How Dangerous Is It to Read on the Toilet?

A doctor's reasons why you should stop reading on the crapper (and how to do it safely)

[via esquire] The answer — sadly, because so little beyond music, laughter, and the mass-manufacture of weaponry as clearly distinguishes our kind from the rest of the animal kingdom as turning our johns into study halls — is yes.

Explains Dr. David Gutman, founder and lead physician of Advanced Hemorrhoid Specialists, "Hemorrhoids are derived from anatomical structures called anal cushions — like small balloons — embedded within the wall of the anal canal. When abdominal pressure is increased, these cushions instantly fill with blood to form a hydraulic seal to help prevent leakage.

"If the anal cushions become stretched out or get irritated, they are called hemorrhoids and can cause bleeding, itching, pain, and the protrusion of tissue through the rectum," the last condition also known as Jimmyfallonitis. "Sitting on the toilet too long can increase pressure on these anal cushions, which may eventually cause them to become hemorrhoids."

But doc, how long is too long?

"Well, you shouldn't be reading on the toilet. Bowel movements should be quick. I know people like to read in the bathroom, and what I would recommend is once they are done with the movement — if they insist on wanting to stay and read — they should wipe, flush, put the toilet-seat cover down, and sit on that. It's almost like sitting on a chair."

Not really. More like abdicating a throne.

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