By Emily Joshu Health Reporter for Dailymail.Com
8:54 p.m. on November 21, 2023, updated at 9:12 p.m. on November 21, 2023
- Experts revealed that improper wiping can lead to pain and infections.
- Some scientists say we should ditch toilet paper altogether
- READ MORE: Wiping Your Butt: What You’re Doing Right and Wrong
It has long been debated whether toilet paper should be folded, padded, antibacterial, and used for wiping or patting.
And now some experts say it’s better not to use it at all.
Replacing paper with a bidet – in which the genitals and anus are washed with water rather than wiped – can significantly reduce the risk of unpleasant infections, according to Japanese scientists.
Published in the Journal of Water & Health 2022, the study found that those who used a bidet had 10 times fewer harmful bacteria on their hands than toilet paper users.
This, they say, leaves Americans vulnerable to the potentially deadly C. difficile virus — a germ that causes diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease.
Statistics show that approximately 500,000 Americans are infected with C. difficile each year, with two-thirds of these cases linked to nursing homes.
It kills between 15,000 and 30,000 people each year in the United States.
According to Dr. Evan Goldstein, a rectal surgeon in New York, believes that using a bidet is far superior to paper for controlling infections.
“Charmin and all these brands have done a great job of making us believe that toilet paper is hygienic. This is not the case,” the doctor told Insider.
But other experts say it’s not the toilet paper itself that’s the problem, but the way most people use it.
The wrong type of toilet paper and improper wiping could lead to irritation, hemorrhoids, and even life-threatening infections.
First, single-ply toilet paper is rougher on the skin than more expensive varieties and can cause open sores, increasing the risk of infection.
Dr. Trisha Pasricha, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, wrote for the Washington Post that single-ply toilet paper is very thin, so you’re more likely to use more to get the job done.
Repeated rubbing with this rough paper can lead to an uncomfortable itching called pruritus ani, she said.
Bleached toilet paper can also cause discomfort.
One Canadian case study involved a woman who suffered from irritation of her vulva – the outer part of the female genitalia – for four years, making it difficult for her to walk. When she traveled to Europe and used unbleached toilet paper, her symptoms improved.
Experts recommend strong, absorbent and soft toilet paper.
How you wipe can also impact your genital health.
Dr. Pasricha suggests dabbing paper around the back passage rather than wiping.
Wiping can be rough on the skin and delicate tissues just below the surface, leading to hemorrhoids, swelling of the veins in the rectum, and sometimes bleeding.
Doctors from Harvard Medical School said: “Although the anal area should be cleaned after each bowel movement, this cleaning should be gentle. Harsh rubbing and scrubbing, especially with soaps or other skin cleansers, can irritate the skin and trigger anal itching.
Wiping back and forth is also essential, especially for women.
Pelvic Floor Expert Recommends Trick to Stop Excessive Butt Wiping
An Australian physiotherapist has explained her tip to help you reduce the risk of excessively wiping your bum, simply by reducing the number of sheets of paper you need.
This is because fecal bacteria could otherwise enter the urethra, the tube through which urine exits the body, causing a urinary tract infection.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) considers wiping in the right direction to be one of the best ways for women to avoid a UTI: “Any wiping motion that begins closer to the rectum and then approaches from the bladder opening area will displace potentially harmful bacteria.” closer to the bladder and urinary tract.
UTIs are of particular concern in women because their urethra is shorter than men’s, making it easier for bacteria to enter the bladder.
Nearly one in three women will have had at least one UTI requiring prescribed antibiotics before the age of 24, and almost half of all women will experience a UTI in their lifetime.
Men are also susceptible to urinary tract infections, but not often, according to doctors at Florida Urology Center.
Another important tip is to close the lid before flushing the toilet.
One study found that not closing the lid first spread 12 times more C. difficile bacteria than when the lid was down.