I Didn’t Know Squat About This! Bet You Don’t Either.

I’ve been using one of the greatest products of my life every day for the past three weeks, and if I gave you 250,000 guesses, you’d never be able to figure out what it is.

So I’ll stop the guessing games and tell you it’s called a Squatty Potty and it does for you what man—and woman—did for themselves for thousands of years, before the invention of the modern flushing toilet in 1596, when Queen Elizabeth I’s godson built one for her. They squatted, as in getting down on your haunches, to defecate. (I discussed masturbating in a recent blog, so why not move on to defecating? After all, we all do THAT, don’t we?)

Anyway, the Squatty Potty is physically nothing more than a sturdy piece of white molded plastic—placed under your feet when you’re sitting on the john—which effectively raises your legs above your hips, so you can relax the proper muscle (called the Puborectalis), which, in turn works with the rectum, anus and sphincter muscles to allow defecation with ease. It’s designed to mirror the angle and efficiency of natural squatting, while allowing for the luxury and comfort of your own toilet.

I like the way Slate explained “the mechanics” of going to the bathroom: We control the way we defecate, to some degree, by contracting or releasing our anal sphincter muscle. But that muscle alone can’t maintain continence, so the body also relies on a bend between the rectum—where feces builds up—and the anus—where feces comes out. 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. Proponents of squatting argue that conventional toilets produce an anorectal angle that’s ill-suited for defecation. By squatting, they say, we can achieve “complete evacuation” of the colon, ridding our bowels of disease-causing toxins.

I don’t know about you, but I do know lots of people (lots and lots of people) who are always complaining about being constipated. Young people, older people, thin people, heavier people, men, women, people who are in shape and people who are out of shape. We’re a pretty constipated society, which also aids in the development of hemorrhoids. I have been known not to defecate for days on end (I have a long colon, the doctor told me once)! No more. The Squatty Potty is my new pal, and when I use it, I don’t even need to take STAR magazine into the bathroom.

Lori Greiner, from the
Shark Tank, and also called the “Queen of QVC,” liked
Squatty Potty so much, she invested $300,000 in it for
a 10 percent stake.

And wouldn’t you know it, this brilliant idea was conceived by an FOF, Judy Edwards, who has suffered from constipation most of her life. The mother of seven and grandmother of 24, Judy gave me the backstory (can’t help those puns).

What made you come up with the idea for Squatty Potty?

I’ve been constipated my whole life, just one of those kids who grew up with constipation issues. I tried a lot of different things as I grew older, including drinking more water, exercising, and eating more fiber, but nothing would give me the real results that I wanted. When I moved into a new home 10 years ago, and put in one of the higher toilets, it only escalated my problem. So I decided to see a colon hydrotherapist to clean myself out, and she told me I should never use the bathroom without my knees raised above my waist. That was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing.

When I got home and started researching the subject, I was amazed at what I found. Anatomically, our bodies are designed to squat in order to eliminate. The Puborectalis muscle that wraps around the colon keeps us continent when we’re standing or sitting. The only time that muscles relaxes is when we’re in a squatting position; when our knees are above our waist, at a 35 degree angle or more.

I had never heard of such a thing and I’m in my 60s, so I said to myself, ‘this is ridiculous.’ But then I found these studies done in Israel, Iran and Japan, and I met all these doctors who were pushing the idea overseas. Two-thirds of the world still squats. A doctor friend told me he studied about squatting in medical school. Because the toilet is so convenient, and it puts us in somewhat of a sitting position, it makes do and people still go. But it’s like going to the bathroom through a kinked garden hose. It restricts the flow. We’ve never had anyone—not one professional—email us or say anything derogatory about the squatting position.

Squatting is an instinct from birth, but we take it away when we toilet train our children.

They’re scared and that’s where a lot of constipation starts. My 38-year-old son, Bobby, came to the same knowledge at about the same time that I did. He was determined to share this knowledge with the public. ‘This can be life changing,’ he said. Bobby took design classes at college so he designed the stool and he’s been the one to get it out to the public in a tasteful manner.

What’s happened since you introduced Squatty Potty?

Pooping is a taboo subject and getting people over the taboo has been our biggest challenge. No one likes to admit we do it, but everyone does. We talk about what we put in our bodies but we don’t dare talk about what comes out. We have many channels that won’t even carry our ads. We see Viagra ads, but no one wants to talk about pooping.

Howard Stern did a great deal for us. Robin (his sidekick) bought one and when they talked about it on his show, Howard said he wanted to try it. After he used it, he talked about it on air for 20 minutes. Now we pay to have him do live reads. It’s also been featured on The Doctors and Dr. Oz, which gave it even more credibility.

Bed, Bath & Beyond did so well when they put Squatty Potty into 100 stores that it’s now putting it into all stores. We’ll also be in another big chain after the first of the year. We have a 90-day money back guarantee and few returns. Over 90 percent of our customers say they wouldn’t return the product. A gastroenterologist in town says this helps his wife’s bowel more than anything he’s ever done.

Do you have plans for other products?

We’ll have an inflatable travel version by the end of the year. It’s made of heavy plastic, weighs less than one pound, and folds into a little ball. Once someone starts using Squatty Potty, they want to use it all the time, even when they travel.

Although we have a patent on a kid’s version, the current version also makes a great potty trainer, if a child’s legs are long enough to be raised a bit over their knees. Kids like Squatty Potty because it gives them support and they’re not frightened of being on the toilet anymore.

Developing Epilepsy Later in Life

This post is sponsored by Cyberonics, Inc.

Pamela, 62, spent a frightening decade with migraines, dangerously high blood pressure, forgetfulness, and tingling throughout her body.

During this time, her symptoms progressively worsened and included transient ischemic attacks (ministrokes) and weakness throughout her legs. Despite numerous lab tests, doctors in Atlanta couldn’t get to the root of Pamela’s problems and speculated that she had everything from multiple sclerosis to Lou Gehrig’s disease and Treacher Collins syndrome. They also prescribed medication after medication that proved ineffective. It wasn’t until Pamela took a sleep EEG, an exam that monitored electrical activity in the brain while she was asleep, that a neurologist was able to correctly diagnose her with epilepsy. Imaging of Pamela’s brain activity showed that, at times, she was experiencing as many as 80 seizures in a two-hour timeframe.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder causing “sudden surges of electrical activity in the brain,” or seizures, according to the Epilepsy Foundation. Symptoms of seizures include loss of awareness (blacking out), confusion, loss of consciousness, tingling throughout the body, visual impairment, and many other bodily changes.

Epilepsy By The Numbers

Of the 3 million Americans with epilepsy, 300,000 are 60+, and more and more people are being diagnosed with the condition after they reach that age. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, at 75 years of age, three percent of the population will likely be diagnosed with epilepsy, and 10 percent of this same population will have had a seizure of some type. In contrast, only one percent will have developed epilepsy by age 20.

The after-effects of stroke, tumors or heart attacks are major causes of epilepsy, but epilepsy can occur in people of any age as the result of birth defects, injury or trauma to the brain, brain infections like meningitis, and even metabolic changes which restrict certain nutrients from reaching the brain.

How Is It Treated?

Four months after her firm diagnosis and even though she was taking six prescribed medications, Pamela’s symptoms were still occurring.

That’s when her doctor told her about something called VNS Therapy for drug-resistant (or refractory) epilepsy. Pamela was experiencing what one-third of people with epilepsy experience: drug-resistant epilepsy characterized by seizures that are not well-controlled with medication alone. While other options included brain surgery or a modified diet, Pamela and her doctor agreed that VNS Therapy would be the best treatment for her.

What Is VNS Therapy?

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Therapy involves a minor procedure in which a small pacemaker-like device is placed under the skin in the chest and connected with a thin wire attached to the left vagus nerve in the neck. The vagus nerve is responsible for relaying messages between the brain and certain parts of the body, so this provides a minimally-invasive way to access the brain without brain surgery. The VNS Therapy system sends mild pulses through the vagus nerve indirectly to the brain to help regulate activity in the brain that can cause seizures. VNS Therapy also includes a hand-held magnet that can be placed over the small pacemaker-like device when the patient feels a seizure coming on (or during a seizure), to stop or shorten the seizure duration or intensity and to decrease the recovery time which occurs after the seizure stops. The therapy was approved by the FDA in 1997 and has been chosen by more than 80,000 people worldwide to help control their seizures.

With the addition of VNS Therapy, Pamela’s epilepsy is now under control, and she experiences seizures only rarely. She and her neurologist have been able to reduce her medication burden to only one now, and she is back to living an active life. “I’m a living example of the effectiveness of VNS. I volunteer, ride horses, and work every day.”

If you want to learn more about VNS Therapy, visit www.vnstherapy.com.

Background information for this article was provided by the Epilepsy Foundation and Cyberonics, Inc.

{Test This} OCEAN® Saline Nasal Spray

OCEAN® Saline Nasal Spray ($4.69 for 3.5oz) “provides instant, soothing relief to dry, irritated nasal passages due to colds, allergies, dry air, pollution, smoke, and air travel,” according to the manufacturer. The solution, comprised of sodium chloride 0.65% in purified water, is easy-to-use as a spray, stream, or as drops.

The spray works by helping to thin nasal passage mucus. The solution also “may help reduce the frequency of nosebleeds due to dryness.”

Ready to breathe easy?

The first 15 FabOverFifty.com readers to submit their responses will receive their very own bottle of the OCEAN® Saline Nasal Spray!


Where Oh Where Did My Muscles Go? [Sponsored Post]

I used to have upper arms that put Michelle Obama’s to shame, and I didn’t even lift weights. Know why? I was 40!

Well, ladies, I will never again see 40 and my upper arms will never again see the light of day.

The simple reason our underarms—as well as a number of other areas on our bodies—get flabbier as we age, is because our skeletal muscle mass starts to degenerate. The striated muscle tissue that is attached to bones, skeletal muscle is made of fibers that look like a mixture of dark and light bands bundled together and running along the bone. Our central nervous system regulates the activity of all muscles in our body. When we voluntarily decide to move, these muscles are responsible for contracting and relaxing. Skeletal muscles work together with bones to give us power and strength. We can see and feel these muscles through our skin, but once they start to deteriorate, we see mostly flab. Plus, we become less powerful and weaker. YICH!

Although changes to our skeletal muscle mass may begin when we’re in our 30s, most of us see the biggest changes in our 40s and 50s. On average, we lose about 30 percent of our strength between ages 50 and 70, and another 30 percent of what’s left per decade after that.


Advice To Chew On For New Denture Wearers

Almost 38 million of us are expected to be wearing dentures by 2020…

…according to the results of a study that appeared in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, making this method of replacing teeth one of the most common dental procedures performed in the United States.


How To Be Strong, Healthy and In Charge [Sponsored Post]

Luckily, I’ve never broken a bone. While I oddly believed, at about 10 years old, that it would be fun to wear a cast my friends could decorate with messages, there’s usually only one message a broken bone
would send to me today:


“Yes, Mrs. Durban, you have cancer.”

By Pauline Durban

December, 2006

2006… what a year! I reunited with my dad, from whom I had been estranged for 35 years (another story for another time), and I discovered a lump in my left breast! I was 50 years old.

I did a self-examination at least once a month, but this time I found a lump. People often ask me how I knew it was a ‘bad’ lump, since our breasts are full of lumps. Believe me, you can tell the difference.

It was December, and I was getting ready for a trip to England to spend Christmas with my family. What to do? I guess I will put it on hold, I thought, and revisit it when I get back. After all, it’s only a small lump, and I’m sure it’s nothing.


Don’t Swallow Another Supplement Until You’ve Read This! [Sponsored Post]

Women can be funny creatures.

Fanatic as we may be about staying in shape, by exercising and eating intelligently, we often skip entire meals because we’re A) just too busy, B) not hungry or C) hungry, but figure it just doesn’t hurt to skip a meal now and again.

Oh, but it does. It really does. Think about newborns and infants. They require a certain amount of milk (breast or formula) each day, in order to grow bigger and stronger. If a mother decided to simply eliminate feedings, here and there throughout the week, the baby wouldn’t get all the nutrition it needed. Of course, women over 50 don’t need to grow bigger (we sure don’t!) , but we must make certain to maintain good health and keep up our strength. When we deny our bodies the proper nutrition they need each day, it decreases our chances of doing either. So while a svelte bod may look good on the outside, it’s probably not working so well on the inside if it doesn’t get the proper vitamins and minerals, not to mention things like omega-3s fatty acids and antioxidants.

Let’s stop here, you’re saying to yourself about now. Practically every day, you read or hear about another dietary supplement that one expert or another claims you MUST take. Calcium and D3 for bones; Vitamin C for collagen; Vitamin E to fight cell damage; magnesium for energy and to help your muscles, arteries and heart to work properly. And how can something called “fatty” be good for you? One look at the packed vitamin shelves in the drugstore sends you into a tizzy, and there’s no one around to help. The shops that specialize in vitamins aren’t any better, since the salespeople try to push everything on you, having no idea what you need. What you really need, you’re convinced, is an advanced degree in nutrition to understand all the gobbledygook thrown at you from every direction.


What Do You Know About Yourself?

Carolyn Hidalgo, one of the most passionate women we know, is a self-relationship coach who dreams how wonderful the world would be if we could all live “judgement free.” We’d love for you to answer Carolyn’s questions (anonymously, of course) to help her see what matters most to us.


How To Ensure Your Heart Health [Sponsored Post]

We women spend lots of time paying attention to what our hearts tell us.

At least when it comes to matters of love and relationships, and which pair of shoes or necklace to buy. But we’d better start paying attention to the messages our hearts send us about matters of health. Because this powerful muscular organ, only the size of a fist, can incapacitate or even kill us in minutes.

And it does. Over 500,000 women die every year from heart disease, representing a little over half of all heart-related deaths in the United States; of these deaths, heart attacks claim the lives of 267,000 women. That’s six times greater than the number of women who die of breast cancer.

Read that last statement again: Six times more women die of heart attacks than breast cancer!