How do I wipe "front to back" without making a mess?
March 13, 2013 9:33 AM   Subscribe

Ok. I can't believe I'm even asking this question, but here goes: How does a woman effectively wipe "front to back" after urinating?

My whole life I have bunched up toilet paper and wiped back to front. More or less put the "poof" of toilet paper on my vulva, soaked up whatever urine is there, swiped it forward one or two times, and I'm dry as a bone. No muss, no fuss.

However, after a string of UTIs, I have decided to learn to wipe properly, front to back. The problem: I can't seem to get things dry.

I bunch up the toilet paper and wipe front to back one or two times, going from the front to the back of my vulva. My arm doesn't comfortably go further back than that, so there is moisture left near my anus (or maybe it is pushed there by the movement front to back). So I bunch up a new piece of paper and reach around from the back. This doesn't work at all: I tend to get moisture (well, pee!) on my wrist as I awkwardly reach in there and somehow I just can't get things dry. Once I stand up, there is always a little bit of moisture left between my butt-cheeks. Or, worse, on my thighs!

Can female Mefites walk me through the mechanics of effectively drying off after a pee?

(Fwiw, I do not think this is a hair issue. I keep everything down there trimmed very short.)
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think this is now the second time in a month I've shared this little nugget: don't wipe; blot.

There shouldn't be any friction required in this scenario. Get some toilet paper ready, then just, er, stick on your nether regions until it absorbs the pee remainders. If you've got drippinness upon standing, you may want to give a bit of a shimmy during the blotting time.

You may also find that leaning your torso forward as you pee keeps everything moving in the right direction instead of catching on folds and wicking back into your distant nethers.

God I can't believe I tell the internet these things.

Happy pissing!
posted by phunniemee at 9:40 AM on March 13, 2013 [23 favorites]

Could you wipe the back area first, dump that paper and get a bit of new paper with no poop on (or even fold the old piece I guess to save paper) and then do the front area, thus keeping your old technique and keeping things clean and poop free in front, youu might even look into those wet wipes, though personally I don't like them.

You don't say if you approach things from behind or in front as that could make a difference. I find it easier to wipe front to back if I approach things from the front but you might like to switch things up a little and try the opposite of what you currently do and see if that helps you. I wipe from the front and find if you lift one leg up a little or lean it helps you get full access to all areas so you can get all the wrinkles and folds nice and dry. I find wiping from behind more difficult because I have a rather pear shaped build and little t rex arms.
posted by wwax at 9:45 AM on March 13, 2013

I stand and approach from the back. Standing really helps, although this was the subject of a great Metafilter discussion/debate awhile back.
posted by sockermom at 10:00 AM on March 13, 2013 [5 favorites]

My arm doesn't comfortably go further back than that

Really? Do you have an arm injury? I don't understand how this is possible.

Squat and lean forward if you aren't.
posted by murfed13 at 10:32 AM on March 13, 2013

Try leaning to the side opposite of the wiping hand (right hand = lean to left)
posted by Fig at 10:39 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Really? Do you have an arm injury? I don't understand how this is possible.

Short arms? I can easily see how it is possible. Everyone is built differently.
posted by young sister beacon at 10:50 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Short arms? I can easily see how it is possible. Everyone is built differently.

I didn't realize she was probably sitting. Seriously, squat and hover a bit. Problem solved. (And bonus: work those quads).
posted by murfed13 at 10:58 AM on March 13, 2013

What? When people talk about wiping front to back I always thought that meant wipe your genitals before your butt, not wipe the genitals themselves front to back. I'm not sure doing the latter will help at all UTI-wise. Or I could have just learned something new.
posted by cairdeas at 11:21 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

cairdeas, the assumption is that anything in close proximity to the anus might have a bit of fecal matter on it and you don't want to swipe that towards your urethra. So ideally, you don't want to swipe from the perineum frontwards even if you don't actually touch the anus.

This is why sexual intercourse predisposes ladies to UTIs, even if you don't stick the penis in your butt first....
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:34 AM on March 13, 2013

If you have trouble squatting (as some of us do) you might want to try this. My problems with UTI's and other troubles have reduced tremendously since I purchased one. It really does make it easier to wipe, void, everything. Just a suggestion.
posted by patheral at 11:47 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding leaning forward. I'm surprised pee gets near your anus.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:19 PM on March 13, 2013

Also, most UTIs result from the fauna of sex partners, not GI output. So there's that. (Otherwise, I'm with cairdeas.)
posted by acm at 12:26 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Just chiming in to advocate not bunching up toilet paper. You can fold it along the perforations (using maybe 6 sheets? it depends on your tp), and wipe front to back, while leaning forward. I think there is better "coverage" this way. And the squares are generally pretty wide -- wide enough to keep your hand dry.
posted by freezer cake at 12:30 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here's my method. It has never failed! I fold up some paper (no bunching) and since I'm right-handed, I shift my weight to the left, pulling my right hip up and cheek and thigh away from the seat. I start from the middle and wipe backwards to catch any drops back there. Then I repeat, starting at the front and moving to the back to get the rest. No hovering. No between the legs bunchy stuff.
posted by amanda at 12:43 PM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

While seated reach down from the front and wipe your vulva from the front towards the back and stop at the perineum. Get a new wad of toilet paper, squat over the seat, and reach behind to wipe from the perineum to the end your butt crack (where it meets your tailbone).

On preview, what wwax said.
posted by fozzie_bear at 1:52 PM on March 13, 2013

Reach from behind, not from in front. Lean forward to sort of lift your butt off the seat- you don't need to be a contortionist, just swing your arm behind and under, almost as though you were going to sit on your hand (palm up). Bring your hand under your butt without actually touching your butt with the TP. Place the TP at the front of your vulva and drag backwards (gently), scrunch up the tissue a little so pee-soaked tissue doesn't touch your butt, and wipe your anus. Repeat as many times as neccessary with fresh paper until you come back with clean TP, otherwise you're still dirty, yuck. You can wipe your clit and between your labial folds with fresh paper, too!
posted by windykites at 3:58 PM on March 13, 2013

Really? Do you have an arm injury? I don't understand how this is possible.

Certain ways of carrying body weight will get in the way.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:06 PM on March 13, 2013 [4 favorites]

So this is eponysterical, but I sort of do what Amanda does. However, I hover, so instead of lifting a cheek off the seat, I sort of pivot my hip up (try to envision Betty Boop here, ok?) to make a space between my legs and access the wet works. I hold the paper with whichever hand is closest to the TP dispenser, and that hand matches the pivoting hip.

Nthing no bunching the paper, don't use too much, blot first (think of it as press and hold, not 'tap tap tap' some ladies use for blotting lipstick), and plan to make two passes.

(regardless of the percentage of GI output caused UTI, one is too many. You do not want one. Ever. Never ever ever. No, you do not.)
posted by bilabial at 4:37 PM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm 24 weeks pregnant and about as big as I was at 32 weeks with my first pregnancy (stupid abs). There is no wiping (or blotting) happening if I approach things from the front of my body. I've been delighted to find it more effective, as well as much easier, to stand up, bend forward at the waist, reach around from behind to the front of my ladybusiness, and wipe towards the back.

You may also find it helpful, if you're standing up and discovering some residual drippiness, to sit for a little bit after you're done peeing. Maybe even wiggle your hips, just to make sure those last drops don't land on your thighs.
posted by linettasky at 8:30 PM on March 13, 2013

Wipe standing?
posted by Salamandrous at 10:20 AM on March 16, 2013

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