Twittering on the toilet: Britain’s bathroom habits

Three-quarters of Britons text, blog or surf the internet while on the toilet, according to a survey of more than 2,000 people. The poll was carried out by Yakult to mark the launch of Gut Week, which aims to raise awareness of digestive disorders.

Television personality and former cricketer Phil Tufnell launching Gut Week. Photo: Love Your Gut

Television personality and former cricketer Phil Tufnell launching Gut Week. Photo: Love Your Gut

More than a third of those polled said they had sent a text message while on the toilet, 33 per cent admitted they had conducted a telephone conversation, 7 per cent revealed they had searched the internet, and 1 per cent said they had sent Twitter updates.

Despite 18 per cent admitting they had suffered from cramps or pins and needles, nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) were unaware that sitting on the loo for too long could cause haemorrhoids.

The research also revealed men were more likely to look for a distraction when on the loo than women and 14% of males polled said they read football match programmes while 18% of men completed a crossword or Sudoku puzzle behind the locked bathroom door.

Almost twice as many men (58 per cent) read newspapers and magazines than women (29 per cent), the survey found.

Former England cricketer Phil Tufnell, who launched the awareness campaign, said: ”Touring the sub-continent we tended to spend a lot of time on the toilet through no fault of our own and in these circumstances the odd toilet read was understandable”.

Dr Simon Gabe, consultant gastroenterologist at St Mark’s Hospital in Harrow, north-west London, said there some health risks that people should be aware of.

”There are problems which can arise from spending too long on the toilet, such as haemorrhoids, bleeding and worsening problems with emptying the rectum. More importantly, eating on the toilet runs the risk of contaminating the food with bacteria from the toilet. This may cause a bacterial gastroenteritis, which is an infectious diarrhoea and can be very severe.”

Organised by digestive health charities Core, The Gut Trust and St Mark’s Hospital Foundation in association with Yakult, the campaign – www.loveyourgut.com – offers advice on how to maintain gut health and ensure a regular bowel habit.

Source: The Telegraph, 24 Aug 2009

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