Piles? Don’t blame your phone

3 minute read

Apparently it needs to be said that sitting on the loo for hours at a time is bad for your health, regardless of your reading matter.

Type the words “mobile phones cause” into your Google machine. Go on I dare you.

Brain cancer, accidents, social isolation, mental health issues, cyberbullying, depression, sleeplessness, anxiety, brain damage, breast cancer, autism … you name it, putting that little box of radiation and conspiracy theories up against your skull can cause it.

Now there’s a new one. Haemorrhoids.

TikTok influencer Dr Sethi, who tells you on a regular basis that he is a “board-certified gastroenterologist” which must be true because he always wears a white coat and a stethoscope in his videos, says scrolling through social media while sitting on the toilet is a bad, bad thing.

Haemorrhoids, anal fissures, and even rectal prolapse can be the result of bog-based scrolling apparently.

Now, I have to admit my first reaction was to roll my eyes and dismiss Dr Sethi as a bog-standard con-artist trying to sell an endoscope or some such. But then I thought about it some more.

I come from a long line of bog-sitters. My grandfather Ted disappeared for hours at a time. There were only two places to look for him – up the back of the garden, communing with his gooseberries, or on the old pull-chain commode, studying the form guide.

My father spent more time on the bog than he did playing golf. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was saying something. He was, no doubt, thinking deep thoughts about damped vibrations or frequency modulation or some other civil engineering puzzle, as was his wont. Or he was asleep. Hard to know.

But I tell you two things he and his dad also had in common. Piles, and a total lack of interest in mobile phones.

Which leads me to the conclusion that Dr Sethi’s “don’t bog-scroll” video has caught the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.

The phone ain’t the problem here, people. You could insert the words “reading a book”, “doing the crossword”, “picking your winners”, or “escaping the children” instead of “scrolling through social media” and come up with the same catastrophic anal apocalypses.

Dr Sethi does make one good point, however. Toilets are full of germs, people. 

Stop sitting in that miasma of floating faecal particles once the business is done, and go hide at the back of the garden with a shovel and a good book/phone/form guide. You might even end up with a nice crop of tomatoes instead of a bunch of unwanted grapes.

You’re welcome.

Send cryptic crossword clues to penny@medicalrepublic.com.au.

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