Happy World Toilet Day from Guts UK! This year, we want to talk all things loos & poos.
Do you sit properly when using the toilet?
Our gut is not designed to completely open when we are sat down. When we sit (or stand), there is a muscle that wraps around the end of our colon and pulls, causing a curve in the colon. When we squat (with our feet on a little stool in front of the toilet), this muscle relaxes and the colon straightens out. This means that less pressure, straining or ‘tensing’ is needed to release the stool.
Squatting is the natural pooing position for humans, and the toilet only really existed since indoor sanitation was introduced. Interestingly, haemorrhoids (piles) and digestive diseases like diverticular disease (a common condition within which small pouches develop in the colon) are more common in countries where the population sit on some kind of chair to pass a stool.
Fear not – we don’t have to give up our toilets as we now know them. To make life a little easier for your colon, invest in a foot stool to place under your feet when you poo and tilt your upper body forward slightly. Just as nature intended.
What is Steatorrhea (and how do I say it?!)
Pronounced stee-at-oh-ree-a, this refers to too much fat in your faeces.
The make-up of our stool includes mostly water, plus fibre, bacteria, mucus, protein, fats and so on. When you have too much fat in your stool (steatorrhea), you may experience symptoms such as weight loss, abdominal pain, bloating and wind. Stools can also look bulky, oily, pale orange/yellow, be foul-smelling and sometimes runny. They may also be difficult to flush, and float in the toilet bowl.
Steatorrhea suggests that your digestive system isn’t breaking down food adequately. The pancreas plays a huge role in digestion by producing enzymes, so conditions such as pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) can cause excess fat in the stool. This could suggest that your pancreas in insufficient (pancreatic exocrine insufficiency). In addition to this, other causes include cystic fibrosis, coeliac disease, pancreatic cancer and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Make sure you’re looking at your poo. Our stools can speak volumes about our inner-workings. It’s about time we abolished the taboo surrounding poo! #nomorepootaboo