Hovering, is it all that Bad?
Let's look at what the research says
Hovering above the toilet seat is like a fine art, making sure your trousers and pants are down enough to allow an accurate aim into the toilet bowl, sometimes more successful than others.
Research shows up to 85% of people will hover over public toilets, 12% applied paper and then sat (no flies on them!) and 2% sat directly butt to seat (when that happens confetti pops out from the toilet roll holder!)
BUT… is hovering BAD does is cause pelvic floor tension, does it slow down the flow of urine, does it make us strain and can it lead to prolapse? Is our advice fear mongering or are we only looking out for your long-term pelvic health… let’s see what the evidence says and my clinical opinion!
Moore et al 1991 found in 528 women that hovering slowed down urine flow rate by 21% and increased urine residual by 149%. PAUSE: what is ‘increased urine residual’ when we pee and say ‘yup I feel empty’ we however will always have around 50ml of urine remaining in the bladder this is NORMAL
Unsal & Cimentepe 2004 found no significant differences in any of the parameters between peeing positions (standing, hovering or sitting) in 72 young men and women. Is this because this was a younger group reporting no bladder complaints?
Chieh-lung Chou et al 2010 looked at peeing while standing up as an alternative for elderly women with knee OA when sitting or hovering was not possible. The women used a device to help collect and drain the urine and found that this is a good alternative. I know it’s not hovering but thought I’d pop it in!
I was unable to find any research that states hovering directly causes prolapse, pelvic floor tension or straining. However, women who have bladder issues and hover, their urine rate does slow down, and incomplete emptying is reported. Could this possibly tempt you to strain to finish quicker? possibly? but this is not reported. For someone like me the research to date says hovering is NOT harmful.
Overall, I recommend a relaxed position during peeing as an important behaviour for promoting and maintaining bladder health, for the majority of people this will likely be sitting, for others it could be hovering, standing or squatting depending on environment and culture.
REALLY want to know, get a bladder scan from your specialist pelvic health physio to see if your someone who can hover effectively.
P.S 100% sit your ass down for a poo