It was the most-coveted commodity in Australia over the course of the pandemic – but an expert known as the ‘Butt Doctor’ has revealed why he’s not a fan of toilet paper, saying that wiping “too vigorously” after doing a poo can lead to a lot of issues.
Queensland-based colorectal surgeon Dr Bradley Morris – better known to his 13.2k Instagram followers by the aforementioned moniker – talked all things number two’s in an interview with news.com.au’s podcast, I’ve Got News For You.
“Most of the problems I see with the skin around the anus are due to excess attempts at hygiene, and it’s very rarely due to insensitive hygiene. It’s a very sensitive area,” Dr Morris told host Andrew Bucklow, answering one listener’s question about whether it’s “dangerous” to wipe too hard.
“I don’t understand why we use toilet paper to wipe. If you imagine soiling your face or something else where you wouldn’t smear it off with toilet paper.
“So I think we need to readdress culturally what we do, and maybe look at bidets, and using water to wash, that excess wiping can traumatise the skin.”
Dr Morris explained that if you do find yourself “spending a long time” wiping, “there might be a reason for it”.
“It might be your stool consistency, it might be that you’ve got an element of prolapse, it might be that you’re not emptying properly,” he said.
“We do aim for the ghost poo, where you wipe and there’s nothing there. And that indicates that there’s a well-formed stool that’s passed intact and in its entirety. And then a couple of wipes after that is probably okay.”
As for how regular you should be, Dr Morris acknowledged that “everybody’s different” and “what is normal for one person, it might not be normal for the next”. That being said, up to three times a day or as infrequently as once every three days is considered normal.
He also had stern words for people who use their time on the toilet as an excuse to “escape the world” and scroll through their social media.
“That’s a no-no, and it’s keeping me in business,” Dr Morris said.
“We should go and get it done and get off [the toilet] … We’re really at about two to three minutes without straining, without being in a hurry to do it, but allowing it to happen efficiently and as briskly as possible.”
Sitting for too long means “you’re predisposing yourself to problems with the anal canal like tears, and there are long-term issues with some muscles and being able to poo efficiently forevermore”.
Another thing that’s doing you no service is holding it in when you need to pass wind.
“I can’t provide any science for this, but I think it is [bad]. A lot of the problems that we see in the Western world, and I’m talking about abdominal pain, bloating, constipation … lots of these conditions might be due to ignoring what are normal cues to either fart or to do a poo,” Dr Morris said.
“Lots of us will get up in the day, and we’ll be in a hurry, and we’ll either force ourselves to do a poo before we go to the gym or before we go on a long ride, or we ignore those cues, then by the time we get the cues, we’re stuck in traffic on the way to work, and we’ve got to ignore it. Or we’re sitting there in an office and we can’t fart.
“So all of these things will absolutely put increased pressure on the colon upstream.
“And I think that is responsible for a lot of disease states, we really haven’t looked into it … I do have a theory that holding in your farts makes these things worse. So let it rip.”