Whether you’re stuck with a portaloo or you’re just a straight-up germaphobe in every situation – we’ve all resorted to hovering over the toilet seat at one time or another.
But one expert is warning against the habit.
“When you don’t completely sit down, your muscles are not completely relaxed,” physical therapist and pelvic floor specialist Carol Figuers told Health.
“In order for the bladder to completely empty, the pelvic floor muscles have to be let go.”
When you squat over the seat, your pelvic floor muscle are still 30% to 40% engaged meaning you won’t release your entire bladder.
“When you stand back up, you’ll still have a little bit of urine left in there because the muscles didn’t completely relax,” she explains.
Figuers says that this “old” urine can irritate the inside of the bladder resulting in the sensation of needing to go more often or more urgently. Leaving a bit behind can also lead to light bladder leakage when running, laughing, sneezing or jumping.
She recommends lining the seat if you’re still not inclined to touch the porcelain throne directly, but FYI it’s super unlikely you’ll catch anything from the thing anyway.
While there are plenty of scary bugs lurking in the bathroom, the toilet seat is not a common way for infections to be transmitted to humans. For you to pick something up it would have to be via the urethral or genital tract (you'd have to get pretty creative with your sitting situation for that to happen) or through an open wound on your bum or upper thighs (possible, but very unlikely).