How the length of time you spend on the toilet affects your health – and 5 deadly signs to watch for

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FOR many Brits the toilet is more than just a place to poop.

A recent survey by found the nation spends an average of three and a half hours on the toilet a week.


Experts have warned that too much loo time can actually be pretty bad for youCredit: Getty

The average person spends five minutes on the toilet in one sitting and will visit the bathroom between four and seven times a day, Topps Tiles found.

Why? Because of mobile phones.

The majority of people (72%) take their mobile phone to the toilet with them, using it as an opportunity to watch video, catch up with friends or, in the case of a quarter of men, to find a date.

But health experts have warned that too much loo time can actually be pretty bad for you.

Health and Wellbeing Expert Stephanie Taylor, founder of StressNoMore, said: “While you might enjoy sitting on the toilet, reading the newspaper or scrolling through social media, this could be damaging your rectum.

“When you sit there, with your anus at a different level than the rest of your bottom half.

“This puts extra pressure on the veins in your lower rectum, which could eventually lead to haemorrhoids that can be uncomfortable and result in rectal bleeding.”

Haemorrhoids, often called piles, can be agonising.

Piles is where you get swollen blood vessels just inside your bottom (anus) which form lumps.

And while most of the time piles, clear up on their own, in some cases they can become chronic. and require medical attention.

However, if you start to notice you’re needing to go to the toilet more frequently and that your poo is more runny, this could be a sign of something more serious.

Bowel cancer can often lead to change in toilet habits, causing people to go to the toilet and stay on the loo longer when they do.

It’s the country’s fourth most common form of the disease – after breast, prostate and lung.

It’s also the UK’s second deadliest cancer – claiming a tragic 16,000 lives a year.

The five red-flag symptoms of bowel cancer include:

  1. Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
  2. A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
  3. Pain or a lump in your tummy
  4. Extreme tiredness
  5. Losing weight

Other signs of bowel cancer include:

  • Gripping pains in the abdomen
  • Feeling bloated
  • Constipation and being unable to pass wind
  • Being sick
  • Feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you’ve been to the loo

The NHS says you should see a GP if these sort of symptoms have been present for three weeks or more. 

Most people with symptoms of bowel cancer don’t actually have the disease.

It can instead be piles or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), for example.

The NHS says symptoms should be “taken more seriously as you get older”.

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But Bowel Cancer UK argues that not enough young people even know the signs of the disease.

And when they do go to their GP, with one in three delaying making an appointment for three months, the charity says they should be referred for further tests without unnecessary delays.

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