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Anal care: The mistakes you need to stop making with your butt

Anal care: The mistakes you need to stop making with your butt

Warning: Poop talk ahead

Text: Redzhanna Jazmin

Image: Monika Kozub/Unsplash

Today in taboo topics, we're diving right into our Body month headstrong and talking all about anal care (and answering all the questions you're too afraid to ask)

It's no secret—no one enjoys discussing their bowel movements and anal care routines in any detail. At best, the conversations that may unfurl are mildly uncomfortable, and at worst, they're straight-up gross. That said, anal care is often overlooked and it really shouldn't be. 

READ: Irritable Bowel Syndrome: What is it and do I have it?

Ahead, we're covering all things butt care—from the stinky to the mechanical:

Do: Use a bidet

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If there is one thing that you take from this article, let this be it. Simply wiping your butt with toilet paper post-poo does not adequately clean your nethers. Think about all of those times you've been left desperately wiping your behind because you can't seem to get rid of the—ahemexcess. When you wash the area with water, you can ensure that any poop in each crevice and wrinkle around your bumhole has been thoroughly rinsed away.

Now, bidets are pretty common in lovely Malaysia, so we recommend that you take full advantage of them. If, however, you do not have access to a bidet, another option would be to invest in a little pail that you can fill with water and use to rinse the area instead. Alternatively, take a shower after every poo (this isn't one for the IBS sufferers, unfortunately)—it may be a hassle to time your bowel movements accordingly, but it's an undeniably foolproof contingency plan.

Do: Dry your bum thoroughly

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Fun fact: Using a bidet doesn't mean that you can skip toilet paper entirely—where there is moisture, fungus follows. Well, fungus and an array of other nasty conditions like bacterial infections, rashes, and micro-tears. Following a rinse (whether it comes from the bidet or the shower), it's always a good idea to pat your bum dry.

Do: Wipe thoroughly

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Image: Unsplash

If you insist on wiping, at least do it correctly. When wiping, be certain to avoid these three cardinal don'ts:

Don't #1: Wipe back to front

Do you particularly enjoy having UTIs? No? Then stop wiping back to front. There is literally no easier way to introduce poop into your unsuspecting urethra than to wipe from bum to vagina. Enough said—vagina to bum is the way to go!

If you have a penis, the same principles apply.

Don't #2: Wipe too much or too hard

As we mentioned in our bid for the bidet, wiping is just an inferior poop-cleaning method. On top of being wasteful (think about how much toilet paper you go through in a year), it's also just the least efficient (and most irritating) way to clean yourself. When wiping, make sure that you're being as gentle as you can—the skin on your anus is thin and easily irritated. Wiping too hard can cause an anal injury, leading to infection and irritation—two things you do not want to deal with on your anus.

Don't #3: Stand up to wipe

Have you ever popped a shirt in the wash without un-crumpling it, only to find that it has come out of the machine equally dirty and stained as before? Laundry tip of the day: It's because all the crumples have decreased the surface area in contact with the water and detergent. The same principle applies to your butthole when you wipe standing up.

When you're sat down, your butt cheeks are spread. This gives you easy access to the area, ensuring that your square of toilet paper can easily pass over every nook and cranny. When you stand up, this backstage pass is revoked—your toilet paper is bound to miss areas as they fold and wrinkle into themselves, leaving your bum stinky and gross. Of course, if you're up for spreading your cheeks while you stand up, that's fine too. However, we're willing to bet that it's easier to just sit.

Do: Use good toilet paper

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Image: Favim

Regardless of how many reusable toilet paper strips pop up in the market (gross), the disposable kind will never (and should never) go out of style. That said, it's important to look for the right kind of bog roll for your business.

The one-ply stuff is definitely out of the question—it takes a lot of elbow grease to get the job done, and it tends to be scratchy (something that, as we've mentioned, you'll want to avoid around your anus). Further, you should also be wary of toilet paper that is scented or infused with ingredients—the fragrance may be doing more harm than good to your behind. All in all, you'll want toilet paper that is both soft and gentle on the area.

Do: Use unscented products 

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Whether you're washing or wiping, the key to a happy anus is fragrance-free formulations. Fragrance is everywhere, from your soaps to your wet wipes and beyond, so make sure you're looking out for "unscented" and "gentle" labels when choosing your fighters.

Do: Eat plenty of fibre

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Image: Instagram/@msyan_

If you're looking to reduce mess, including more fibre in your diet is key. Put simply, fibre bulks your poop up more, making it less watery. Thus, it reduces the number of wiping motions needed to adequately clean the area, leading to a less irritated and happier anus. You're welcome!

Do: Wear the right underwear

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Image: Unsplash

Here's a tip: Thongs? A definite no-go for every day. Thongs are constantly in contact with the skin on your anus, applying friction throughout the day. This can lead to irritation on the anus—an unpleasant experience, to say the least. Further, applying the same logic as the back-to-front philosophy, wearing a thong can transfer poop particles from your anus to your urethra. Just stick to your briefs for every day, okay?

And there you have it—the do's and don'ts of anal care. Want more? Here are the ins and outs of yeast infections.

Find more body care tips here.