Is Using a Bidet Actually a Good Idea for Your Body?
They surged in popularity during the pandemic. But do they serve any medical purpose?
That’s how friend of mine described it after purchasing a bidet earlier this year. It’s become a common refrain. Bidets surged in popularity during the pandemic, as a response to toilet paper shortages (blame hoarders and the supply chain), and now, after a year of shooting a stream of water into their bums, people can’t imagine going back to the old way.
But while bidets — which require far less toilet paper per “go” — are easier on the environment, and universally agreed to be more hygienic, the question remains: Are they just there to provide a more satisfying experience in the bathroom? Or do they offer any real medical benefits?
The answer to the latter question is actually a light yes. Studies indicate that spraying your privates with “low-to-medium warm water pressure” has a positive impact on anorectal pressure. In other words: it’s a good way to reduce your risk of hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids are common as men get older, but they’re also preventable. One of the biggest triggers to avoid is useless time spent on the toilet. Endless scrolling as your butt stretches across the seat can inflame the veins in your anal canal over time, leading to swelling, itchiness and rectal bleeding. So if you do find yourself spending inordinate amounts of time on the toilet, finishing the session with a spritz from the bidet could help protect the area.
Basically, the idea is to relax the anus and promote blood circulation. To that end, a gentle spray is also more effective than endless wiping, which can be abrasive against the skin. And if you’re getting up there in years, with less mobility to reach all your nooks and crannies, it’s an easier way to get clean without straining your wrist. (That might sound strange, but there’s a reason many arthritis-ridden seniors need help when going to the bathroom.)
On the flip side, bidets can cause issues if you forget to clean them. As with sinks and toilets, infection-causing bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus spp tend to collect around the device. Just remember to regularly spruce up the nozzle.
If you’re still on the fence, know that in the long run, bidets save money for you (Americans spend almost $10 billion on toilet paper each year) and save water for the environment. More water is used making toilet paper than getting shot straight into your butt, believe it or not. Which one should you bring home? We spoke to a butt doctor earlier this year — he recommends this $69 attachment from TUSHY.
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