How healthy using a shower toilet really isAdvice from the doctor

You might wonder how good and healthy using a shower toilet really is and if an investment makes sense. We talked to a gastroenterologist about the benefits of shower toilets for intimate hygiene.

Sensitive skin in the genital area

In contrast to other areas of the body, skin in the genital area is extremely sensitive, with a network of thousands of nerve cells and numerous sebaceous glands. Healthy skin offers sufficient protection against external influences. However, it is also vulnerable – particularly in sensitive areas such as the genital area. The right cleaning is thus extremely important in order to minimise the impact on the natural protection capabilities of the skin.

Bernhard Sauter is a doctor of internal medicine and a specialist in the field of gastroenterology who has been practising at the renowned gastroenterology centre at Klinik Hirslanden in Zurich, Switzerland since 2006.

Geberit AquaClean Mera Comfort shower toilet with remote control and Sigma50 actuator plate (© Geberit)

Mr Sauter, how can the natural protection of the skin be maintained in the genital area?

The skin is very sensitive and thinner here than in other areas of the body, similar to your lips. The sebaceous glands in the genital area maintain a natural thin layer of oil on the skin, which is impacted by lotions, wet wipes or when wiping with paper. The best way of cleaning is thus with water.

Why is clean water sufficient for personal hygiene in this area?

The genital area has its own natural protection and self-cleaning system. Once this system becomes unbalanced, it is more susceptible to irritation and infection. There is no danger of this when using clean water, which means it is the best way of cleaning.

Who would you recommend a shower toilet to?

I would recommend a shower toilet to everyone – whether young or old, healthy or with pre-existing conditions in the genital or intestinal area. Thorough personal hygiene doesn’t depend on age, nor on the health of the person.

Is a shower toilet a good idea regardless of gender?

Absolutely – by using a shower toilet, all genders alike can dispense with chemicals and wiping, both of which can cause irritation to the skin. As women are affected more often by infections in the genital area, it is a good idea for them in particular.

Why are soaps and wet wipes not recommended?

These products often contain alcohol, fragrances and preservatives. These – and wiping itself – can irritate the sensitive skin in this area, which in turn promotes bacterial infections, can lead to allergies and destroys the natural acid barrier on the skin.

Why is a shower toilet a particularly good idea for people with irritated skin or haemorrhoids?

When the skin is irritated, the most important aspect is regeneration. To do this, it must be left to heal with as few disturbances as possible. Touching the area and using aggressive substances exacerbate the situation as old wounds are opened up repeatedly. Gentle cleaning with water has proven itself as the best way for those with irritated skin.

How do your patients react when you tell them about cleaning with a shower toilet?

The initial reactions can be very different. However, once patients have discovered just how thorough cleaning with a shower toilet is, there has been a lot of positive feedback.

Portrait of Prof. Dr. Bernhard Sauter, Specialist in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology (© Julia Dunlop)
About Gastroenterology
Gastroenterology focuses on disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, liver and the endocrine glands belonging to the digestive system (e.g., pancreas). Gastroenterologists examine the causes behind gastrointestinal diseases and how often they occur. This is in addition to diagnosing and treating these diseases and advising their patients on the best way of protecting themselves against them.

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