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Toilet Paper Doesn’t Actually Clean Your Ass, But It Can Give You a Wicked Case of Hemorrhoids

The good, the bad and the ugly things we learned about our bodies today

If you’re anything like me, you probably think you’ve got the whole pooping thing down pat: You know when you gotta go; you know that when your legs fall asleep, that means it’s time to wrap it up. And you know exactly how many plies of toilet paper — and how many wipes — it takes to clean your dirty ass. Maybe you mix in a “wad” instead of a “fold,” but it’s more or less the same routine, day in, day out.

Talk to a gastroenterologist or a proctologist, however, and you’re more than likely to hear that they’ve got a different routine than you do — mainly, that they’re post-toilet paper. That’s because, as Vice’s health and wellness site Tonic points out, toilet paper doesn’t really clean your ass, and it can lead to a host of other butt-related maladies. Toilet paper, it seems, has outlived its usefulness. All hail the bidet!

In case you’re unaware, bidets are bathroom fixtures similar to toilets that are basically designed to hose down your privates. Alternatively, there are versions on Amazon that install directly on the toilet itself, and cost a little more than $20. People in Europe and Asia have been using them for years.

Which raises the question: Why haven’t Americans?

“It’s associated with frivolity, weakness, immorality, femininity so therefore denigrated,” says Harvey Molotoch, a New York University professor and author of Toilets: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing. Yep, that sounds about right.

But let’s face it, Americans should really get over it. Toilet paper is just straight-up bad for your butt. Ever get a rash down there ’cause you didn’t clean up well enough? Even worse, ever get an absolutely devastating-sounding anal fissure? And for the ladies, ever get a UTI? You wouldn’t clean dog shit off your shoe with a dry paper towel (if you cared about getting it all, at least), which is essentially what we try and do every time we #2.

At the very least, mix in a wet wipe or two.

A few other things we learned about our bodies today: