(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – One in six Americans experience constipation, but far fewer want to talk about it. However, avoiding the conversation with your doctor and ignoring issues in the bathroom can not only make you feel bad, but can lead to more serious health issues. Now, a new study finds the solution to these common bowel issues may be as simple as boosting your feet on a stool.
“These toilet stools became popular through things like viral videos and social media, but there was really no medical evidence to show whether or not they are effective.” said Dr. Peter Stanich, assistant professor of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine. “This study shows that these simple devices can help alleviate symptoms like constipation, bloating and incomplete emptiness and can help people have more comfortable and effective bowel movements.”
In the study, 71 percent of participants experienced faster bowel movements, and 90 percent reported less straining. “Importantly, at the conclusion of the study, two-thirds of participants said they would continue to use a toilet stool,” said Stanich.
The key to their effectiveness is body positioning. The body is designed to be in a squatting position, but sitting on a toilet creates a bend in the rectum that makes it more difficult to have complete bowel movements. “The straighter that angle is, the easier bowel movements should be,” said Stanich. “Propping your feet on a stool changes the angle of your hips to put you in a more optimal squatting position.”
Dr. Stanich says toilet stools are an easy and drug-free way to treat mild bowel issues, but that it is still important to discuss any symptoms or changes in bowel habits with your doctor because they can be a sign of more serious health problems.