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Bowel Movement Triggers: Why Reading Helps You Poop
book-toiletby Patricia Raymond, M.D., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.G.


Q. Why does going to the bookstore make me have to do number two?

A. Restroom reading reaps results.

People commonly read in their powder rooms to assist in doing their business. In fact, 74 percent of people read on the toilet, according to Quilted Northern’s 2004 Bathroom Confidential Study. Then again, only a third of women reported doing so in a report from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Conclude what you will.

Relaxation on the commode, as might be brought about by reading, may help relax the voluntary anal sphincter. In fact, doctors have been known to recommend reading on the toilet to help people with fecal incontinence in their bowel-retraining program.

So perhaps it’s the actual book browsing that causes your biblio BMs. The fix? Try ordering your books online from the library or bookstore to choose your defecatory setting.

newsletter-graphicA board-certified gastroenterologist in Chesapeake, Va., PATRICIA RAYMOND M.D., wrote Colonoscopy: It’ll Crack U Up! and teaches clinical internal medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Last updated and/or approved: April 2010. Original article appeared in September/October 2007 former print magazine. Bio current as of September 2007. This article is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.

Comments (1)add comment
nothing wrong with restroom reading!
written by Penny , June 19, 2016

My husband and I both have reading material, we take our time, and have been reading in the bathroom since young ages. It is distracting, and from all I've heard on the subject, relaxation is much better for elimination. I avoid reading only in public restrooms, and only because of being conscientious about making others wait too long. At home, I always read (except I won't bring in something like Scriptures). Tabloids and humor books are best; my husband sticks with guitar catalogs. Though I believe any friends who say they don't see the point in reading while 'going', I think many women lie and are underrepresented in these polls!
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