Doctor on viral TikTok confusion about wiping front-to-back

Sitting On the Toilet Too Long

Spending some extra stall-time scrolling through your Instagram feed is one thing. But if you're actually straining, you could be putting yourself at risk for hemorrhoids — painful, swollen veins in your anus that can bleed, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

"If you're having a hard time having a bowel movement, get up, walk around, and come back," says Anish Sheth, M.D., a gastroenterologist and author of What's Your Poo Telling You?. "Walking around can stimulate the intestines to move things downstream and also help you relax so you don't have to force things out." If you regularly strain when going to the bathroom, take a closer look at your diet. Make sure you're getting enough fiber, about 25 to 30 grams per day, as well as ample water.

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Should Men Wipe After Peeing, Too?

The thought never crossed my mind until I stumbled on a Reddit thread about it while researching for this post. As crazy as it sounds, some men wipe after peeing!

Chris was just as surprised as me. He’d never even considered it. He doubts most men have. Urinals don’t have toilet paper beside them for a reason.

Some women in the forums were equally surprised men don’t wipe. And they’re right to wonder. There is no doubt men’s members would be a wee bit cleaner if they wiped.

Chris isn’t convinced it’s worth the effort for a drop or two, but if women are willing to try a new way of wiping, he said he will too.

Overwiping

When it comes to cleaning up down under, the conversation tends to focus on whether or not you should wipe front to back. And while knowing how women should wipe is important, knowing how much women should wipe is key, too. Next time you wipe, remember less is more — and not just because it keeps you from replacing the toilet paper roll every other day. "Overwiping can irritate the perianal skin and lead to small abrasions that trigger inflammation and itching," says Dr. Sheth, who adds that one or two wipes are all it takes.

If you need to wipe more than that, you may not have completely emptied your system or you could be constipated (in which case, up your fiber and water intake as you would to prevent hemorrhoids). If you still require more than a few wipes, consider switching to wet toilet paper or unscented baby wipes. "Moist wipes decrease the friction of wiping and cause less irritation," explains Dr. Sheth. (And they can also help you avoid an itchy butt.)

Can females get e coli from wiping back to front?

Improper Wiping For women, wiping from back to front after a bowel movement can drag E. coli directly into the urethra. Because of this, it’s always recommended to wipe from front to back.

Alternatives to wiping

So if there’s no reason to use moist chemical wipes, is there anything better than the traditional two-ply? If you guessed bidets, you’d be right, and you’ve probably used one before. But Chris Lowry, M.D., a physician and the director of MedRevise.co.uk, points out something interesting about long-term usage that I’ve never heard before.

Japanese toilets often contain a water jet and blow dryer that cleans the anus for you. Apparently, some Japanese doctors are now claiming to be seeing cases of “Washlet Syndrome” where cleaning that is too effective leads to problems such as weak sphincter muscles, dry skin and anal sores.

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If you’re a DIY-er, you might be wondering what other things you can wipe with. Lowry recalls stories of a man who experimented on himself with such items as dried corncob, rocks, newspaper, leaves, and vinegar on a sponge. Ultimately, he found that while many of these methods do work in an emergency situation, that modern toilet paper is definitely your best bet.

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“After you pee, take your toilet paper, from the front of your body, put it near your urethra, and press gently upward as your stroke from the front to the back. Only do this once per piece of toilet paper,” Dr. Jeffcoat explained

Heather Jeffcoat “There are definitely many ways you can get complicated with wiping from front to back after you pee, but there is no fancy choreography needed. Just reach from the front and push back,” she added.

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