Medically reviewed by Andrea Sleeth, WHNP-BC
Close your eyes and think about where you were in March 2020—lockdown was in full swing, headlines were grim, and it was near impossible to find a roll of toilet paper. This set of circumstances led many Americans to make the switch to a product that has been popular in Europe for a long time—the bidet. Companies like Tushy make it easy to install one in your home so you can use less toilet paper, but did you also know that bidets can really benefit your vaginal health? Read on.
What is a bidet?
A bidet is any bowl or receptacle that allows you to wash your anal and genital areas, typically after defecation. While North America tends to rely on toilet paper to do the job, many other cultures consider bidets to be a hygienic necessity. A few jets of water cleanses more effectively than toilet paper, and it’s better for the environment. According to Tushy, their bidets used 1.3 gallons of water a week versus the 55.5 gallons of water that go into making the 1.5 rolls of TP Americans use per week!
Do bidets prevent UTIs?
Research on this topic isn't definitive, but there is some logic that suggests consistent bidet use can reduce UTIs in women. Using bidets consistently and correctly may cleanse fecal matter from the anus and genitals more thoroughly, preventing UTI-causing bacteria, like E. coli, from making its way into the urethra and causing an infection. Bidets don’t have to be limited to cleaning up poop, either! Giving your private areas a quick rinse before sex can also help reduce overall bacteria from being pushed into places it shouldn’t be, and causing uncomfortable symptoms down the road.
Bidet vs. Wipes
You may have already begun to use wipes to clean up instead of plain, old toilet paper. While there’s no doubt that moist wipes are great if you’re in a pinch, many of them contain fragrance or chemicals that can be harsh on sensitive skin. Bidets just use clean water, so you don’t have to worry about sensitivity to ingredients or cleansing agents. Plus, a lot of the wipes that are marketed as “flushable” can actually do a decent amount of damage to plumbing and sewers. Municipal agencies all over the country are spending endless time, money, and energy combating the clogs these wipes can cause!
Can I use a bidet before anal sex?
Those who regularly engage in “butt stuff” as part of sexual life often have an accompanying hygiene routine that may include enemas or anal douching to keep things clean (before they get dirty). Doing this before engaging in anal play can help prevent accidents and reduce the amount of bacteria that may spread to the vagina and urethra. While you can use a bidet to cleanse the area around or just inside your rectum, take care not to go full pressure for more than 30 seconds. While bidet water is perfectly safe, flushing your system with too much tap water can mess with your electrolytes. And, as always, never use a douche or any kind of cleanser inside your vagina! Unlike the anus, the vagina is self-cleaning and introducing cleaners can mess with its delicate balance of pH and healthy bacteria.
Since anal sex can be a contributing factor to the development of UTIs for all genders, it’s extra important to take steps before and after to ensure you’re not hit with that tell-tale pain and urgency the next day. Urinate directly following intercourse and make use of a bidets to wash the anal and genital areas after sex. If you’re especially prone to UTIs, you can even hop in the shower for a quick wash-up with your partner—you may end up in round 2!
Can I use a bidet on my period?
Yep! If you have a heavy flow, you know that sometimes periods can get messy. There’s nothing worse than trying to wipe up dried blood or sticky residue with dry toilet paper. Having a bidet can make clean up easier when you just don’t have time for a shower. Gently rinse blood from your sensitive bits and feel a little fresher throughout the day. Plus, being able to wash up with water can help cut down on that period smell that can make you feel a bit icky. Trapped bacteria, chemicals, and fragrances from period pads and tampons, plus the blood itself, can also sometimes contribute to yeast infections or BV developing around the time of your period. While not backed by research (yet), keeping things consistently clean with a bidet may help reduce your risk of infections.
If you’re interested in seeing how a bidet may improve your health, Tushy has affordable and convenient options that can be installed in almost any bathroom. Eco-friendly, cost-efficient, and hygienic—what more can you ask for?
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