Have you ever seen a bidet in a fancy hotel or while traveling? Many Americans are puzzled by these bathroom fixtures. They have no idea what they are for or how to use them. Traditionally, there were toilets and free standing bidets. You do not pee in a bidet! And the bidet is not a fountain for drinking. One reader reports that her frequent urinary tract infections disappeared after acquiring a bidet!
Q. I bought a bidet after a trip to Europe. I used to have frequent urinary tract infections, but I haven’t had one since I started using my bidet! I love it. When I move, it will go with me.
A. We have heard from a number of readers who share your enthusiasm for a bidet toilet seat that squirts warm water on the bottom for hygiene. We couldn’t find research demonstrating that such use reduces urinary tract infections (UTIs). Some people have actually worried that squirting water on your bottom might increase the risk for UTIs.
One three-year follow-up web survey in Japan reported that bidet users were no more likely to develop UTIs than nonusers (Epidemiology and Infection, April, 2018).
We are actually surprised that there has been so little research into the medical benefits or risks of bidets. It seems as if this is not something reputable researchers want to tackle. That’s unfortunate. Millions of people would like to know whether such devices have any impact on the likelihood of developing a urinary tract infection. We hope this article might stimulate some interest in carrying out such a study.
Unusual Uses for Bidets:
A cute article in the BBC News Magazine (July 15, 2014) was titled:
Here is one of the more amusing stories:
“As a child my family and I would always go on a caravan holiday to the south of France once a year. One particular time, while driving through France, my family stopped at a very small hotel overnight. This hotel had a bidet and when I asked my father naively what the toilet looking sink thing was for he explained it was “for washing your family jewels.”
Flash forward 10 or so years to a teenage me explaining to someone at a party that “in France they have a special sink just for washing your jewelry.” My family has yet to let me live it down. Erin B., Willimanti, USA”
The Japanese Have Perfected Toilets:
The Japanese have developed the all-in-one toilet/bidet combination. Here is a YouTube link to watch people reacting to this experience for the first time. According to people who know a lot more about this than we do, most Japanese homes have electronic toilets that do double duty…so to speak.
A Bidet for Hemorrhoids?
This reader responds to our missing the Bidet Boat:
Q. I read your answer to a reader complaining about hemorrhoids. You listed lots of suggestions, but you left out one of the most important solutions for pain and itching: a bidet!
I have found long term relief with a bidet toilet. No toilet paper aggravating the sensitive tissues and no residue to cause itch. The bidet seat has an air dryer. It won’t cure hemorrhoids, but it certainly helps relieve symptoms.
A. We have not been able to locate any scientific studies demonstrating that bidet use helps relieve hemorrhoids or anal itching (pruritus ani). That said, many of our readers are enthusiastic about the bidet.
They join people in France, Italy, Japan and other countries who consider this bathroom fixture a more sanitary approach to cleansing than using toilet paper. Here is just one of the many other stories we have received from readers of this column:
“I too have pruritus ani. I am in my 30s and have had it for several years along with chronic constipation.
“I’ve tried every cream and natural remedy under the sun. Toilet paper makes it worse, as even the softest types are scratchy.
“Last year, I went on vacation and used the bidet that was in the hotel bathroom. I was amazed at the relief I got. The skin around my bum was able to heal. I purchased a travel-sized hand bidet and use it daily at home and work. There are also bidet attachments for toilets.
“For my constipation, I try to drink lots of water, sprinkle ground chia seeds in my food and sometimes use milk of magnesia to soften the stool. All this helps, but it is inconsistent.”
Share Your Own Bidet Experience:
Have you ever used a bidet? Do you have one at home? Would you consider investing in one of the fancy Japanese “smart” Toto toilets that have heated seats, adjustable water temperature and pressure for posterior cleanliness? Some bidet toilets even come with warm air to dry your behind after rinsing.
We would love to get your perspective in the comment section below. And if you would like to learn more about our home remedies for hemorrhoids, here is a link. Sorry, we did not include the bidet option, but there are dozens of other suggestions, some of which you may find amusing, if not helpful.
“Home Remedies for Hemorrhoids
There are many home remedies for hemorrhoids from banana peel and blackstrap molasses to rutabaga and witch hazel. We also share the pros and cons of Vicks!”