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Why every ATO employee should be using squat toilets

Source: Wikipedia

Pauline Hanson has criticised a decision by the Australian Taxation Office to install squat toilets for some of its employees, but they might be right on the money.

Pauline Hanson thinks squat toilets are "backward", but according to an Australian bladder and bowel expert, they are actually far more effective and offer significant health benefits.

Professor Ajay Rane, a urogynecologist with an avid interest in bladder and bowel physiology, grew up in India using squat toilets, which are also commonly found in parts of Asia and Europe.

He researched toilet positions for his PhD and says squatting is the position we should adopt when answering the call of nature.

"Squatting is our default position," Professor Rane tells SBS. 

"There is enough scientific evidence to show that squatting is the best position for effective evacuation of both bladder and bowel - unquestionably."

According to Professor Rane, who works at James Cook University in Townsville, the reason squatting is more effective comes down to three physical changes.

Squatting straightens the angle between the anus and rectum, allowing for an easy passage of motion. It also causes an increase in passive intra-abdominal pressure, so that you don't need to strain or push. And it automatically opens the pelvic floor muscle called the levator hiatus, which lets everything come out easily.

Professor Rane says studies have also shown that people who squat to do their business take one third of the time that people spend on a western toilet, and the minimal pushing and straining required when squatting improves conditions like hemorrhoids and constipation.

"We have an explosion of irritable bowel syndrome, of hemorrhoids, of bowel cancer and recurrent bladder infections and there is a distinct link between posture on the toilet and these diseases," Professor Rane says.

"The sitting position came out of royalty. There was never any science about it, the first sitting toilet was made for Queen Victoria.

"The sitting toilet was for kings and queens and the poor people squatted. People adopted the sitting position to emulate or be equal to royalty, but little did they know they were actually doing the right thing by squatting."

These days, only about 37 per cent of adults can do a full squat, making squat toilets difficult for many people. 

Professor Rane has designed a foot stool-like device called the Duneze, which fits around a conventional western toilet to allow you to adopt a squatting position, while an American product called Squatty Potty and an invention from New Zealand called the Lillipad Toilet Squatting Platform also use a step-like design.  

"The bottom line is squatting is the default and the best position," says Professor Rane. 

To find out more about, you can watch Professor Rane's TEDx talk below:

Source Herald Sun, SBS