Americans are famously resistant to bidets. Though the rest of the world enjoys cleansing their nether regions with water on a regular basis, for some reason, even the fanciest bathrooms in the U.S. lack these sanitary fixtures. And yet, no matter how hesitant you are to wash your butt, there’s a compelling reason to ditch your toilet paper and embrace the bidet. Doctors say it’s better for your butt’s health, according to Vice’s Tonic.
There are several ways a quick squirt of water is better for your undercarriage than repeated swipes with a handful of toilet paper. (Especially if you buy single-ply. Please, don’t buy single-ply.) That's because wiping can be traumatic for your butt.
The first is hemorrhoids. Gastroenterologist Partha Nandi tells Tonic that TP can be irritating, and if you’re prone to hemorrhoids, you’re not doing yourself any favors by scraping your butt with harsh, dry wads of paper. A gentle stream of water could clean you up more thoroughly, without doing harm to your delicate tush. Some research suggests that using a bidet might also help with butt conditions like anal fissures and itchiness. It can reduce anorectal pressure, which one study suggest may in turn help mitigate some kinds of constipation. Just make sure the water pressure isn’t too intense, which can cause its own set of problems.
For women, bidets may also help prevent uncomfortable urinary tract infections, which are generally caused by bacteria from the vagina making their way up the urethra. Doctors say bidets potentially wash away these bacteria before they can cause infection, reducing your chances of getting a UTI. A 2005 study found that in nursing home settings, bidet use reduced the bacterial content of urine. That said, at least one study in Japan found that warm-water bidets can change the vaginal microflora, leading to bacterial vaginitis, so the results are a bit mixed.
But you don’t have to have a butt-health issue to adopt the bidet life. Perhaps you just enjoy the feeling of having a squeaky-clean rear end, or are plagued with the thought that your toilet paper isn’t getting rid of all the fecal bacteria you’ve got down there. If so, bidet away! Soon, some international airlines may even have them, so you can cleanse off at altitude.
Convinced? Read about our trial run with Tushy, a bidet attachment that you can install on any toilet.