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When You Wipe Your Butt, How ‘Deep’ Should You Go?

Should you clean the inside and outside of your anus the same way you do the mouth of your water bottle?

If someone mentioned to you that their oral hygiene consisted only of wiping the food from the surface of their mouth with a napkin, there’s a good chance you’d be grossed out. After all, in order to achieve proper oral hygiene, one must rigorously scrub the inside of the mouth as well. Why, then, do we so easily assume the same for the mouth’s orificial cousin, the asshole?

That is to say, why should we stop at cleaning the butthole’s surface? Shouldn’t we push a toilet paper wad inside a bit to similarly clean our butt’s gums, if you will? I mean, one could certainly argue that consuming a fiber-rich diet would prevent the need for such situations, but we’re not all one-wipe wonders, and the urge to be as clean as possible down there is only natural (for most). 

How deep are you supposed to wipe your ass? from NoStupidQuestions

According to Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, however, there’s no need to clean your butthole as you would your water bottle. “You should always try and wipe just the exterior of the anus,” he explains. Because the anus is very sensitive, excessive pressure and scrubbing “can cause small fissures that will cause bleeding, and in the long run, could lead to developing hemorrhoids.” 

Now, if you do venture past the surface level, there’s a good chance it won’t be clean up there. It’s taken six million years for the nerve endings in our colons to evolve to a point where it accurately determines what it holds onto and what it lets pass. So as much as your brain/eyes might argue otherwise, trust your butt to take care of itself

“Leave it be,” Djordjevic advises. “If there is stool still stuck that deep inside, it should pass on its own during the next bowel movement.” If it’s too late, though, don’t fret. “So long as you avoid going deeper than a few inches, it’s unlikely that you will wipe deep enough to cause any serious harm to yourself,” Djordjevic continues.

In the future, limit the urge to explore by “wetting the paper with warm water for the final wipe to ensure no stool is left around the anus.” Even better, Djordjevic says, “a bidet is more hygienic and allows you to completely eliminate residual stool with minimal toilet paper involved.” 

And so, if you’re gonna be anal about anything in the realm of wiping, focus your attention on the amount of water you’re introducing to your butthole, not the depths you’re reaching with toilet paper. 

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