Not Wiping After Peeing Has An Unexpected Effect On Men's Health

Men seem to have a few advantages when it comes to the act of peeing. They can stand while doing the job, for starters, which is a vastly convenient alternative to making rear-to-toilet seat contact, especially in an unhygienic public bathroom setting. They also, apparently, practice the habit of not wiping after finishing with their tinkle time (well, some of them, anyway). 

The reasons for not wiping can be manifold. Some say they don't need to because their anatomies are just built differently than women's (men have longer urethras than women), others say that peeing doesn't affect as much surface area as it does for those who are born as women, and still others just avoid the wiping as a cultural entitlement of sorts, according to Dr. Anand Bhatt, master of surgery at Certaire Health. "Some men dab with toilet paper to make sure they have a clean penis before putting it back in. But most won't out of a cultural sense of manliness," offered the expert (via Mel Magazine). 

Even so, the few men who supposedly do wipe after peeing may have an unexpected benefit to this practice: better personal hygiene and possibly health reasons, according to a viral TikTok video made by a University of Massachusetts Boston nursing student and certified nurse's aide named Kenny He. Let's take a closer look.

Why is it important for men to wipe after peeing?

According to Kenny He's video and subsequent interview with BuzzFeed, not touching toilet paper to the penis after urinating can lead to bacterial infections like urinary tract infections (UTI), mainly because of the acidic residue of urine that could be resting on the surface area for hours (if not days).

The nursing student's TikTok video is like a short lesson on anatomy, where he goes into detail about men's urinary systems and what actually happens when they pee. Speaking to BuzzFeed, he shared, "When a person with a penis pees, there is bound to be urine leftover in the urethra and the tip of the penis because water has adhesive properties, and there is no peristaltic motion that 'squeezes' the rest of the urine out as our bodies do in our digestive system. Any still water, especially a substance filled with inorganic compounds like urine, is not hygienic and can lead to bacterial infections (urinary tract infections) or simply just smell gross."

However, according to experts and science, there are a few muscles that work to push pee out: the detrusor muscle, which contracts to propel urine out of the bladder and into the urethra, and the bulbospongiosus muscles located around the urethra, which work to expel residual urine from the urethra after the bladder is done emptying. Even so, not wiping after peeing can become an issue, especially when men experience after-dribble while peeing. Urine stains on clothing are a hygiene problem. Are UTIs a concern, though?

Does not wiping after peeing increase your chances of developing a UTI?

Hygiene is rarely the reason why men develop UTIs, per experts. UTIs are more common in women because trouble-causing bacteria have less of a distance to travel from the outer surface to the bladder (owing to shorter urethras). For men, this isn't really a concern, whether you're wiping with toilet paper afterward or not. 

But maintaining proper hygiene, not emitting a foul odor, and avoiding skin irritations from unexpected exposure to urine can be good enough reasons to wipe after peeing. Conditions like post-micturition dribbling (involuntary loss of pee after urinating), being diagnosed with an enlarged prostate, and weakening urethral muscles (a pee-related change that happens with aging men) can cause a man to experience after-dribble. Additionally, post-void dribbling can be a concern too, per Dr. Dean Elterman, urologic surgeon at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (via Healthing). "Most of the time, it has to do with a little bit of extra urine trickling out through the urethra, but it's not harmful or a sign of anything sinister." Despite not being a health concern, it can become a matter of bad personal hygiene. 

Experts often recommend waiting a few seconds after peeing, gently applying pressure with your fingers in a back-to-forward motion to the base of the penis, and squeezing or shaking to avoid pee residue. Even sitting down to pee can have an unexpected effect on men's health because of gravity. As for wiping afterward, why not do it just so you're sure everything is definitely clean down there?