Have you ever been told you have carpal tunnel syndrome or a rotator cuff tear? When you question the diagnosis, citing no history of trauma, you’re told “it can stem from repeated, recurrent use of a joint.” So what do we do repeatedly each day? Well we eat, sleep and potty. Unbeknownst however to the pottier, is there is a method by which we can avoid many injuries including the aforementioned. So let’s dive in.
Some of the following orthopedic injuries that could be sustained from poor potty habits include:
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – numbness and tingling that arise from an “entrapment” of the median nerve between the wrist and carpal bones.
De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis – inflammation of the tendons in the wrist and lower thumb
Trigger Finger – a locking or snapping of a finger, preventing smooth movement caused by inflammation and scar tissue surrounding the tendons
Rotator Cuff Tear – injury, inflammation or tear of the muscle or tendons surrounding the shoulder
If a “clean break” occurs, minimal wiping is needed. However, if stool is mushy, or if one is constipated or has diarrhea and soils themselves more with stool passage, multiple wiping attempts are needed. Hence repetitive use of one’s upper extremity and its joints can put one at risk for any of the above ailments.
So firstly one might consider a bidet. It requires very little joint movement and the spray of water seems to do the majority of the the work, unless you need to use your hands to help.
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.
However what would be ideal is some wet toilet paper. Not chemical laden wet wipes but wet toilet paper to help lessen the number of passes necessary to clean one’s tushee.
When one says “the knee bone is connected the thigh bone” well they’re not too far off. As you see the tushee can be very much connected to upper extremity joint health.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician