Toilet stool may solve common bowel issues


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Rachel Shepherd (left) explains the benefits of using a toilet stool to a patient at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She says propping your feet on a stool in the bathroom can help alleviate many common bowel symptoms.

Rachel Shepherd (left) explains the benefits of using a toilet stool to a patient at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She says propping your feet on a stool in the bathroom can help alleviate many common bowel symptoms.


Courtesy photo | OSU Wexner Medical Center

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Most people aren’t eager to talk about how to improve bowel movements, but researchers at The

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found the solution to 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 may help symptoms like constipation, bloating and incomplete emptiness and can help people

have more comfortable and effective bowel movements.”

The study, which is published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, was completed with healthy volunteers as

participants. Despite this, 44 percent of participants reported increased straining and nearly a third said they had trouble

completely emptying their bowels.

At the end of the four-week 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, who co-authored the study.

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.

“Bowel movements are difficult to talk about and not a lot of people want to bring up their constipation,” said Rachel

Shepherd, a physical therapist at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center who specializes in treating pelvic floor disorders.

“But if there’s something as simple as changing the position by adding a stool, then that’s an easy fix that anyone can add

in.”

One in six Americans experiences constipation. Having an easier time in the bathroom can prevent issues like bloating,

constipation and hemorrhoids. Leaving bathroom troubles unresolved can lead to discomfort and more serious health

issues such as damage to the pelvic floor and hernias.

“I would encourage everyone with bowel problems, constipation or diarrhea to make sure they discuss it with their doctor.

Not only can your doctor likely help you feel better, but it may head off more serious disease down the road,” Stanich said.

Other researchers on the team include Dr. Rohan Modi, Alice Hinton, Dr. Daniel Pinkhas, Dr. Royce Groce, Dr. Marty

Meyer, Dr. Gokulakrishnam Balasubramanian and Dr. Edward Levine.

Rachel Shepherd (left) explains the benefits of using a toilet stool to a patient at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She says propping your feet on a stool in the bathroom can help alleviate many common bowel symptoms.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2019/01/web1_2-patient.jpgRachel Shepherd (left) explains the benefits of using a toilet stool to a patient at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. She says propping your feet on a stool in the bathroom can help alleviate many common bowel symptoms. Courtesy photo | OSU Wexner Medical Center

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Submitted by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Submitted by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.