Do Bidets Cause UTI

Do Bidets Cause UTI? Here’s What You Need to Know

Although bidets are touted as one of the most efficient toilet accessories, it’s always important to watch what you use on your body. Many people worry about an increased risk of UTIs (urinary tract infections) using bidets, but how likely is it?

Bidets don’t usually cause UTIs. However, poorly cleaned or public bidets may have an increased risk. People with vaginas also need to use bidets carefully to prevent other types of infections, even with a clean, private bidet. This is because the bidet may wash out beneficial vaginal bacteria.

Many bidets are built with a “feminine wash” setting for this reason. A clean, properly-used bidet can also prevent UTIs. In this article, ill cover everything you need to know about using a bidet properly and avoiding UTIs.

Using a Bidet and a Higher Risk of UTI: Where’s the Link?

There’s no direct link between using a bidet and contracting a UTI. However, there is evidence that public bidets are more likely to have higher bacterial concentrations. A 2017 Japanese study discovered that 254 of the 292 public bidets in one building were contaminated with potentially pathogenic bacteria. 

Bidets aren’t directly linked to UTIs. However, bacteria in bidet nozzles can spread infections. Regular sanitation and proper usage should significantly reduce your risk of contracting a UTI from a bidet. 

Be mindful that the 2017 Japanese study was conducted in a hospital. Therefore, there may have been a higher-than-average number of pathogens in these bidets’ nozzles for other reasons.

Risks Associated With Bidet Usage

Bidets aren’t likely to cause a UTI, but there are risks involved with them. Bidets are connected to vaginal infections and abnormal vaginal microflora.

In 2010, researchers discovered that regularly using a bidet significantly disrupted healthy vaginal flora. 43% of regular bidet users had abnormal vaginal bacteria compared to only 8% of non-users. This disruption greatly increases the risk of yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and vaginitis. 

Vaginal bacterial disruption can put pregnancies at risk. In 2019, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found a correlation between regular bidet usage and premature births. They suggest that the disrupted vaginal flora increases risks in already high-risk pregnancies

Expectant parents should strongly consider avoiding bidets during pregnancy. However, please note that this connection was found in high-risk pregnancies. If your pregnancy is not high-risk, the same issues may not apply. Although, many expectant parents may still prefer to err on the side of caution.

How To Use a Bidet Safely

Bidets are great for cleaning! Many people find them much more pleasing and easy to use than toilet paper. Still, there are some risks, and it’s important to know how to use a bidet safely.

Here are some quick tips to properly use a bidet:

  1. Bidets are for external use only. Never try to douche or clean the inside of your anus with a bidet. Spraying the inside of your anus with a bidet can cause rectal ulcers or tears. 
  2. Any form of douching is also inadvisable. Douching disrupts your vagina’s natural flora and can push bacteria into the uterus. Bacterial infections in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries are significantly more serious than yeast infections. These infections can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause severe pain, infertility, and organ damage.
  3. Be mindful of how you position yourself on your bidet. If you have a vagina, set the bidet to “feminine wash” if it has one. If not, position yourself or the nozzle in a way that ensures the stream flows front to back. 
  4. Always test the nozzle on a public bidet before you use it. Make sure it’s a comfortable temperature, pressure, and position. Adjust if necessary before it touches your genitals. Don’t use your genitals to test its comfort. A poorly adjusted nozzle or stream is unpleasant at best and risky at worst.
  5. If you have a bidet at home, regularly cleaning it is crucial. Unclean bidets put you at a higher risk of infection than unclean toilets, as bacterial buildup inside the nozzle will come out with the stream during use. Use the manufacturer’s instructions to flush out your nozzle once a month at a minimum (but ideally, more often than that).
  6. Never use a towel to dry yourself after using a bidet. Instead, use the bidet’s drying function or toilet paper. Even if you look clean, the water on your rear end is full of bacteria. Wiping that bacteria onto a towel will get it all over your hands and body and spread to anyone who uses it.

Benefits of Using a Bidet

So, while there is a proper way to use a bidet to avoid causing problems, it’s important also to highlight that bidets come with many advantages. 

Here are a few benefits of using a bidet:

  1. Bidets are more comfortable than toilet paper for some people. The warm water stream can help relieve pressure from hemorrhoids and discomfort after giving birth. People with sensitive skin also experience less irritation than they would with a dry paper wipe.
  2. It’s a more eco-friendly choice. Washing with water decreases the amount of toilet paper you need. Less toilet paper also saves you money and prevents toilet clogging.
  3. Washing with a bidet may decrease the amount of fecal bacteria on your hands. You should always wash your hands after using the toilet to control the spread of bacteria. Still, there will always be trace amounts of bacteria left over. Bidets may lessen this amount, but they won’t eliminate it.
  4. Bidets are especially beneficial for people with mobility challenges. Bidet toilet seats were invented for this reason. Arnold Cohen adapted the French bidet to help his aging father use the washroom independently. Thoroughly wiping yourself can be difficult if you have mobility challenges, and bidets help with this issue. 
  5. Some people also say that bidets are beneficial during their menstrual cycles. For them, the warm water soothes cramps and helps them rinse out menstrual blood. 

What Are the Symptoms of a UTI?

Whatever the cause and whoever’s body it’s in, UTIs exhibit the same typical symptoms. You might have a UTI if you’re experiencing many of the following symptoms.

  • Frequent itching in the groin
  • Difficulty getting comfortable while sitting
  • Increased urination frequency
  • Feeling the need to urinate on an empty bladder.
  • Burning or stinging sensation during urination
  • Pressure in the groin and lower abdomen
  • Sharp pains in the groin and lower abdomen

For children, they may wet the bed or themselves more than usual. They may also complain to you about any of the above symptoms. 

What Causes UTIs?

Several types of bacteria can cause a UTI. In all cases, it is simply because foreign bacteria enter the urethra. People with vulvas get them more often and have a higher risk of complications from one. 

The reason for this is physical. The urethra in a vulva is more exposed and shorter. Bacteria have an easier time entering, and it’s a shorter trip to the bladder and kidneys.

Asides from that, there are numerous other ways to contract a UTI:

  • The most common cause of a UTI is penetrative sex. However, this doesn’t mean that UTIs are STDs. The friction from intercourse can push outside bacteria into the urethra. You can pass a UTI to your partner, but getting one from sex doesn’t necessarily mean your partner passed theirs to you.
  • Fecal bacteria entering the urethra is another common cause of UTIs. This commonly happens when you wipe back-to-front and push fecal bacteria forward. 
  • Holding in your urine for too long can also cause a UTI. Your body needs to pee to release waste and flush out bacteria. When you hold in your pee, you’re letting that bacteria fester and increasing your chance of an infection. 
  • A recent blockage in the urinary tract increases your risk of a UTI. These blockages reduce your body’s ability to flush waste. Kidney stones, enlarged prostates, tumors, cysts, endometriosis, scar tissue, and pregnancy can all cause urinary tract blockage.
  • Urinary catheters are also associated with UTIs. Foreign bacteria travel along the catheter to enter the body and cause a CAUTI (catheter-associated urinary tract infection). Always wash your hands when you handle your or someone else’s catheter. Never pull, twist, or fidget with a urinary catheter. 
  • Some birth control methods are linked to UTIs. Diaphragms and rings that you insert into the vagina can carry bacteria. Spermicides will also kill natural vaginal flora and lead to imbalances.
  • Young children and incontinent adults are at a higher risk of UTIs. Diapers absorb fecal and urinary bacteria and let them sit near the person’s genitalia. If they aren’t changed regularly, bacteria can easily enter the urethra. 

Will Using a Bidet Help Prevent UTI?

Bidets can help prevent UTIs by keeping the area around your genitals clean. However, they can also promote UTIs if they aren’t cleaned regularly or used improperly.

Using a bidet is a convenient way to wash your genitals with water. However, cleaning that area in the shower will also work. So, while bidets can help prevent a UTI. This is not because of the bidet itself but because rinsing your genitals with water prevents infection. 

There is no evidence that a bidet will prevent a UTI better than regular hygiene. You could use one in your personal hygiene routine, but it’s not essential. Many manufacturers claim that bidets are a better option. However, this is marketing and not based on any scientific research.  

How To Prevent UTIs

No one wants a UTI, but the reality is that not many people actively avoid it. Keeping your bidet clean is a good first step, but to truly protect yourself from UTIs, you need to take a few more precautions.

Keep Yourself Clean

The best way to prevent a UTI is cleanliness. Regularly wash your genitalia and wash your hands before touching them. Always wipe front to back to push fecal and urinary bacteria away from the urethra.

If you have a child in diapers, clean them up quickly after accidents. Also, make sure to check on them and give them bathroom time every 3 hours or less. Teach good habits, like wiping front to back, during potty training. Don’t let your child sit in wet diapers, underwear, or bedsheets for a long time.

Stay Hydrated and Reduce Sugar Intake

The next best thing you can do is to stay hydrated. Hydration helps your body flush out bacteria more effectively. Although there’s a myth about cranberry juice being the drink of choice for UTIs, the reality is slightly different.

There’s not much evidence to suggest that cranberry juice is better for UTIs than plain water.

In reality, sweetened cranberry juice or cocktails may actually increase your risk. Sugary beverages increase the amount of sugar in your urinary tract. Sugar feeds bacteria and encourages them to grow and reproduce. Plain water is the best pick for UTI prevention.

Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine Intake to Prevent Dehydration

Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption if you’re concerned about UTIs. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate your body. Furthermore, most alcoholic and caffeinated beverages are also high in sugar.

Wear Breathable Underwear

If the material around your genitals is too tight or locks in moisture, bacteria are more likely to grow. Wear cotton underwear and avoid thongs if you’re concerned about UTIs. You should also be careful about the pants you wear. Limit skin-tight bottoms to give your groin room to breathe.

Change Your Clothes and Shower Promptly After Working Out

Sweaty clothes, skin, and hair are breeding grounds for bacteria. The longer you let it fester, the more time bacteria has to grow and reproduce in your sweat. 

Also, don’t wear a wet bathing suit beneath your clothes. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it also traps moisture and increases bacterial growth.

Clean Up Before and After Sex

If you’re sexually active, urinate before and after sex. Peeing after sex flushes out bacteria that may have entered your body during intercourse. Urinating before sex and cleaning your genitals can help prevent your partner from getting a UTI. Wash your hands if they will be touching or entering your partner’s genitalia.

If you use flavored lubricants for condoms during sex, ensure they don’t contain sugar, as sugar encourages bacterial growth. Sugar can also simply be uncomfortable on the genitals. Thoroughly clean anything that will enter a vagina, including toys and hands. 

Never reuse a condom, and change condoms between orifices. This practice will prevent more than just UTIs. Avoid cross-contaminating parts of the body as much as possible, especially if there is a vagina involved.

When Should You See a Doctor for a UTI?

Most UTIs will go away on their own after a few days. If your UTI lasts for more than a week, talk to your doctor. It’s important to see a doctor before your UTI spreads to your bladder and kidneys.

You should also see a doctor if your symptoms are severe. Severe symptoms could indicate a serious infection that needs antibiotic treatment. Contact your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following symptoms appear with your UTI.

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Bloody urination
  • Cloudy or discolored urine
  • Urethral discharge
  • Intense abdominal pain
  • Intense lower back pain
  • Foul odor
  • Nausea and vomiting 

What Does It Mean if You’re Getting Frequent UTIs?

Some people are more prone to UTIs than others. However, while physiology is a factor, it’s not the only one.

Here are a few other factors that influence UTI frequency:

  • People with suppressed immune systems tend to get UTIs more often. This is because a weaker immune system won’t catch foreign bacteria as quickly. 
  • People who have had surgery on their genital area are also at a higher risk. Scar tissue and secondary infections from healing wounds can increase the likelihood of a UTI.
  • Hormonal changes are also associated with increased UTIs. Vaginas naturally produce less beneficial bacteria after menopause. This hormonally induced imbalance gives harmful bacteria a better chance at the urethra.
  • Trans men who take testosterone also have an increased risk of UTIs due to hormonal changes. Like post-menopause, a decrease in estrogen will make the vagina produce less beneficial bacteria. Some doctors may recommend other procedures to help trans men counteract this issue. Talk to your doctor if this is a problem.
  • Circumcision decreases the chances of a UTI. Uncircumcised penises may accumulate bacteria beneath the foreskin. Regularly cleaning your penis beneath the foreskin will reduce your chances of a UTI if you’re not circumcised. However, you still should regularly clean your penis either way.

Sometimes, it’s just unlucky genetics. Some people’s cells are more susceptible to infectious bacteria. Additionally, some bodies don’t flush out foreign bacteria as well as others. If you have relatives who experience frequent UTIs, you may experience them too.


An unclean bidet can cause a UTI. However, there are many more likely sources for the infection. Bidets come with many benefits, but it’s also important to use them properly and keep them clean. There’s nothing wrong with using a bidet, but it’s also not necessary for proper hygiene. 

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