The Unexamined Life

Can Smartphone Use In The Bathroom Give You Hemorrhoids?

Seems like a crappy question to ask, isn’t it? But yes, doctors have long warned us sitting for long periods of time on a toilet can cause hemorrhoids because this prolonged position increases pressure on the veins of the anus in the lower rectum. And so does straining during bowel movements.

So whether you’re reading a book, ruminating on a thought or fiddling on your mobile phone, your chances of developing hemorrhoids goes up the longer your butt stays planted on the toilet seat. It’s the length of time and not the activity engaged in that raises the risk of developing hemorrhoids.

If it’s any consolation, hemorrhoids are quite common. Nearly three out of four adults will have hemorrhoids from time to time.

The most common cause of hemorrhoids is excessive straining during defecation. This prolonged straining causes the supporting tissues of the anal cushions to disintegrate.

There are two types of hemorrhoids: One type develops inside the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) while the other develops under the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids).

There’s a very good reason why smartphones are being implicated in a rash of hemorrhoids these days. These devices normally go wherever their users go -- even to the toilet. And what better way to while the time away while waiting to finish this necessary bodily function than by keeping busy on your smartphone?

Problem is one can become so engrossed with the phone that one remains seated on the toilet long after the deed is done. Hemorrhoids love that.

There’s even a term for the prolonged use of a mobile phone while sitting on the toilet seat. It’s called “Toilet Newspaper Syndrome” and can definitely put you at risk of developing hemorrhoids, said Dato’ Dr Meheshinder Singh, consultant general and colorectal surgeon at Pantai Medical Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The phrase Toilet Newspaper Syndrome is a bit passé today since it’s the smartphone and not the newspaper that’s the favorite reading material among young people these days. Call this phrase old fashioned and one more relevant to dad. But the behavior behind the phrase remains the same.

Dr Singh suggested refraining from bringing any gadget, especially a smartphone, into the toilet.

So, the cure for Toilet Newspaper Syndrome (or should it be Toilet Smartphone Syndrome) is as simple as that. But this demands a lot of mental discipline and millennials aren’t famous for being disciplined.

Toilet Can you die from not going to the bathroom? The answer is frighteningly yes. Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

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