Using public toilet seats can be a pain in the a** – sometimes literally, especially when we try to hover over the toilet to avoid bum-to-seat contact. But while hovering may increase your chances of avoiding germs, it may not be the healthiest position for your bladder.

Urologist Sam Peh explains that bending at the waist and more or less hovering over the toilet seat is just about the worst way to pee. When you do this, “you are training your muscles to not relax,” he said. Peeing in this position also means you’ll retain urine, which puts you at higher risk for urinary tract infections in the future.

Instead, he advises that fully squatting is preferred because your pelvic floor muscles and bladder are more relaxed in this position. “I don’t advocate squatting on a public toilet because you can fall off as most public toilets these days are sitting toilets so squatting on it is not acceptable. People will view that as bad behaviour but if you can find an old-fashioned squatting toilet, that’ll solve the problem,” he offers.

Meanwhile, Wong Mun Yew Joshua, Senior Patient Care Pharmacist at Guardian, wants to dispel the myth that dirty toilets seats are a cause for worry. “Contrary to popular belief, it is incredibly unlikely for germs to be transmitted, or for you to contract any sort of diseases via direct skin contact with the public toilet seats,” he explains.

He also suggested these helpful tips for those who want to be extra cautious:

1. If available, use the commercially available disposable toilet seat covers that can be flushed away easily. If the seat covers are not readily available, line the toilet seat with a layer of tissue paper to minimise contact.
2. Wipe down the toilet seat with anti-bacterial wipes before use (Don’t use too many, though, as you may clog up the toilet).
3. Please do not squat on and leave your shoe prints all over the toilet seat. The toilet seat may not be usable for subsequent toilet visitors if you do.

“Also, remember to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after every toilet visit,” he adds.

Text: Natalya Molok/The Singapore Womens’ Weekly
Image: Maitree Laipitaksin/ 
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