Thanks to processed foods, stress, less-than-stellar microbiomes and a slew of other factors, attaining the perfect poop is a challenge for many people.
Because so many of us want to be doing it better, there are countless books, websites and TikTok videos offering advice on how to level up in the bathroom. But the key to going number two like a pro might actually be the furry friend snoozing on the couch next to you.
“I always say, look at dogs: Your dogs poop beautifully,” Dr. Evan Goldstein, a nationally renowned anal surgeon and the CEO and founder of Bespoke Surgical, told us — Raj Punjabi and Noah Michelson, co-hosts of HuffPost’s “Am I Doing It Wrong?” podcast — when we recently chatted with him.
“It’s the diet, and [dogs] go when they actually need to ― not like ‘I need to go to work, so I need to force it.’”
Dogs also squat when they defecate, which Goldstein said was another important component of a healthy pooping routine.
“Have you ever seen a baby with a diaper that just stands but kind of squats? That’s kind of the positioning [that’s best for pooping],” Goldstein said. “[Squatting] is really putting all of the pressure away. It’s dispersing pressure as much as possible, so that now, everything is opening to give the capacity so you can evacuate [your poop] and be comfortable with it. If you’re pushing and pushing and red in the face ― don’t do that! And then you have to look at diet and what you’re eating, and fibre and motility agents.”
Deciding on a pooping position is a personal choice, Goldstein noted, adding that people sometimes opt to prop their legs up on a stack of books or use a Squatty Potty-style toilet stool.
“Some people put their arms up ... like on a roller coaster, because it straightens the colon, it changes the angle for people,” he said.
One other reason Goldstein praised dogs’ approach to pooping?
“They don’t need to clean [after they go] — at least for the most part,” he said. He noted that “the preferred method of wiping is not wiping,” as the use of toilet paper and too much rubbing can harm the thin, delicate skin around the anus.
Instead, Goldstein recommended using a bidet or cleaning in the shower, and then gently patting the area dry. If you’re going to wipe, he recommended a gentle swipe or two while sitting down on the toilet, and then finishing wiping — or, more ideally, “blotting” — in a partly squatting, partly standing position, which he said keeps pressure off the area.
Ultimately, Goldstein said, “think of pooping as ‘less is always more.’ We don’t want to be going a bazillion times a day. We want to wipe less. We want to create an environment where it’s like ‘drop and leave.’” Just like our dogs.
Goldstein also chatted with us about what an ideal poop looks like (spoiler alert: your dog is your role model here too), why he wants wet wipes banned, and much more:
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