Do you know how to wipe your butt? It’s a surprising question, we know, but doing it the wrong way has health implications. Failure to wipe correctly could leave you vulnerable to a urinary tract infection or aggravate any existing rectal issues, like hemorrhoids or anal fissures.
That’s why we turned to a gynecologist (who actually gets asked about this quite often) and a gastroenterologist to give us the scoop on wiping after you poop. Here are the right and wrong ways to do it, plus some helpful tips and tricks.
Wipe front to back
You’ve probably heard this directive since you were a kid, and it’s really important. “This means wiping in the direction from your urethra to your anus,” Alyssa Dweck, MD, a gynecologist in Westchester County, New York and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V, tells Health. “There’s far more bacteria in the rectal area; that’s why you want to avoid dragging the toilet paper the other direction toward your urethra. Bringing this bacteria up front can contribute to a urinary tract infection.” Wipe front to back whether you’ve urinated or had a bowel movement.