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Surveys show that Britons spend an average of three and half hours on the toilet a week. The majority of these people blame this on boredom, relaxation and hygiene. In one 2018 survey, 80 percent of respondents revealed they enjoyed getting some time alone. According to one expert, however, spending prolonged periods of time on the loo may pose some health risks.
Spending too much time on the toilet causes pressure to mount inside the rectum and anus, setting the stage for haemorrhoids.
Haemorrhoids are the medical term for blood vessels that form externally around the anus, or inside the lower rectum.
The external vessels are generally apparent to the eye, particularly if they’re accompanied by a blood clot.
The condition has historically been associated with chronic constipation, as well as excessive straining during bowel movements.
Spending prolonged periods of time on the toilet, however, may also interfere with blood flow to and from the area.
According to Harvard Health, this is why the condition is prevalent among pregnant women, as their enlarging uterus presses on the veins.
Health and Wellbeing expert Stephanie Taylor, the founder of StressNoMore, said: “While you might enjoy sitting on the toilet, reading the newspaper or scrolling through social media, this could be damaging your rectum.
“When you sit there, with your anus at a different level than the rest of your bottom half, this puts extra pressure on the veins in your lower rectum, which could eventually lead to haemorrhoids that can be uncomfortable and result in rectal bleeding.”
She continued: “Avoid sitting on the toilet for too long at a time. Instead only sit for as long as you have the urge to go and, if nothing is happening, get up and do something else.
“According to a study, it should only take five minutes to open your bowel and if you have been sitting for longer than 15 minutes, with no bowel movement, this might indicate that you are constipated.”
While compilations from haemorrhoids are rare, they do exist.
One known complication of the condition is anaemia, a condition characterised by a lack of healthy blood cells.
Because blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues, it can cause symptoms like tiredness and heavy periods.
When it is caused by haemorrhoids, this is due to chronic bleeding from haemorrhoids from staining to pass stool.
Another known complication of the condition is strangulated haemorrhoids, which occur when the blood supply to the internal haemorrhoid is cut off.
In some cases, this can cause extreme pain.
Finally, haemorrhoids can sometimes lead to blood clots, which are medically known as thrombosed haemorrhoids.
The Mayo Clinic explains: “Occasionally, a clot can form in a haemorrhoid.
“Although not dangerous, it can be extremely painful and sometimes needs to be lanced and drained.”
While limiting the time spent sitting on a toilet can prevent such issues, other preventive measures include eating high-fibre diets, and drinking more fluids.
Going as soon as you feel the urge may also help, as waiting could cause stool to dry, making it harder to pass.
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