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A majority of people grow up with the idea that toilet paper is used after going to the bathroom. Toilet paper is a convenient option for cleaning up after a bowel movement.
In recent times, however, the use of a bidet in a toilet has grown quite popular. With the growing interest, some people are not sure whether they should switch to a bidet or not.
This article focuses on comparing the use of a bidet and toilet paper. We take a closer look at the benefits a bidet offers and see what scientific studies say about these small devices, called bidets.
Why Do People Use Bidets?
There are a number of reasons people are turning to bidets. These small devices are generally easy to fit in a toilet and offer a more hygienic way to clean up after a person has a bowel movement.
It is known that a bidet can offer benefits for a number of medical problems. Individuals with dysentery, hemorrhoids, or diarrhea may find that a bidet helps to improve their symptoms. This is because there is no rough texture that will touch the skin when using a bidet. Furthermore, some people switch to a bidet to save money in the long run – compared to the regular buying of toilet paper.
The primary idea behind a switch to a bidet is to eliminate the need to have hand-to-skin contact when cleaning up. There are many bacteria and other diseases that can transfer through fecal matter. (Link)
Microscopic pieces of fecal matter can transfer onto a person’s hands when wiping – causing them to spread these diseases to others.
Comparing A Bidet Versus Toilet Paper
It is important to understand the differences between toilet paper and a bidet when trying to choose between these two options. There are several factors to consider in this comparison – which is why we will look at the pros and cons related to each option.
Toilet paper is generally considered a more traditional option for cleaning up after going to the toilet. It is used after bowel movements in both men and women. Toilet paper is also generally used following urination among women. It is a common option as toilet paper is generally cheap to buy and can be easily replaced. No maintenance is needed and the paper tissue is easy to dispose of.
While toilet paper is a convenient and easy option for cleaning, there are some negative factors to consider:
- Toilet paper generally has a rough surface. Since you clean up with a wiping motion, the roughness of toilet paper can cause problems with your skin. This can even lead to skin tearing(Link) in some cases. Irritated skin may cause swelling in the anus region, which can lead to additional complications.
- If you have hemorrhoids, toilet paper can irritate the inflamed skin. This can cause bleeding and lead to the pain symptoms associated with the hemorrhoids becoming worse.
- Toilet paper may not properly clean the area. If this is the case, then there may be an increased risk of infections.(Link) This is especially the case with women, where toilet paper is used when urinating.
- Toilet paper might be cheap, but the costs count up over the years. If you have two bathrooms in the house, with each using one roll of toilet paper per day, you’ll be spending well over $20 per month. One year later, and you’ve spent $240 just on toilet paper. Some homes use more toilet paper – and this price is for standard options. If you prefer softer toilet paper with a double or triple layer design, the price would be even higher.
In addition to these factors, it is also important to note the environmental impact that toilet paper has. According to one report, about 36.5 billion toilet paper rolls(Link) are used in the United States each year. This requires more than 473 billion gallons of water for the production process. About 253,000 tons of chlorine is used in the process as well, as toilet paper is bleached during the production process. Each roll of toilet paper produced uses an estimated 1.5 pounds of wooden materials.
With this in mind, the production of toilet paper uses a lot of natural resources – including water and wood. It also involves a significant amount of chemicals and uses a lot of electricity.
How Does A Bidet Stack Up To Toilet Paper?
Now that we have taken a closer look at the use of toilet paper, including the pros and cons, let’s move our focus to a bidet. As with toilet paper, there are benefits and drawbacks that we should consider.
A bidet is a small device that is fitted inside the toilet. There are different models available. Modern bidets use electrical components to make the process of adjusting settings more convenient.
A number of manual models are also available. Newer models on the market allow you to adjust the strength of the water jet and even increase the temperature of the water that is expelled through the nozzle.
The nozzle of the bidet is installed at a specific angle that allows it to push water directly onto your skin when activated. The powerful jet ensures the water can effectively cleanse your skin and remove any fecal matter or other particles.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Bidet?
Even though a bidet seems a bit strange for people who have been using toilet paper their entire life, there are many benefits that you can gain from installing one of these devices. Below, we outline some of the most important benefits associated with a bidet.
- A wide variety of models are available on the market. This allows people to find an option that fits into their budget. Models are available for any type of toilet, ensuring you can find a good fit for the toilet in your bathroom.
- Bidets offer a “green” alternative to toilet paper. No trees are used in the development of a bidet. Water is also not used during the production process. While a bidet does use water once installed, this is generally considered less significant compared to the amount used when toilet paper is produced.
- There is no need for physical contact with your anus or genitals when using a bidet. When using toilet paper, this is a common concern. Microscopic fecal particles can transfer to the hands while wiping. This can lead to the spreading of diseases and affect your overall hygiene. These particles can transfer to the food you eat or serve to other people.
- Some bidets come with built-in heaters. This allows you to adjust the water temperature. Warm water can help to loosen any fecal matter that may be stuck to your skin. This helps to provide a more thorough cleanse compared to the use of toilet paper. The heated water also helps to remove more harmful micro-organisms from your skin.
- There are bidets with air dryers as well. This helps to dry your skin after the bidet has pushed a jet of water for cleansing. When a dryer is built into a bidet, it significantly enhances hygiene and helps to prevent problems like infections that occur when you do not dry yourself off properly.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Using A Bidet?
While it’s good to consider the benefits that a bidet may have, particularly in comparison to toilet paper, we should not overlook the drawbacks. There are a few negative factors that people have associated with the use of a bidet. We explore these potential drawbacks below.
- The initial cost of getting a bidet installed can be high. While the bidet saves you money in the long run, some people are unable to make the initial investment. In addition to paying for the bidet, you might also need someone to install the device. This depends on the model used, of course, as some have a very simple installation.
- You may need to replace the batteries in an electric bidet frequently. If the batteries run empty, then the bidet will fail to function until a new pair is installed. This can be inconvenient if the batteries are dead at a time where you cannot get your hands on a new pair.
- It takes time to get used to the effects of a bidet. Many people have become used to toilet paper. Switching to a bidet may feel “weird” at first. Some people have difficulty getting used to the feeling of a bidet.
- Due to the large variety of models, it can sometimes be hard to find one that is suitable for you. There are a lot of bidets on the market that are made from poor quality materials. These may break quickly, have a misaligned nozzle, or cause other concerns.
- Bidets with built-in dryers cost a lot more compared to standard options. Without a dryer, your anal or genital areas remain wet after using the toilet. This can be a health concern, as the wet environments may promote the growth of bacteria. In fact, there is some evidence that a person using a bidet may be at a higher risk of developing bacterial infections in the genitals. This mostly accounts for women but is a risk that needs to be considered.
- Not all bidets come with a temperature controller. If there is no heater in the bidet, it means you may find the device pushing cold water against your skin. This can be unpleasant, especially during the winter months. It would also not clean as effectively as a device that heats up water before spraying.
How Much Will A Bidet Cost You?
We’ve talked about the cost of toilet paper before. Over time, you are eventually spending thousands of dollars to ensure there is always a roll of toilet paper available in the bathroom. We did also mention that a bidet requires a larger upfront investment – but would save you money in the long run.
With this in mind, you might be wondering how much of an investment it will be. Prices for bidets differ between different models. When installing a bidet, you have to buy the device, additional supplies, and you might need to pay for the installation as well. The bidet itself usually costs between $250 and $700. Together with the additional expenses, the cost can run up to $1000.
Have Studies Been Done On The Use Of A Bidet?
Several studies have been done to determine the benefits that a bidet may offer. Some of these studies compare the use of a bidet to toilet paper. Other studies rather focus on finding more data on how a bidet affects certain conditions and how it relates to toilet hygiene.
In this section, we will be taking a closer look at some of the studies that have been conducted on this topic.
A Study On Bidet And Urogenital Infections
Researchers at Keio University and Toho University in Japan studied individuals who have been using a bidet for a certain period of time. (Link) The goal of the study was to provide data on the effect that a bidet may have on urogenital infections. Additionally, the researchers also considered the incidence of hemorrhoids among the study participants.
A survey was used to collect data for this study. The study collected data for a one-year period between 2013 and 2014. A research company was used to select study participants. The survey had 7637 responses. Researchers used logistic regression models to analyze the results that were provided through the survey.
Researchers found that a bidet does have a positive effect on the prevalence and odds ratios of several urogenital infections. In particular, the incidence of vulvar pruritus (Link) and urological infections was noted to be lower among people who regularly used a bidet. This data was compared to the individuals who preferred the use of toilet paper. Hemorrhoids were also less likely to occur among the groups who used a bidet.
The study did find one negative effect, however. The survey results suggested that there may be an increased risk of bacterial vaginitis among bidet users. With this in mind, individuals who frequently experience bacterial vaginitis are advised to be cautious when using a bidet.
A Study On A Bidets Impact On Anorectal Pressure
An electronic bidet system was used in the study. The researchers also focused on determining what the most appropriate temperature is in a bidet, as well as the water force that would provide the most benefits.
Two temperatures were used in the study, 24 degrees Celsius and 38 degrees Celsius. Researchers also used two different jet widths. This consisted of a wide and a narrow option. Four force levels were used in the study, ranging from 40mN to 200mN.
The study found that a bidet is an effective option for reducing anorectal pressure. The preferred temperature in the study was 38 degrees Celsius. A 40mN pressure level provided sufficient results to assist in reducing anorectal pressure.
Which One Is Better? (Toilet Paper Or Bidet)
Now that we have considered several factors about both toilet paper and a bidet, a question remains – which one is the better option for you.
Studies have shown that there are several benefits that can be obtained from using a bidet. At the same time, some concerns have been noted too. With this in mind, it is important to weigh both the pros and cons. This would help you determine whether investing in a bidet might be the right move forward for yourself.
If you want to prioritize hygiene in your bathroom and reduce the need to come into contact with your skin after using the toilet, a bidet may definitely be worth the investment.
The same applies to homes with elderly individuals or people who have disabilities. In these situations, the individual may have difficulties wiping themselves when toilet paper is used.
If you experience a consistent recurrence of bacterial vaginitis, however, then a bidet might not be the ideal addition to your bathroom. Studies have shown that there are cases where a bidet contributes to the occurrence of this condition. In women with existing bacterial vaginitis, a bidet could potentially cause symptoms to become worse.
If you do prefer the use of a bidet even with such a problem, then you should consider wiping after using the bidet. This helps to dry your skin and may prevent infectious diseases from developing.
A bidet and toilet paper are common options for cleaning after using the toilet. Some studies suggest that a bidet is the more hygienic option and may yield additional health benefits. Apart from comparing the two, a bidet can also be used alongside toilet paper.
Personal preference also plays a role in whether a person wants to continue using toilet paper, or rather switch to the use of a bidet.