Good hygiene contributes to good health.
This is particularly true when it comes to your genital area.
Cleaning up after peeing comes with loads of benefits.
But, if done wrongly, it may cause harm by increasing your risk of infections and irritation.
In this article, we give you a step-by-step guide on how to clean your private area after urination.
Whether you have a penis or a vagina, we teach you basic steps and important precautions to take.
We also tell you about the benefits of proper genital hygiene and some possible consequences of not cleaning up after peeing.
How to clean your vulva after urination
As a woman, it is important to understand your anatomy to allow for proper female hygiene after urinating.
The outer part of your genital area is called the vulva. It refers to all the genital structures you see when you open your legs.
These include your pubic mound, the clitoris, the urethra, the labia majora and minora, and the opening of the vagina. Behind/below the vulva, you can find the anal opening.
When cleaning your private parts after you pee, your focus should be on cleaning your vulva area – not your vagina.
The vagina is the muscular canal that extends from your vulva to your cervix (which is the entrance to your womb located inside your body).
The vagina cleans itself and has a delicate balance of microorganisms. So you don’t need to clean it. What you do need to clean is your vulva.
There are two main methods of cleaning your vulva:
Using tissue paper to wipe after peeing
Dabbing your private area with tissue paper allows you to clean off moisture that could serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and other microbes.
Here’s to how to properly wipe your vulva after peeing:
- Take some sheets of soft toilet paper and use them to wipe your vulva.
- You should always wipe from front to back. Remember that your anal opening is behind your vulva. Bacteria such as E.coli live can be present in the poo around your anal opening. Wiping from the back to the front increases the risk of transferring these bacteria into your vulva, which could cause a urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Wipe your pubic hair well to dry up any moisture the hairs may have absorbed, and ensure that your entire genital area is dry.
- Wipe gently to avoid irritation.
Rinsing with water after urinating
Using warm water to rinse up after urinating allows you to wash away substances that could predispose you to infections if they remain on your private parts for a long time.
Here’s how to properly rinse your vulva after peeing:
- Pour warm water on the area: Using a bidet is a convenient way to spray water directly on your vulva. If you don’t have access to a bidet, you can use a clean container (e.g., a small cup) to fetch water and then pour it on the area.
- Avoid soaps: It is best to avoid soaps (even those said to be specifically formulated for the genital area) as much as you can because they can disrupt the natural balance and cause irritation. A 2018 study found that there was a 3.5% increased risk of bacterial infections when people used intimate washes on their vulvas. If you decide to use soap, be sure to use one that is mild and unscented.
- Ensure that the area is dry after rinsing: As we have already made abundantly clear, leaving moisture on your private area is a bad idea. So, be sure to use a clean towel – not your hand – to gently wipe the area afterward. You can also use soft tissue paper. Either way, make sure you follow all the steps we previously listed for wiping your private parts after urination.
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How to clean your penis after peeing
For men, the risk of getting UTIs and other genital tract infections is less than for women. But it is still important to keep your private parts clean after urination.
Here’s how to clean your penis after you pee:
- After urinating, gently shake your penis to remove any leftover droplets of urine.
- Next, gently wipe off any remaining droplets with soft tissue paper. Shaking does not always stop leakage of excess urine, so wiping helps to reduce the chances of urine staining your undergarments and leaving a smell behind.
- You can also rinse the penis with warm water before gently drying it off. Using soap is not advised because it can irritate. If you must, use a mild, unscented one.
- Be sure to gently pull back your foreskin to clean the head of your penis if you are uncircumcised. This can help to prevent smegma, which refers to an accumulation of secretions and dead skin cells beneath the foreskin.
If your urinary stream is weaker than it used to be or you are having dribbling of urine after you finish peeing, speak with your doctor as soon as possible. These are possible signs of a prostate problem.
Side effects of bad hygiene and not wiping after peeing
If you don’t clean your private area after urination, you’ll allow urine droplets to remain there for extended periods.
This creates a moist environment that promotes the growth of various microorganisms, predisposing you to infections such as:
- Urinary tract infections: These are infections of structures in the urinary tract, including the urethra (urethritis), the bladder (cystitis), and the kidneys (pyelonephritis). They are usually caused by bacteria. They occur more commonly in women.
- Yeast infections: These are infections caused by a fungus that is scientifically known as Candida. These fungi are naturally present in different areas of your body. The problem comes when they start to overgrow. Moisture and poor hygiene can trigger overgrowth of yeasts and lead to an infection of the genital area. In men, this is known as candida balanitis. In women, it is called vulvovaginal candidiasis. Genital yeast infections are more commonly seen in women.
- Jock itch (tinea cruris): Jock itch refers to a contagious skin infection caused by a type of fungus similar to the fungi that cause athlete’s foot and ringworm. Like with candida, the overgrowth of tinea can be triggered by increased moisture and poor hygiene around the genital area. It occurs more often in men.
People with diabetes are at increased risk of getting all the above infections. So, if you are diabetic, you have to pay extra attention to your genital area and ensure proper hygiene after urinating.
What are the benefits of cleaning your genitals after urinating?
Cleaning your genital area after urinating has several benefits for your health. They include:
1) Reduced risk of infections
As discussed above, proper genital hygiene reduces your risk of acquiring various infections that can affect your genitals and the skin around them.
2) Improved body odor
When you don’t clean your private area after urination, urine droplets remain on your skin and pubic hair. They can also be transferred to your underwear.
This results in a bad odor. Certain types of infections – which poor hygiene increases your risk of – can also give rise to foul-smelling discharge.
3) More comfort
Perceiving a bad odor from your pubic area is sure to make anyone feel uncomfortable. The feeling of excess moisture around your genitals can also be discomforting.
In addition, infections can result in itching, pain, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Cleaning up properly after you pee can help you prevent all these things.
4) Better sex
Reduced risk of infections, increased comfort, and a pleasant odor can all contribute to better sex.
Proper hygiene after urinating has several benefits for both men and women. Cleaning your private parts after urination reduces the risk of infections like UTIs and yeast infections, increases comfort, and improves odor.
You can either use tissue paper to dab the area dry after you pee. Or, you can rinse with water and pat dry with a towel.
For women, it is essential to wipe only from front to back. For both men and women, it is best to avoid soap when cleaning after urination because it can cause irritation.