Posted in Health, news

Is Toilet Paper BAD For Your Tush?

Image above from Daily Tech

Millions of people suffer from rectal itch, hemorrhoids, and anal fissures, and one author believes its due to our use of toilet paper.


Image above from Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology

Anal fissures are tears in the lining of the rectum.  Hemorrhoids are collapsed rectal veins that cause bleeding, pain and itching.

In an interview with Tonic, Rose George, author of The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters, claims that toilet paper merely moves feces around but doesn’t actually clean it off the anus.

She states, “We wash every part of our body except the dirtiest part” and suggests we don’t use dry paper to clean ourselves.

In Europe, bidets are popular shooting water up the back side to clean off fecal matter.

Celebrities such as and Terrance Howard have admitted to preferring the use of baby wipes after pooping.

So what do doctors recommend?

In the same article, gastroenterologist Partha Nandi suggests bidets prevent hemorrhoids in those who are prone to them.

Here’s what I think….

Quit being in a hurry when you wipe

We’re in such a hurry these days that after we’ve exhaustively waited to drop a deuce, we race to get out of the bathroom.  As a result we wipe too quickly and rough.  Slow it down.  A little surface area at a time is less irritating than trying to wipe up the whole field in one swoop.


Bidets aren’t what they’re cracked up to be

On one hand, bidets are a less aggravating means to clean an anus.  Warm water can rinse off sediment that paper cannot. And those with anal fissures or hemorrhoids will be less inflamed, since they didn’t have to rub dry paper along the cuts/swelling.

However, a 2010 study found bidets to aggravate vaginal microflora, or natural occurring bacteria.  Oquino et al writes, “Habitual use of bidet toilets aggravates vaginal microflora, either by depriving normal microflora or facilitating opportunistic infection of fecal bacteria and other microorganisms.”

Another issue with bidets is many require you to use your hands while cleaning your butt.  This potentially allows fecal matter to be transmitted elsewhere as it gets on your hands. Toilet paper offers a barrier to this.




Toilet paper shouldn’t cause hemorrhoids

True, wiping with dry paper could be caustic to the area, however, after one goes “number 2”, mucous is present as it lubricated the passage of the poop.  This mucous allows enough moisture for the toilet paper to glide and pick up sediment.

Constipation, pregnancy, obesity, prolonged straining, anal sex and medical condtions such as low thyroid may cause hemorrhoids….not flowery, embossed toilet paper.


Toilet paper is disposable and sanitary

If unused and not reused, fresh toilet paper is clean enough to not cause infections and doesn’t require diligent cleaning as does a bidet.


Wet wipes are laden with chemicals that CAN irritate the skin

These chemicals may include ethylhexylglycerin, phenoxyethanol, benzyl chloride and benzyl alcohol.   Just saying these outloud is enough to cause an anal fissure.


My suggestion – use toilet paper dampened with clean warm water….and wipe GENTLY

Assuming you don’t have bleeding fissures or hemorrhoids, a damp wad of toilet paper, used very gently, should offer a safe method to clean the anus.  Plus if you throw it up on the ceiling it will stick and eventually fall on the next person who uses the bathroom….always an entertaining plus.


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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician


Nationally Syndicated Radio Host, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Author

2 thoughts on “Is Toilet Paper BAD For Your Tush?

  1. I also think one of the greatest points missed in this poop talk is, if you can’t wipe in one sweeping pass, are you eating enough fiber? Are you drinking enough water? I congratulate you for the insightful article though, starting the conversation about poop/bottom health is overdue.

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