Toilet reading habits in Israeli adults

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2009 Mar;21(3):291-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2008.01204.x. Epub 2008 Oct 7.


Although toilet reading (TR) is a common habit, the effect of TR on bowel movements is neglected in the medical literature. Our hypothesis was that TR provides a distraction and acts as an unconscious relaxation technique and allows an easier defecation process. The aim of this study was to assess how common is TR and to map the reading/playing toilet habits in the Israeli adult population. In addition, we aimed to explore a possible connection between TR and the nature of bowel habits in general and constipation and haemorrhoids in particular. Five hundred adults who represent the diverse demographic backgrounds have been asked to fill an anonymous short questionnaire. The subjects were questioned regarding their demographic details, their TR and playing habits, their bowel habits, whether they suffer from haemorrhoids and whether they use some sort of faecal softener. We found that TR is common and involves 52.7% of the population. Males, younger age, secular population, higher education level and white collar workers compose the TR profile. Although toilet readers spent significantly more time in the toilets, no differences were noted for the type or frequency of stools. Nevertheless, the TR group considered themselves to be less constipated (8.0%vs 13.7%) and had more haemorrhoids (23.6%vs 18.2%). These differences, however, were not significant. Toilet reading is a common and benign habit. It is involved with a longer time spent in the toilet. It seems to be more for fun and not necessarily to solve or due to medical problems.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Constipation
  • Defecation*
  • Female
  • Habits*
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reading*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult