Pauline Hanson’s concern about the Australian Tax Office installing squat toilets to cater for its increasingly diverse workforce has prompted debate about the best way to go to the toilet: sitting or squatting.
While nobody is claiming you climb up and plant your feet on a regular toilet seat, there is some evidence to suggest squatting makes it easier to empty your bowels.
The flush toilet was first invented in the late 16th century by Sir John Harington. But it was only during the 19th century that seated toilets became available for mass use. Most of the Western world still sits to defaecate, while squatting is favoured in the developing world.
The process of passing bowel motions or defaecation is a lot more complicated than you might imagine. First, the rectum contracts as it fills up with stools. This causes the smooth muscle of the anal canal to relax.