People can control their defecation, to some extent, by contracting or releasing the anal sphincter. But the muscle can’t maintain continence on its own. The body also relies on a bend between the rectum and the anus. When we’re standing up, the extent of this bend, called the anorectal angle, is about 90 degrees, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier.
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