The benefits of bidet use have been debated for a long time. While the benefits of bidet attachments are more clear. In this guide, Dr. Alexander will explain both in great detail.
What Is A Bidet?
A bidet is a basin equipped with faucets and a water jet for cleaning yourself after using the toilet.
After some initial debate, it was found that the first bidet was developed in France during the 1700s.
Since then, the bidet has evolved into both free-standing and toilet-attached versions.
They are accepted as a standard bathroom fixture in many countries outside of the United States. As always, it is best to also install toilet safety rails.
A bidet looks like a combination of a sink and a toilet, so you may wonder how to use it.
Fortunately, bidet.org has step by step instructions on how to properly use a bidet. It’s actually very simple:
- Sit over the basin with your knees toward the faucets
- Turn on the water and adjust the temperature
- Position yourself over the water jet to get clean
- Dry off with a towel or toilet paper (source)
Alternatively, there are toilet bidet attachments meant to simulate the function of a bidet.
These vary from a sprayer with a hose to a toilet seat attachment. More on these later…
De-Mystifying The Bidet
While traveling abroad, you may have noticed an extra fixture in your hotel bathroom.
Maybe you saw a bidet installed into a luxury bathroom on a home improvement show.
This caused you to wonder, “why would anyone need a bidet?” Well, continue reading to find out why, and whether or not a bidet is right for you.
Why Should You Use A Bidet?
Environmentalists insist that using a bidet reduces toilet paper waste.
Even if a small amount of toilet paper is used for drying, less of it is used over all.
Essentially, most of the cleaning is done with water instead of with toilet paper.
A nation of Toilet Paper Users
It may not come as a surprise that the United States is the #1 consumer of toilet paper products in the world.
And, not only do Americans use a lot of it, they prefer the “soft” version:
Soft toilet tissue is the most detrimental to the environment because of the type of trees needed to produce it.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, most American toilet paper is produced from wood pulp of trees from the Boreal Forest in Canada.
Because of high demand, resources from this indigenous land are being rapidly depleted:
If more Americans considered using a bidet, it would significantly reduce the environmental impact of toilet paper.
Benefits Of Bidet Use
Medical Experts & Bidets
With such worldwide popularity, one would expect there to be a wealth of medical opinions on the use of bidets.
Surprisingly, there is limited clinical research data.
One research study supports the use of bidets for managing anogenital problems.
In this case, it was used as an alternative to sitz baths following surgical procedures: Healing was improved.
Also, for issues such as hemorrhoids and abscesses, better hygiene was achieved by using a bidet.
Another American study showed that better hygiene was possible when caring for the elderly and for adults with disabilities.
Researchers found that patients had less constipation and fewer urinary tract infections because of using a bidet.
They also felt that both the patients and caregivers experienced a better quality of life(source):
This finding was supported by a study conducted in Australia among nursing home residents, many of whom suffer from dementia.
The Self Care Advantage
In this case, an electric toilet seat attachment bidet was used. The investigators found that bidets helped the residents have more independence with self-care.
Facilitated the job of caregivers, and reduced the unpleasant side effects of incontinence:
It is hoped that increased acceptance of bidets in the U.S. will prompt further research on the health benefits.
A few cautionary words:
- If you are pregnant, you may want to discuss whether or not is is safe to use a bidet with your doctor. A study conducted by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that normal vaginal colonization can be disrupted and result in preterm labor(source)
- A few studies from Asia found an increased incidence of anal problems when
using electric toilet-attachment bidets. You should consult your doctor prior to using this bidet type if you are prone to such problems(source):
Keeping Your Bidet Clean
Now that you have decided to purchase and use a bidet, how do you clean it?
Like your toilet, your bidet must be cleaned regularly.
If your model comes with a self-cleaning function, this will be all you need for the jets or nozzles.
If not, the following method should be used to clean your bidet:
- Use a mild detergent or vinegar
- Wipe down the bowl at least weekly
- Use a toothbrush to clean the jets or nozzle at least once a month (source)
To Bidet Or Not To Bidet…
It is unclear as to why much of the world’s population embraces the concept of a bidet and Americans do not.
Perhaps, it is a matter of habit. Perhaps it is a lack of knowledge.
Whatever the reason, there are clear environmental and personal hygiene benefits that warrant the consideration of a bidet for your home.