‘I’m a stomach doctor and I never make this toilet seat mistake’

Western and Eastern toilets are very different – Western toilets, with an elevated toilet bowl, are more comfortable, while Eastern toilets, also known as a squat toilet, are used by squatting rather than sitting.

While some people claim squat toilets leave the user at risk of coming into contact with germs and bacteria that is present in waste, gastroenterologist Dr Saurabh Sethi warned a Western toilet seat could lead to cases of constipation.

In a video posted to TikTok titled ‘I am a stomach doctor and I never do this toilet seat mistake’, Dr Sethi explained why Eastern toilet seats are better when it comes to pooping.

He explained: “Eastern toilet seats encourage a squatting posture aligning the anus and rectum for easier stool evacuation.

“Western toilets on the other hand, due to semi-flexed hips and thighs, may require more straining, potentially aggravating constipation and eventually haemorrhoids and fissures.”

But Sethi said if you have a Western toilet seat, you don’t need to replace it with an Eastern one.

Instead, you can simply optimise your posture by using a stool to lift your feet up.

How do you know if you have constipation?

The NHS says you’re likely to have constipation if:

  • you have not had a poo at least three times during the last week or you’re pooing less often than usual
  • the poo is unusually large or small and is dry, hard or lumpy
  • you are straining or in pain when you have a poo
  • you feel like you haven’t fully emptied your bowels

A person with constipation may also have stomach ache and feel bloated or sick.

The most common causes include not eating enough fare, which is found in fruits, vegetables and cereals, not drinking enough fluids, and not moving enough and spending long periods sitting or lying down.

What else can you do to prevent constipation?

To make your poo softer and easier to pass, the NHS recommends to:

  • eat a healthy balanced diet and include fruits that contain sorbitol such as apples, apricots, grapes (and raisins), raspberries and strawberries
  • drink plenty of water and other fluids and avoid alcohol
  • gradually increase the fibre in your diet
  • add some wheat bran, oats or linseed to your diet

Improving your toilet routine is also advised, for example keeping to a regular time and place and giving yourself plenty of time to use the toilet.

You shouldn’t delay if you feel the urge to poo, and a daily walk or run can help you poo more regularly.

If diet and lifestyle changes don’t help, you can speak to your pharmacist.

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