Why Some Doctors Think We Should Do Away With Toilet Paper Altogether

iStock/kazoka30
iStock/kazoka30

Americans are famously resistant to bidets. Though the rest of the world enjoys cleansing their nether regions with water on a regular basis, for some reason, even the fanciest bathrooms in the U.S. lack these sanitary fixtures. And yet, no matter how hesitant you are to wash your butt, there’s a compelling reason to ditch your toilet paper and embrace the bidet. Doctors say it’s better for your butt’s health, according to Vice’s Tonic.

There are several ways a quick squirt of water is better for your undercarriage than repeated swipes with a handful of toilet paper. (Especially if you buy single-ply. Please, don’t buy single-ply.) That's because wiping can be traumatic for your butt.

The first is hemorrhoids. Gastroenterologist Partha Nandi tells Tonic that TP can be irritating, and if you’re prone to hemorrhoids, you’re not doing yourself any favors by scraping your butt with harsh, dry wads of paper. A gentle stream of water could clean you up more thoroughly, without doing harm to your delicate tush. Some research suggests that using a bidet might also help with butt conditions like anal fissures and itchiness. It can reduce anorectal pressure, which one study suggest may in turn help mitigate some kinds of constipation. Just make sure the water pressure isn’t too intense, which can cause its own set of problems.

For women, bidets may also help prevent uncomfortable urinary tract infections, which are generally caused by bacteria from the vagina making their way up the urethra. Doctors say bidets potentially wash away these bacteria before they can cause infection, reducing your chances of getting a UTI. A 2005 study found that in nursing home settings, bidet use reduced the bacterial content of urine. That said, at least one study in Japan found that warm-water bidets can change the vaginal microflora, leading to bacterial vaginitis, so the results are a bit mixed.

But you don’t have to have a butt-health issue to adopt the bidet life. Perhaps you just enjoy the feeling of having a squeaky-clean rear end, or are plagued with the thought that your toilet paper isn’t getting rid of all the fecal bacteria you’ve got down there. If so, bidet away! Soon, some international airlines may even have them, so you can cleanse off at altitude.

Convinced? Read about our trial run with Tushy, a bidet attachment that you can install on any toilet.

[h/t Tonic]

Chronic Pain Happens Differently in Men and Women

iStock.com/PeopleImages
iStock.com/PeopleImages

Women often feel colder than men due to physical differences. Now, a new study shows that the two sexes have different biological processes underlying a specific kind of pain, too. As WIRED reports, research published in the journal Brain revealed that different cells and proteins were activated in men and women with neuropathic pain—a condition that is often chronic, with symptoms including a burning or shooting sensation. While scientists say further research is needed, these findings could potentially change the way we treat conditions involving chronic pain.

A team of Texas-based neurologists and neuroscientists looked for RNA expressions in the sensory neurons of spinal tumors that had been removed from eight women and 18 men. Some of the patients had pain as a result of nerve compression, while others had not experienced any chronic pain. While studying the neurons of women with pain, researchers noticed that protein-like molecules called neuropeptides, which modulate neurons, were highly activated. For the men, immune system cells called macrophages were most active.

"This represents the first direct human evidence that pain seems to be as sex-dependent in its underlying biology in humans as we have been suggesting for a while now, based on experiments in mice," Jeffrey Mogil, a professor of pain studies at Montreal's McGill University, who was not involved in the Brain study, tells WIRED.

So what exactly do these new findings mean for sufferers of chronic pain? Considering that clinical trials and drug manufacturers have traditionally failed to distinguish between the sexes when it comes to developing pain medication, the study could potentially form a foundation for sex-specific pain therapies that could prove more effective. This might be especially promising for women, who are more likely to have some condition that cause persistent pain, such as migraines or fibromyalgia.

"I think that 10 years from now, when I look back at how papers I've published have had an impact, this one will stick out," Dr. Ted Price, a neuroscience professor and one of the paper's authors, said in a statement. "I hope by then that we are designing clinical trials better considering sex as a biological variable, and that we understand how chronic pain is driven differently in men and women."

[h/t WIRED]

McDonald’s Is Testing Out Vegan McNuggets in Norway

McDonald's has never been an especially welcoming place for vegans (until 1990, even the fries contained meat). But now, the chain's Norwegian locations are working to change that. As Today reports, McDonald's restaurants in Norway have launched a vegan nugget alternative to the classic chicken McNugget.

The new vegan McNuggets are prepared to look like the menu item customers are familiar with. They're coated with a layer of breadcrumbs and fried until they're golden-brown and crispy. Instead of chicken meat, the nugget is filled with plant-based ingredients, including mashed potatoes, chickpeas, onions, corn, and carrots.

The vegan McNuggets are only available to customers in Norway for now, but if they're popular, they may spread to McDonald's in other parts of the world. Norway's McDonald's locations also include a Vegetarian McFeast burger on its menu.

McDonald's is famous for tailoring its menus to international markets, and vegetarian options are much easier to find in restaurants some parts of the world compared to others. In India, where one fifth of the population is vegetarian, customers can order the McAloo Tikki Burger, made from potatoes and peas, or a McVeggie sandwich.

[h/t Today]

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