Dr. Poonam Desai, NYC ER Physician, Advocates Water-Based Hygiene over Toilet Paper

Dr. Poonam Desai, NYC ER Physician, Advocates Water-Based Hygiene over Toilet Paper


Dr. Poonam Desai, a prominent ER and lifestyle medicine physician based in New York City, has captured attention on TikTok with her insightful health tips.

Boasting a following of over 20,000 on the platform, Dr. Desai recently gained widespread recognition for her discussion on the effectiveness of using water for hygiene purposes after using the bathroom.

The Hygiene Debate: Water vs. Toilet Paper

In her viral TikTok video, Dr. Desai raises a crucial question about post-bathroom cleaning practices.

She sheds light on the shortcomings of relying solely on toilet paper for cleaning, a method commonly favored by many Americans.

She emphasizes that using toilet paper might not entirely remove residual fecal matter or lingering odors.


The doctor’s expert insight suggests that washing with water provides a more hygienic approach to ensure cleanliness.

Water’s Role in Hygiene: More Than Just a Rinse

Dr. Desai underscores the advantages of water-based cleaning methods.

She explains that water can effectively eliminate residual fecal matter that might be left behind, especially in hard-to-reach areas.

Moreover, using water can help eliminate any lingering odors associated with using toilet paper alone.

Exploring Alternatives: The Bidet and Other Options

While the bidet is a widely accepted and preferred method for water-based cleaning in various parts of the world, it hasn’t gained the same level of popularity in America.


Dr. Desai suggests alternatives for those without access to a bidet, such as using a cup of water, a squirt bottle, a standalone bidet unit, or a washlet attached to the toilet seat.

These options offer a practical way to enhance hygiene beyond traditional toilet paper usage.

Health Considerations: Beyond Cleanliness

Dr. Desai’s insights extend beyond hygiene concerns.

She highlights that aggressive wiping with toilet paper can lead to health issues like anal fissures and hemorrhoids.

Moreover, research indicates that water-based cleaning methods, like those promoted by bidets, can lower the risk of urinary tract infections in women by preventing the entry of bacteria into the urethra.


A Shift in Perspective: Rethinking Toilet Paper Usage

Miki Agrawal, the founder of Thinx period underwear and the bidet company Tushy, advocates for a paradigm shift in toilet paper usage.

Drawing a relatable analogy, she questions why people would opt for dry paper to clean their most intimate parts when water is a more effective and hygienic option.

Agrawal encourages reducing reliance on toilet paper, emphasizing the cleanliness and comfort that water-based cleaning methods can offer.

A Growing Movement: Reactions and Responses

Dr. Desai’s TikTok video on the water vs. toilet paper debate has garnered substantial attention.

With more than 383,000 views and numerous comments, it’s clear that this topic resonates with many.


Commenters share diverse perspectives, some highlighting the prevalence of water-based cleaning practices in various cultures.

Others express their preference for a combination of toilet paper and water for optimal cleanliness.

As Dr. Desai’s video continues to spark conversations, it’s evident that discussions around personal hygiene and the most effective methods for post-bathroom cleaning are taking center stage, challenging established norms and prompting individuals to consider alternative approaches for enhanced cleanliness and well-being.

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