The mistake people make when having a poo and how to fix it – doctor’s advice

The mistake people make when having a poo and how to fix it – doctor’s advice

Dr Zoe Williams advises getting a 'squatty potty' for constipation

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New research has revealed that 72 percent of the population struggle with gut health problems. Despite this high statistic, almost half of them do nothing about it, according to Holland & Barrett. Dr Suba M, Director of Science, Health and Wellness at Holland & Barrett, is trying to turn the taboo around having a poo to something “beautiful” that will get people listening to their guts. She offered tips exclusively to

Dr Suba said: “The gut really is the body’s second brain with billions of friendly bacteria playing a part in everything from your mental health to getting a good night’s rest so it really is important to think about your gut and seek help and support if you’re not regularly doing healthy number twos.”

The doctor has helped to give the Bristol Stool Chart a makeover to help Britons understand what they are passing and get them talking about their gut health and seeking help when necessary.

Although emptying your bowels isn’t exactly rocket science, the way you position yourself could have an impact.

The expert shared that many people don’t opt for the right position when having a poo.

She said: “Normal toilets that we sit on, they’re not necessarily designed for the best way of emptying your bowel.

“So, put your feet up and that will help to develop movement.”

Better-known as a squatty potty, this technique is nothing new when it comes to optimising your bowel movement.

Even a study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology explored the benefits of getting a bathroom stool and putting your feet up.

The study observed volunteers’ bowel habits for a period of four weeks.

First, they looked at pooing without a stool and then with to see if there was any difference.

The 52 participants prior to the study experienced problems ranging from incomplete bowel emptying to straining.

The study found that using the stool and switching up your positioning really increased bowel emptiness and reduced straining.

Even though positioning is important and can make a difference, Dr Suba also offered other tips on improving your gut health.

She said: “The other thing as well because everything’s connected is to keep moving.

“Moving your body helps with your gut movement as well.

“So, especially now when people are kind of glued to their work or more sat down, I’d recommend moving as well.”
However, the most obvious aspect of gut health is what you actually put in your gut.

Dr Suba said: “As long as you pick a diverse range of food, whole foods and try to minimise ultra-processed food, all of that is really good for you.

“The second thing is fibre but a lot of people tend not to pay attention to it. The thing about fibre is it’s good and bad because if you take too much in, then it can leave you bloated as well.

“So, it’s about kind of slowly introducing it and testing and learning with your own body.”

The other thing the doctor said could help with your gut are probiotics that are available as supplements or fermented foods, such as kimchi or kombucha.

She concluded that learning “what’s normal for you” when it comes to bowel movements and foods that work for your gut is the best way to start.

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