I bet if somebody told you you were using toilet paper wrong, you'd look at them like they had two heads. But, the fact is: You may be using toilet paper wrong. No, it doesn't require a PhD to wipe after going to the bathroom, but depending on how you're wiping, and the kind of TP you've stocked up on, you could actually wind up getting injured. No, really.
A recent article on Yahoo! revealed that "micro cuts" from cheap, coarse toilet paper (you know, the kind that they use in your office) aren't nearly as uncommon as you would think. In fact, one doctor who was interviewed for the piece likened generic toilet paper to using "sandpaper on your privates." Ouch!
But, that's not where it ends. Here are five things to keep in mind when heading into the lavatory.
1. Buy the good stuff. Like the Yahoo! article states, using rough toilet paper can inadvertently result in cuts in your nether-regions -- but that's just the tip of the iceberg. If you are unfortunate enough to nick yourself, it could turn into something much worse. "It’s important to use a soft tissue to avoid cuts and bruises that could open the skin and lead to infections," Manhattan OBGYN Daniel Roshan explains. Dr. Roshan urges his patients to splurge on a gentle toilet tissue.
2. Stay away from bleached toilet paper. Most of the toilet paper here in the United States has been bleached to give it that super white, pristine look, but if you chronically experience vaginal discomfort, this kind of toilet paper may be the culprit. After extensive allergy testing, one woman discovered that the "chronic vulvar irritation" she was experiencing was due to a formaldehyde, lanolin, and benzocaine allergy (which, yes, can be found in TP!). She switched to toilet paper that was bleached without chlorine and the symptoms disappeared.
More From The Stir: Moms Revolt: Keep the Tubes in Toilet Paper
3. Think twice before using wipes. Some people like to use some sort of wet wipe instead of, or in addition to, toilet paper in order to feel extra clean. But, doing so may result in severe contact dermatitis -- AKA, a really bad rash down there -- from the preservatives that are present. If you're addicted to your beloved wipes, consider lightly wetting your (unbleached) toilet paper before wiping.
4. Go easy. For people who suffer from irritated private areas, it may feel good to, well, wipe really hard in an effort to find some relief. But, bad idea. Wiping aggressively or too often will only bother the area even more, making symptoms come back even worse. Be gentle when you wipe, and as always, wipe from front to back.
5. Steer clear of anything scented or made with aloe. If your toilet paper is scented, it isn't natural. And for women who are more sensitive, using this kind of paper can result in an irritation, or worse, a yeast infection. "Fragrance can cause skin reactions, sensitivities, and allergies," notes Dr. Roshan. " It's best to stick with something plain and unscented."
Do you buy scented toilet paper?