Put down your knife and fork. We’re going to talk about bum guns ….
Let’s take a moment and travel to a western country and sit on the toilet. We do whatever we need to do and then… where’s the water gun? Instead you’re confronted with a roll of toilet paper, patterned or otherwise (why?!) Asian people have been happily washing their nether regions after Number 1s and Number 2s forever. Why hasn’t the West caught on? It’s not as if a westerner hasn’t experienced the joy and wonder of a quick squirt below and been unable to take the idea home.
ow some enterprising scientists have done the research and the bum-gun comes up the winner. An American rectal surgeon in New York, Dr Evan Goldstein, told a squeamish audience at ButtCon (basically Comic-Con, but all about bottoms instead of comics) that a squirt with water is actually a much better way to clean yourself after using the bathroom.
Now it starts getting a bit gross.
Asians already know that using toilet tissue after defecating basically means you will simply smear that faecal matter around, without actually cleaning the area. If you’re eating a low-roughage diet the problem is worse.
Meanwhile, washing with water will thoroughly clean the area of any trace of faeces. A bit of well-aimed water pressure for a few seconds will do a much, much better job than a few metres of toilet paper! Finishing the spray-job with a quick wipe of tissue paper will then leave your backside feeling cleaner and fresher after every poop!
“Besides being a better cleaning agent all-around, only wiping your bum using tissue can actually lead to injuries.”
Dr Evan Goldstein, speaking to Insider, said that the skin on the anus is quite thin and delicate. And dry toilet paper can be abrasive.
“This is why wiping too many times, or any harsh actions, could lead to painful tears, or tears, and even bleeding.”
Some Americans have now taken on the idea of cleaning up with water and agree that using a bidet to wash your backside can be more comfortable than toilet paper. Especially for people who just had surgery, given birth, or experience irritable bowel syndrome. Scientists now also universally agree that a squat toilet is healthier than a sitting on a porcelain throne… but one thing at a time!
The contentious topic, a favourite at ButtCon, now comes down on the side of the wet finish rather than the paper finish.
But not all research on bidets or ‘bum guns’ is positive. A large study of women in Japan in 2010 found that frequent use of bidets could interrupt the normal bacterial flora in the vagina and lead to infection.
So, it’s more hygienic and, well, it feels better (come on, admit it!). But there’s also plenty of other reasons to back the bun-gun. The average American reportedly uses 3 rolls of tissue a week, the whole country goes through about 36.5 billion rolls a year. And how much water goes into making one roll of tissue paper? About 140 litres. The production of that pure white toilet paper uses even more water. Making tissue also involves the pulping of millions of trees, and using tonnes of chlorine.
And then there’s all the energy involved in manufacturing, the packaging and transporting of the rolls of paper to retail outlets. Tissue paper is also known to clog plumbing and force city sewer systems and water treatment plants to work much harder.
So, next time you’re reaching behind and having a quick squirt (please aim carefully), you’ll feel better knowing that your backside is probably happier with the end result.
And a big shout out to all the proctologists out there for doing a job most of us wouldn’t! Have fun at ButtCon.