December 5, 2022

Amarachi Okeh

Health experts have cautioned women against wiping their private parts from the back to the front after using the toilet, noting that it increases their risk of suffering recurring urinary tract infections.

According to the experts, this common habit introduces bacteria from the anus into the urinary tract and can cause infection irrespective of when and how many times a woman has been earlier treated for UTIs.

Also, according to a recent article published by theconversation.com, a health research site, human feces is made up of at least 25 per cent of living microorganisms. 

It said, “around 25-54 per cent of the organic material in a person’s feces is made up of microbes (dead and living), such as bacteria and viruses.”

Speaking with Reportr Door HealthWise, one of the experts, Consultant Gynaecologist with Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Dr. Stanley Egbogu noted that this particular habit of wiping from the back to the front is one of the several reasons responsible for the recurring UTIs some women suffer.

He said, “A woman’s health habit following urination or defecation can impact their health. A woman should clean from front to back but some women because it is more convenient to clean from back to front, they do it. 

“What they don’t know is that they pick organisms from the anus to the urinary tract causing them to have recurrent UTI.”

While UTIs can be successfully treated, Egbogu warned that if left untreated, they can gravely impact the health of a woman, warning that untreated UTIs can cause abortion in a pregnant woman.

Also, according to an article published online by Medical News Today, untreated UTIs in pregnancy can lead to complications like a kidney infection, and sepsis in women. It can also make a woman suffer premature birth, the article said.

Speaking further with our correspondent, Egbogu noted that though it is not common, another complication that can arise from untreated UTI is urinary reflux. 

He explained that this is an abnormality that causes the urine to flow from the bladder back up to the tubes that connect a person’s kidneys to the bladder.

Also speaking with Reportr Door HealthWise, Consultant Gynecologist, Dr. Samuel Olufemi affirmed that between 20 to 50 per cent of human feces are microorganisms, stressing that a woman cleaning her anus from back to the front could introduce these harmful microorganisms into her system.

Speaking further, Olufemi, also noted that introducing the microorganisms from the anus to the urinary tract is made easier due to the shortness of the woman’s urethra.

He, however, noted that wiping from the front to the back reduces the risk of infection.

Olufemi, who is also the Vice President of the Ondo State Chapter of the Nigerian Medical Association added that other practices that can cause a woman to suffer recurring UTIs include the consistent use of unprescribed antibiotics by women, douching and introducing foreign objects into their private parts.

He warned against self-medication, noting that women with UTIs should see a medical expert for proper treatment.

Self-medication, he warned, can make a woman become resistant to some antibiotics and make treatment of future infections more difficult.

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