5 Weird, But Totally Real Things To Know About What Toilet Paper Can Do To Your Vagina

by Caroline Burke

Having a vagina comes with certain inevitable truths: You have to wear underwear with jeans, you have to care about what day of the month it is, and you have to worry about things like toxic shock syndrome starting at about the age of 12. But there are also the things that totally blindside you, the questions you didn't even think to ask. Like, for example, can toilet paper cut your vagina?

In short, toilet paper can actually hurt your vagina in more ways than one. It's certainly not an everyday occurrence, but just like anything that you put down there, there's a chance you're causing irritation or infection simply by going through the steps of your day as you were taught — aka wiping after you use the bathroom.

Toilet paper is an insidious culprit for vaginal irritation because of how mundane it is. After all, you use it every day. You're taught to view it as a helpful way to keep your vagina safe and clean, which is why you would never think of it as the cause of any sort of irritation or infection. Yet, nonetheless, here we are. It's 2017, Donald Trump has been president for a year now, and toilet paper is potentially your new foe for vaginal safety.

If your toilet paper is irritating you down there, you're probably already aware of it, but you might have attributed the soreness or irritation to something else. The first thing you can do to feel better is, of course, buy some softer toilet paper. The second thing you can do, if the softness doesn't work, is to buy simpler toilet paper. By that, I mean toilet paper without additives, fragrances, or any dyes, all of which might tend to irritate you down there without your knowing it. Here's a breakdown of what you need to know about the unexpected relationship between your toilet paper and your vagina.

It Can Cause A UTI

There are two types of people in this world: those who wipe back to front, and those who wipe front to back. And the back-to-fronters are in serious trouble if they keep up with their backward ways. When you wipe back to front, you can potentially use toilet paper to drag fecal matter into your urethra, potentially leading to a bladder infection or a UTI.

There's a simple solution for this one: Always, always wipe front to back — no exceptions.

It Can Cause Tiny Paper-Cuts

If you tend to rub rather than "dab" while wiping (honestly, who dabs though?), then there's a chance you're giving yourself tiny paper-cuts on your vulva. These paper-cuts, though microscopic, could potentially lead to greater irritation or swelling, which is why you should ideally be opting to dab rather than wipe after you pee.

It Can Give You Vulvovaginitis

Vulvovaginitis is a scary, super-villain term for a pretty common situation: vaginal irritation. Vulvovaginitis can come from bacterial, viral, or yeast infections, or just from plain contact irritation, which is where your toilet paper comes into the picture.

If you feel like your toilet paper is irritating you when you wipe, consider upgrading to a multi-ply brand that doesn't disintegrate into little rips of paper around your vulva, and instead holds its shape and does its damn job.

It Can Cause Puffiness Or An Allergic Reaction

Toilet papers can be filled with additives, dyes, and fragrances, all of which are potential irritants for your skin. If your vulva or anus area is getting all sorts of puffed up and you recently switched to a new toilet paper brand, it's worth considering a switch away from that one to a more simple, organic brand with no additives or fragrances. Trust me, your vagina will thank you for it.

It Can Trigger A Yeast Infection

That fancy toilet paper really can get you if you're not careful. Toilet paper with additives like the ones described above can mess with the pH of your vagina if you're not careful. If you're a chronic sufferer of yeast infections and can't understand what you're doing wrong, it might be time to stop yelling at your boyfriend to look what he's done to you and maybe consider a switch to a more generic brand of toilet paper instead.