The bathroom is one place where it doesn’t pay to take your time.
Case in point: Ever notice that your foot or leg falls asleep when you’re trying to take care of business?
That “pins and needles” feeling occurs simply because you’re sitting there too long—and in a non-ideal position.
When most people sit on the toilet, they tend to hunch forward. That’s not good for pooping, since it makes it more difficult to release your waste, causing you to you strain more.
That hunched position is bad for the nerves in your pelvis, too.
It can compress the nerves, which hinders blood flow to them. Those nerves run all the way down to your feet, so that poor blood flow can lead to tingling in your lower extremities.
Sitting on the toilet in this position for 10 to 15 minutes is enough to start making many guys feel pins and needles.
Your feet are even more likely to fall asleep if you’re a skinny guy.
That’s because body fat cushions the blood vessels in your legs, preventing them from getting compressed when you sit. But if you don’t have that cushioning, your blood vessels can get compressed, causing another problem to blood flow—and ultimately, tingling feet.
In most cases, experiencing pins and needles on the john is nothing to worry about. (If you feel persistent numbness or tingling in your hands or feet during other times, see your doctor.)
You can, however, try to prevent it from happening: Buy something called an air doughnut, an inflatable device that can give your butt more cushion, improving blood flow to your feet.
Still, that’s not giving you a green light to camp out on the toilet: Spending too much time there—particularly if you’re straining to go—can lead to unpleasant conditions like haemorrhoids, bleeding, or even a tear in your lower rectum called an anal fissure.
So if you’re not accomplishing your goal after 10 to 15 minutes, leave the bathroom and try again later.
Edited by Christa Sgobba
Information by Satish S.C. Rao, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of medicine at the Medical College of Georgia and the director of the Digestive Health Center at Augusta University.