Is It Bad to Squat When You Pee?

Disgusting bar bathrooms have trained you to only squat, never sit, while peeing. But this might just be a toilet habit that you should break.

Is It Bad to Squat When You Pee?
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Let's face it, there are certain times when you'd rather hold it than sit on a gross toilet seat. But during desperate times — whether it's a dirty bathroom at the bar or at a nasty rest stop — you might decide to just squat while you pee to keep your butt clean and your mind at ease.

Despite squatting being a pretty good workout for your legs (although you're definitely sacrificing your form in these cases), are there any risks involved in choosing to squat instead of sit? Or are you only reaping the rewards of avoiding unknown germs? Here, Matthew Karlovsky, M.D., a urologist and the director of female pelvic health at Arizona Urology Specialists, drops some surprising truths about this super-common practice that many people are forced to adopt behind closed doors (or nearby bush).

The Different Types of Squatting While You Pee

First, you should know that there are two types of squatting you can practice while peeing. (And no, neither of them require a kettlebell, such as the goblet squat.)

First, there's the kind of squat you have to do when you're in the middle of nowhere (think: mid-hike) with a full bladder. This squat is unobstructed and maybe even dips lower than when you sit down, as there's no fear of touching a grimy toilet.

Then there's the "semi-squat," says Karlovsky. This is when you're hovering over the toilet seat to avoid butt-to-seat contact at all costs. Some folks may even pee like this all the time, whether for a quickie workout or for hygienic reasons.

Fully squatting (let's call it the outside method) is preferred — if you really must squat — because your pelvic floor muscles and bladder are more relaxed in this position, explains Karlovsky. But with the semi-squat, bad bladder habits can form and secondary problems can occur over time.

Why You Shouldn't Squat When You Pee

A semi-squat pose while peeing is never a good option because you're using your pelvic muscles in a way that is not natural, says Karlovsky. "You are training your muscles to not relax," he says. "After many years, the bladder can become weaker." Peeing in this position often means you'll retain urine, which puts you at higher risk for urinary tract infections (UTI) — not to mention the disconcerting feeling of always needing to pee.

While it may be hard to choose between sitting on a disgusting-looking public toilet seat or getting a UTI, Karlovsky explains that everyone is different and problems may never develop from squatting while peeing. But next time, instead of risking it, why not try to develop a different habit? Lay down some protective toilet paper and just take a seat.

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