increases the anorectal angle
  • it relaxes the puborectalis muscles
  • it clears the anorectal canal.

You can squat with ease, and you can combine it with other techniques like walking or drinking fresh fruit juice, to have quick stool evacuation. [back to top]



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About the author

My name is Sebastian D., and I am the senior editor of constipationguide.com. With the help of my mentor, Dr. Horia Marculescu, I decided to create a practical guide to constipation relief.. read more



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