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Should You Consider a Toilet Paper Alternative?

Should You Consider a Toilet Paper Alternative?

As we all stock our homes, some store shelves are becoming empty, leaving many troubled that we may run out of certain items, like toilet paper.

Your Wellness

The coronavirus has recently changed our lives. Our kids are home from school, our work is being done remotely and our days are spent mostly isolated. In this time of social distancing, many of us have stocked up on the essentials: nonperishable food, medicines, cleaning products and paper goods. 

As we all stock our homes, some store shelves are becoming empty, leaving many troubled that we may run out of certain items.  

"Panic buying is likely in part a response to how the uncertainty of the current situation makes us feel out of control," says C. Vaile Wright, PhD, director, Research and Special Projects, at the American Psychological Association in Washington, D.C. "It's an effort at regaining a sense of control and is likely triggered by misinformation and seeing others panic in stores," she continues. 

One of the items people are panic buying is toilet paper.  

"Toilet paper may be seen as a necessary product with few alternatives that [achieve] the same purpose," Dr. Wright says, which is why people are stockpiling. 

As alternatives, some people are considering using towels and putting their washing machines to work. Others have things like baby wipes on hand. And then there are people who are considering bidets. In fact, from March 10 to 16, the American Standard website saw a 168 percent increase in organic traffic for pages about bidets and shower-bidet over the previous week. According to the company, its overall website over the same period was flat. This shows that people are specifically looking for bidet information. Their bidets have seen an increase in sales this month compared to previous months. 

While bidets are certainly an option if toilet paper is unavailable, there are also other health benefits of bidets to consider. Since bidets clean with water, you're likely to better clean yourself. 

"If women don't adequately clean themselves after a bowel movement, they can get urinary tract infections or vaginitis," says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale University School of Medicine. "If they don't wipe clean (and more importantly dry) after urination, they can get some labial irritation," she continues.

Bidet seats can be installed on your current toilet, so no need to start planning for a full bathroom renovation. They also eliminate the use of your hand to clean yourself, which helps prevent the spread of germs. 

Looking for more information on bidet seats? Check out the American Standard website. 

As for panic buying, Dr. Wright says, "This is an unprecedented time, and it is to be expected that people are feeling more overwhelmed or anxious than at other times in our memory. It is important to find ways to cope with these feelings in order to begin addressing the impact of some of these changes." 

Dr. Wright suggests engaging in self-care, including:  

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating healthy
  • Staying active as much as you can
  • Staying virtually connected with loved ones via text, phone, video chat or social media
  • Meditating
  • Baking
  • Journaling

Dr. Wright also suggests taking breaks from the news and social media. "Staying informed is important, but be mindful of how often, when and what type of news and social media you are consuming." 

This resource was created with support from American Standard. 

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