Medical expert has grim warning for people who sit on their phones while on toilet
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Like to scroll through your feed while you sit on the loo? You're not alone. Stats from YouGov show 57 percent of people admit to using their phone on the toilet - but one doctor has issued a warning about using your phone on the throne.
Even more people - 9 out of 10 of us - admit to taking our smartphone to the loo, even if we won't cop to checking WhatsApp while we do our business.
Firstly, sitting on the toilet engrossed in an endless stream of TikToks inevitably takes longer than pooing and getting off the pot, which puts extra pressure on your anus that can cause haemorrhoids.
Colorectal surgeon Dr. Karen Zaghiyan told Healthline: "Hemorrhoids are a collection of veins inside and outside the anus. Everyone has hemorrhoids. We are born with them.”
So where's the problem?
He continued: "The act of sitting and straining as you scroll can 'cause the haemorrhoids to engorge with blood, causing symptoms such as pain, swelling or bleeding."
While there's no empirical evidence of this, as yet, a clinical trial is ongoing and doctors are pretty convinced.
If you take your phone to the loo with you, you are contaminating it with bacteria from the bathroom, and will likely touch it after leaving the bathroom, transferring the germs to your hands.
A pretty shocking yet unsurprising 2017 study revealed that high school students’ cell phones can harbour E.coli and other microbes that can make you seriously sick.
According to the NHS, this bacteria can cause diarrhoea, stomach cramps and occasionally fever at best with about half of people having bloody diarrhoea and it was responsible for 5,500 NHS patient deaths in the 2015/2016 financial year.
To put that into context: with 1 in 20 of us only cleaning our smartphone every six months or less, smartphones are quite literally dirtier than the toilet seat or flush (and you probably don't hold those to your face on a regular basis).
Dr. Marcos Del Rosario, a urologist at Clinic CERACOM in Campeche, Mexico, told Healthline that handwashing is key: “Grown adults still don’t know how to wash their hands. I see it all the time in public bathrooms.”
So aside from having an on-toilet smartphone hiatus, what can you do to reduce the risk - and the levels of bacteria?
Only sit on the throne for as long as the actual urge lasts, advises Dr. Zaghiyan.
“If a bowel movement is not produced after a couple minutes on the john, don’t force it. Instead, get up and go do something else. When you have the urge to go again, you may return to the toilet,” she says.
The ideal length of time to spend on the loo is one to 15 minutes - anything longer can indicate an issue with constipation.
Try setting a timer if you've got the urge to linger.
Afterwards? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises spending at least 20 seconds scrubbing all parts of your hands afterwards - whether it's a number one or two.
The NHS says you can use alcohol-based hand sanitiser if there's no soap and water.
And if you're simply too attached to your phone to put it down? Make sure the seat is down when you flush.
Dr. Del Rosario explains: “With every flush, fecal particles are flying into the air and landing on your phone.”
So just make sure you rub down your phone with an antibacterial wipe.