Brits spend the equivalent of eight months of their adult life – sitting on the toilet, it has emerged.
Researchers who carried out a detailed study into the time we spend ‘on the throne’ discovered we head to the loo twice a day for a ‘number two’ – and six times for a wee.
This amounts to just over 15 minutes every day or almost two hours a week on the loo. Incredibly, one in three Brits said sitting on the toilet was one of the only occasions they get some time to themselves.
It also emerged women are more likely to strike up a conversation in a public loo with a stranger than men are.
Simon Bayley, from digital DIY bowel cancer test, measurebowelhealth.com, which commissioned the research said:
We were surprised at how much time some Brits seem to spend sitting on the loo. It’s something we all do, but rarely discuss – yet ‘toilet etiquette’ is a huge part of modern life, whether that’s at home, work or out in public.
A loo break is a pause from whatever else you might be doing, but it can also be a really good opportunity to get a glimpse at your health. Your toilet habits can tell you a lot about what’s going on inside your body.
The study also found one fifth of respondents admit they’d feel weird if they were sitting on the toilet without their phone to fiddle with.
And Brits are now more likely to look through their phone or simply sit there and think than read a newspaper, suggesting the classic habit of reading on the loo may be a thing of the past.
Almost one in twenty even admitted to talking on the phone while in the bathroom.
More than six in 10 adults admitted they have been left embarrassed after entering a bathroom where the previous user left a ghastly smell – only to open the door afterwards and find someone else waiting to go in.
The research, carried out via OnePoll, also found six in 10 Brits reckon they can get a good measure of their overall health – by the state of their bowel movements.
And one in four admit they always have a peek into the toilet after going for a number two to keep an eye out for any worrying health concerns.
It’s just as well for some though with one in four adults saying they have been greeted by the worrying sight of blood in their stools after using the toilet.
But only a quarter of these made an appointment with the doctor straight away – with the majority delaying a medical appointment for as long as possible out of embarrassment.
Instead, if they felt there was something seriously wrong, Brits would wait an agonising eight days to book an appointment with the doctor.
GP and author Dr Ellie Cannon said:
We know early diagnosis for bowel cancer increases survival rates, but many believe this is an ‘older’ person’s disease. In fact, bowel cancer can affect any adult and new research suggests bowel cancer is on the increase among young people.
The Measure Bowel Health Test offers a discreet and clean test as there’s no messy handling or sample storage. You can do this at home and it will pick up potential health issues to be discussed with a GP promptly.
Symptoms of bowel cancer can include:
Obvious bleeding from your bottom and/or blood in your poo
A change in your bowel habit
Diarrhoea or constipation lasting for more than 7 days
Unexplained weight loss
A pain or lump in your stomach
If you have these symptoms, seek advice from your GP.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.