Editor’s note: The content of this article pertains to bodily functions. Reader/viewer discretion is advised.
ST. GEORGE – A St. George family’s invention was on NBC TV’s health talk show “The Dr. Oz Show” Monday, and Dr. Oz proclaimed, “It works!”
Bill, Judy and Bobby Edwards created the Squatty Potty in their garage in 2010. At the time, Judy was experiencing colon problems, and a medical professional recommended that she raise her knees as high as possible while using the toilet. She tried putting boxes, books, and stools under her feet to help raise her knees but these objects got in the way when they weren’t being used.
“We stubbed our toe on it a couple times at night,” Bill said.
Eventually Bill and Judy Edwards’s son Bobby Edwards decided he would custom-design a stool that would fit around the toilet to help Judy achieve the position her doctors wanted. Bobby Edwards worked on the project in the Edwards’ garage. He went through several prototypes and finally found one that worked well and brought Judy relief.
The Edwards thought they might be onto something, so they made more Squatty Potties for the 2010 holiday season and gave them to friends and family. People loved them, so Bobby Edwards started a website to market and sell the product.
Squatty Potty sold well online – the Edwards have shipped them to every state and to 17 countries. For most of this time they continued making the product in their garage. In fact, they’d just barely moved production into a local warehouse when the “Dr. Oz” show called.
When the “Dr. Oz” show called, Bill Edwards initially thought it was a prank phone call from one of his kids.
“I thought it was a joke,” he said. “I couldn’t believe that Dr. Oz would be calling us!”
Bill Edwards quickly realized the call was real. He shipped a Squatty Potty to the “Dr. Oz” studios so they could film a segment. The show’s staff told him they’d likely run the Squatty Potty segment at the end of May or early June.
The Edwards were surprised when orders and phone calls started pouring in this week – it turned out that the “Dr. Oz” show ran the segment early.
“It really caught us off guard!” Bill Edwards said.
Since the “Dr. Oz” showing, the Edwards’ sales have gone up by “four, five or six times,” Bill said.
“We were a little unprepared – we thought we had a couple of weeks to get prepared, kind of gear up for it, so we’ve been kind of scrambling,” Bill Edwards said.
For nurse practitioner Meg Tolbert, advising medical patients with chronic constipation is all in a day’s work. At Stanford University’s Pelvic Floor Clinic, Tolbert said she has learned the absolute and critical importance of instructing patients about the age-old practice of squatting.
And though the idea of squatting to go potty may seem primal to some, to others it has become a common-sense solution to the frustrations associated with constipation and chronic outlet obstruction.
“Before indoor plumbing and porcelain bathroom fixtures became luxuries of Western civilization, we were all squatters,” said Bill Edwards.
Referring to X-ray defecography, Tolbert said that squatting ensures that the knee-hip angle positions the anorectal angle into an alignment that is the most effective for bowel evacuation. “The alignment of the anorectal angle that is accomplished from obtaining a squatting position permits an effective and necessary bowel evacuation,” she said.
Southern Utah OB-GYN Dr. Craig Astle refers many of his female patients to the Squatty Potty.
“Not only is this stool … convenient, it just makes sense,” Astle said.
During menopause, many women experience issues like tissue weakening, pelvic prolapse, hemorrhoids, chronic constipation and other circumstances that lead to rectal discomfort, the doctor said.
“Any time you bear down with excess pressure, you threaten both internal and external injury,” Astle said. “The Squatty Potty stool is useful in that it helps decrease the vector of pressure for women in these sensitive years.”
The Edwards employ several people in St. George and are planning on expanding their operations. They aren’t planning on leaving the St. George area.
The Edwards are aware that the Squatty Potty can cause some uncomfortable conversations, so they use humor when they can.
“I tell everybody, me and my wife’s been married for 45 years and this last year we’ve had conversations like we’ve never had before in our life,” Bill Edwardssaid.
You can view video of the “Dr. Oz” segment at this link.
Learn more about the Squatty Potty online.
Copyright 2012 St. George News.