Aussies fret over bathroom business

toilet with raised seat,

A survey has drilled deep into Australia’s bowel movement habits, discovering many of us are very fussy about where we go

If you thought it was just a plot device on “Sex and the City,” think again: new research commissioned for V.I.Poo found that women in particular are likely to avoid using toilets at work, at restaurants or while on a date.

The survey was commissioned to mark the launch of the brand’s new “pre-poo toilet spray,” which is aimed at preventing toilet odours. It won’t be hitting pharmacy shelves any time soon, as it’s available in Woolworths and independent supermarkets only.

The survey found that many Australians have “held in a poo” due to embarrassment about any odours which could be left behind: 39% of women are likely to do this, compared to 27% of men.

The least favourite places for bowel movements, due to embarrassment, were airplanes, at parents’-in-law’s houses, at restaurants and at a festival.

Office toilets are also often avoided: more than half of Australian women said they were uncomfortable using them for a bowel movement at work, compared to just 29% of men.

Almost half steer clear of certain foods – particularly beans and legumes – to avoid creating odours.

CEO of the Continence Foundation Rowan Cockerel told the AJP that concerns about odour are quite common and understandable, and that toilet anxiety is a real and significant problem for many people.

“But we would hope messaging around this doesn’t increase anxiety, and supports people responding to their bodily needs,” she says.

She encouraged pharmacists to engage with customers expressing concern about odour, consistency and continence to seek further help if appropriate.

“People can have a conversation with their pharmacist and/or dietitian if they’re seeing one, to talk about dietary modification if diet could be a contributing problem; pharmacy is an important point of reference for this.”

The survey also found that:

  • Most Australians have a bowel movement between 6am and 8am.
  • 90% have a bowel movement at least once a day; this rises to twice a day for 44% of people.
  • Queenslanders (50%) are the most likely to have two bowel movements a day; West Australians (55%) are the most likely to only produce one.
  • Almost a third of people take a phone or tablet with them while they’re in there.
  • 20% said they would never poo on a first date, and 45% of men said it would be at least a month before they would be comfortable doing so at their partner’s home, compared to a quarter of women.
  • The biggest etiquette errors were considered to be leaving toilets unflushed, leaving marks, using up all the toilet roll or making audible noises.

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