Dr Safiya Ojo, a General Practitioner with Wuse General Hospital, Abuja, on Monday, recommended the use of water for anal cleansing rather than toilet paper after defecation.
Ojo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that it was important to have a hygienic means of cleaning the anus for overall body hygiene.
She said “it is better to wash with water than use toilet paper after defecation because water washes completely without a trace, whereas toilet paper might not wash completely or properly.
“The paper particles can attach to the surroundings of the anus which can bring discomfort, while water washes off everything, leaving you clean and fresh.’’
The doctor said westernisation had lured many people into using toilet paper, adding that water allowed for thorough cleaning.
She said it was important to wash the hands with soap after defecation and after almost every activity for good hygiene.
Ojo also recommended the use of warm water to clean infants and toddlers, saying most wipes which mothers used to clean their babies after defecation could give the children rash due to the chemicals in the wipes.
NAN also sought the opinions of a cross section of Abuja residents on which sanitary option they would prefer after using the toilet and got different views.
A university student, Miss Kemi Smart, said she had never used water to wash after using the toilet but used water to just clean her hands.
She said “I use tissue paper to clean up after using the toilet and I am comfortable with that; in my family house then, one thing I know that we never lacked in the house is tissue packs.
“But some people I know are comfortable using water to wipe their anus after defecating; I normally ask how comfortable it is using water because your buttocks will be wet after using water.’’
However, a trader, Mrs Veronica Ossai, said water was the best way to clean up after using the toilet and advised ladies to avoid keeping nails for proper washing and in order to avoid germs entering the fingers.
She said “I feel more comfortable using water to clean my body after using the toilet.
“I also use good toilet soap to wash my hands because one might not have enough tissue to properly clean up.’’
A civil servant, Mrs Mary Williams, said that both water and toilet paper could be used, adding that water could be used first and toilet paper used to wipe the wetness.