New warning on phones causing haemorrhoids


Post quickly and get off the potty - that's the message for social media addicts who are developing a painful condition from spending too long on the toilet with their phones.

Gastroenterologist Professor Chris Dr Berney revealed he recently had to surgically remove a giant haemorrhoid from a 23-year-old woman, and treated another 15 young people in the past 18 months for whom he can find no explanation for their condition - aside from their lengthy bathroom scrolling time.

"I started to ask how long they spend in the toilet, and suddenly I realise that some of these people will spend 20 minutes, 25 minutes, half an hour on average," Prof Berney told News Corp Australia.

"I asked why they were spending so long and I realised that some people were actually taking their smartphone in the toilet, because they want to be connected, and they will spend 20 minutes plus, with the mobile phone while doing number two," he said.


Gastroenterologist Professor Chris Dr Berney. Picture: Supplied
Gastroenterologist Professor Chris Dr Berney. Picture: Supplied

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Fellow said sphincter control declines and blood clots develop when people spend too long on the toilet.

This can lead to haemorrhoidal disease similar to excessive straining from chronic constipation or prolapse caused when women give birth.

Last year he operated on the 23-year-old patient who would spend up to 25 minutes on her phone when going to the toilet.

She required an emergency haemorrhoid thrombectomy and was subsequently referred to a pelvic floor dysfunction physiologist to undertake pelvic floor exercises, he said.

"I was shocked to discover using my phone could be the reason I ended up with so much pain," the young woman who did not wish to be named said.

"I never knew something like that could happen."


Now fully recovered, she no longer takes her phone into the bathroom and has urged her friends to do the same.

Professor Berney has reported his observations in a letter published in the medical journal Australia New Zealand Surgery.

The paper notes there was growing evidence that smartphone use could become an addiction for some people.

"A recent American online study found that nearly 90% of people surveyed used their smartphone while on the toilet," the paper said.

"This is significant, but even more terrifying was the staggering 96 per cent of participants younger than 23 years (Generation Z, born during 1995-2005) who said they would not go to the bathroom without their phone," the paper said.

A yet to be published study in Turkey backs up Professor Berney's findings on the relationship between haemorrhoid disease and the use of smartphones in the lavatory, he said.

Lauren Bath says taking the phone to the toilet is a “disgusting habit”. Picture: @laurenbath
Lauren Bath says taking the phone to the toilet is a “disgusting habit”. Picture: @laurenbath

One of Australia's biggest social media influencers Lauren Bath admits she has taken her phone to the toilet.

"It is a disgusting habit. It's something that I don't do very often and I'm not proud of," she told News Corp.

"I can still remember a friend of mine once posted a picture that was take-down of her underwear around her ankles and the caption was something along the lines of 'Don't lie You all know that, you know, we all do this'," she said.

"At the time it was so outrageous because we all did it but also none of us wanted to admit it," she said.

After learning using the phone on the toilet could cause haemorrhoids the new mother said "I believe that I've done my last instagramming on the toilet ever".

When Instagram began Ms Bath was a chef and became such an addict she once got busted at work by her boss checking her account in the restaurant cool room during dinner service.

She used to spend eight hours a day on her devices but after noticing she was becoming anxious she has halved her habit to four hours per day.




Originally published as New warning on phones causing haemorrhoids