Toilet infections, which is often referred to as toilet disease by some people is a condition in which a female experiences discomfort such as burning, itching and unpleasant or foul odour coming right from the vagina. Can toilet infection be transmitted sexually? The answer is below.
There's nothing worse than desperately needing to go to the toilet when the only options are a service station or public park.
You hold your breath and try not to think about the disease-causing germs that are probably crawling all over the seat and bowl – Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, to name but a few.
But can you catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI), from a toilet seat?
No, you can't, according to sexual health experts, because even if the bacteria and viruses that can cause an STI got onto the seat, they can't survive for long after leaving the human body.
As their name suggests STIs are most commonly spread through sexual activity, including intercourse, oral sex and, in the case of some diseases such as genital warts, direct skin-to-skin contact.
There's nothing very magical about STIs; they're fastidious bugs which don't like dry condits.
READ ALSO: What is toilet infection?
Theoretical risk of toilet infection disease
But if, for argument's sake, enough disease-causing organisms had survived on a loo seat to make you sick, could you pick up an infection?
It's highly unlikely as none of our body parts that are vulnerable to sexual diseases actually touch the toilet seat.
Viruses such as warts can't get in unless there is a break in the skin, and when you have sex, it induces micro-trauma and breaks the outer layer of skin.
If the virus was just dabbed on the outside of your skin, it couldn't attach itself.
Granted, if you had a cut on your bottom and there were bacteria or viruses on the seat it is theoretically possible that you could catch an STI. Doctors never suspected a toilet seat as the source of any STI.
Toilet seats are also unlikely to be the cause of urinary tract infections, most commonly caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli because your urethra – the tube that connects the bladder to the genitals and can become infected – never touches the seat.
So if you can't catch an STI from a loo seat, where has this belief come from? Well, doctors may not be entirely innocent in inducing this paranoia.
In the late 19th century doctors tried to destigmatise. STIs by saying infections could be contracted in a variety of ways – not just through sex.
One they used was that you could get syphilis from typical drinking fountains, which had cups attached to them.
But while you don't need to worry about picking up an STI the next time you need to visit a public convenience, you should still think hygiene-first while in the bathroom.
Washing and drying your hands after using the toilet is one of the most important factors in stopping the spread of the germs that can cause digestive diseases, such as rotavirus.
Donovan says the most important habits for hygiene are:
Not touching your face until you wash your hands if you have been to the toilet
Washing your hands with soap.
Drying your hands thoroughly.
Drying your hands is more important than removing them. If you wet a door knob, you do a disservice to everyone because you are improving the environment in which germs can thrive.
- READ ALSO: What are toilet infection symptoms?