Medical expert has grim warning for people who sit on their phones while on toilet

Do you enjoy scrolling through your social media feed while sitting on the toilet? If so, you're part of a significant majority. According to YouGov statistics, 57 percent of people confess to using their phones while on the toilet. However, it's essential to be aware that a doctor has raised concerns about this habit.

An even larger proportion of people, specifically 9 out of 10 individuals, admit to bringing their smartphones to the restroom, although many won't confess to checking WhatsApp while attending to their business.

To begin with, spending time on the toilet engrossed in an endless stream of TikToks inevitably prolongs the duration of sitting, exerting additional pressure on the anus, potentially leading to the development of hemorrhoids.

Dr. Karen Zaghiyan, a colorectal surgeon interviewed by Healthline, explained that hemorrhoids are essentially a collection of veins both inside and outside the anus, which are present from birth.

So, what's the concern?

Dr. Zaghiyan further explained, "The act of sitting and straining while you scroll can cause the hemorrhoids to fill with blood, resulting in symptoms like pain, swelling, or bleeding."

Although there isn't concrete empirical evidence yet, an ongoing clinical trial has left doctors quite convinced about the potential link between excessive phone usage on the toilet and hemorrhoid issues.
Secondly, there's the issue of bacteria.

If you bring your phone into the restroom, you're exposing it to the bacteria present in that environment. After leaving the bathroom, you'll likely touch your phone again, transferring those germs to your hands.

A rather alarming but not surprising 2017 study discovered that high school students' cell phones harbored E.coli and other microbes that can cause serious illnesses.

According to the NHS, these bacteria can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, and occasionally fever. In more severe cases, about half of the affected individuals may experience bloody diarrhea. Shockingly, these bacteria were responsible for 5,500 NHS patient deaths during the 2015/2016 financial year.

To put it in perspective, considering that only 1 in 20 people clean their smartphones every six months or less, these devices are literally dirtier than toilet seats or flush handles (which you probably wouldn't press against your face regularly).

Dr. Marcos Del Rosario, a urologist at Clinic CERACOM in Campeche, Mexico, emphasized the importance of handwashing: "Grown adults still don't know how to wash their hands. I see it all the time in public bathrooms."

So, apart from refraining from using your smartphone on the toilet, what can you do to reduce the risk and bacterial levels?

Dr. Zaghiyan advises only spending time on the toilet for as long as the actual need persists.
"If you don't have a bowel movement within a couple of minutes on the toilet, avoid straining and forcing it. Instead, get up and engage in other activities. When the urge returns, you can come back to the toilet," she advises.

The recommended duration for spending time on the toilet is between one to fifteen minutes; anything beyond that may indicate a problem with constipation. Consider using a timer if you find yourself lingering too long.

After using the restroom, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend thoroughly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, regardless of whether it was a number one or two. In situations where soap and water are unavailable, the NHS suggests using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

If you find it challenging to part with your phone while on the toilet, at least make sure the toilet seat is down when you flush. Dr. Del Rosario explains, "With each flush, fecal particles become airborne and can land on your phone." To mitigate this, ensure you clean your phone with an antibacterial wipe.

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