Sorry But This Is How Long You're Only Meant To Sit On The Toilet For

A colorectal expert shares how long is too long to sit on the can.
Ekaterina Demidova via Getty Images

I hope this isn’t too disgusting to share, but honestly, I’ve long maintained that a sneaky five-minute sit-and-scroll on the loo is one of the greatest pleasures in life.

But if colorectal surgeon Karen Zaghiyan, MD, is to be believed, we all need to ensure we’re not sitting on the loo for too long.

In a recent video, the surgeon shared ten things she’d never do as a colorectal surgeon. Along with not using wet wipes and avoiding colonics, Zaghiyan says she “would never sit [for] more than five minutes on the toilet.” (gulp).


It’s all to do with strain ― which you should avoid where possible when going number two.

Many of us will be aware that not drinking enough water or eating enough fibre can cause constipation, hard-to-pass stools, and subsequent fissures, haemorrhoids, and more.

But it turns out that simply sitting on the can might take its own toll on your tushy.

“Sitting, especially if you are finished having a bowel movement or waiting to have a bowel movement and you’re just sitting there and scrolling the internet looking at social media, is really bad for your haemorrhoids,” the surgeon shared.

That’s because “there’s a vacuum effect on the toilet that pulls on the hemorrhoidal veins and aggravates them.”

So, your seemingly harmless number two routine could be causing you more bowels more harm than good ― especially if you’re sitting for more than five minutes.

What if I need that much time to get the job done?

“If you have not finished or begun your bowel movement in five minutes, get up, come back another time when you have the urge to go again,” Zaghiyan says.

“But do not sit there a long time ― obviously, this varies and it’s different for people that have gut conditions, have had surgeries, etc. ― I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about the average Joe who’s just sitting there spending half an hour in the toilet. Do not do that,” she finished.

Well, that’s us told...