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Indian Toilet vs Western Toilet

13 May 2013

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I came back from UK recently and have to stay in my friend’s home which has only Indian Toilet (Squatting Type). When I was using Indian Toilet - Whooooshhh… the whole business took less than 2 minutes and it was effortless. I normally take 5 - 10 minutes while using a Western Toilet. Once I moved to my own apartment which has Western Toilet (Sitting Type), going to the bathroom was not a breeze anymore. That triggered this research about the natural human defecating postures.

It’s not that I am new to Indian Toilets. I was using it from my childhood. I started using Western Toilets about 9 years ago. Only when I got a chance to use the Indian and Western, one after the other - I could realize the difference. Have a look at the below diagram which shows the Anal-Rectal Angle, while sitting and squatting. I don’t need to explain which one would be a better posture for this job.

Anal Rectal Angle while Sitting and Squatting

Anal Rectal Angle - Sitting Vs Squatting

Indian Vs Western Toilet

History of Western Toilets

Have you ever noticed that children instinctively squat to defecate?. In the absence of toilets, we squat to defecate. Isn’t it?. Our ancestor performed their daily morning routing by squatting for thousands of years. During 19th century, with the advent of indoor plumbing in UK, the sitting type toilets were installed in many houses and considered as the improved way of defecating and praised for creativity. Though the incompleteness and additional strain was obvious, no one questioned it, because it was used by the Queen Victoria for many decades. Earlier this sitting type was reserved only for the royals and the disabled.

Since British Empire was the most powerful and industrially advanced, the rest of the European countries, Australia and North America adopted the sitting type toilets used by the British Royals. They didn’t want to appear less civilized.

A Clinical Study of Sitting versus Squatting

In 2002, an Iranian radiologist, Dr. Saeed Rad, published a study which compared the effectiveness of sitting versus squatting for evacuation. Thirty subjects participated in the study – 21 male, 9 female – ranging in age from 11 to 75 years. Each patient received a barium enema so the internal mechanics of evacuation could be recorded on an X-Ray image. Each patient was studied in both the squatting and the sitting positions.

Using squat toilets, all the subjects reported “complete” evacuation. “Puborectalis relaxation occurred easily and straightening of the rectum and anal canal facilitated evacuation. The anal canal became wide open and no folding was noticed in the terminal rectum.” In the sitting position, “a remarkable folding was created in the terminal rectum predisposing it to rectocele formation, and puborectalis relaxation was incomplete.” All the subjects reported that elimination felt “incomplete” in the sitting position.

Dr. Rad concluded that the use of the squat toilet “is a more comfortable and efficient method of bowel evacuation” than the sitting toilet.

Advantages of Indian Toilets

What’s Next

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