Do I Need A Bidet?

If You Can't Get A Bidet Or A Bidet Toilet, There Are Other Options Available

A bidet might be helpful for some people with IBD, especially when diarrhea is a problem or after surgery. Image © Ferran Traite Soler / E+ / Getty Images
A bidet is a fixture used in a bathroom for washing the anus and the genitalia. There are several forms of bidets, ranging from a simple nozzle on the side of a standard toilet, to a standalone fixture that offers features such as customized water temperature and an air-dryer.

Do I Need A Bidet?

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should strongly consider installing some type of a bidet, at least in the most frequently used bathroom, if not every bathroom.
IBD often leads to frequent bouts with diarrhea, as well as straining while on the toilet bowl. Wiping with conventional toilet paper -- even the most expensive, softest toilet paper -- can be extremely uncomfortable. Having any sort of complication, such as a hemorrhoid or a fistula, make having a bowel movement painful and wiping almost unbearable. A bidet could go a long way to making the time in the bathroom much more comfortable.

What Type Of Bidet Is For Me?

When you are considering adding a bidet to your bathroom you will have to consider several points. The first being price. Adding a separate bidet to a bath may involve a renovation to add more space to a small bath, or to add plumbing and electricity to a wall that doesn't already have it. If you are already renovating, it might make sense (and add value to your home) to add a bidet fixture, but this is an expensive option. A less expensive option would be to add a bidet appliance (of which there are several varieties) to your already existing toilet.
Many of these can be a do-it-yourself project and do not require the help of a plumber or an electrician.

Another point to consider when installing a bidet appliance is the features that are most important to the primary user. Is it very important to have adjustable water pressure and temperature? Would a simple spray nozzle be enough, or would that be just as uncomfortable as wiping?

The more features a bidet has, the more expensive it will be and the more complicated it will be to install. However, installing the wrong type of bidet can just result in wasted money and time, and leave you no better off than when you started.

The last thing to consider is the resources that are available to you. If you have a family member or a friend who is a plumber or an electrician -- or even a talented do-it-yourselfer -- you could save yourself money and frustration by availing yourself of their services. If you don't have easy access to a professional you trust, you might be better off carefully reviewing your bidet options to find one that you can install yourself. Once you find the appliance that's right for you, get in touch with the manufacturer to get help on installation. You may also wish to review videos on bidet installation or consult home improvement books before you get started.

Types Of Bidets

Bidets are not very common in the Western world, and most bathroom layouts would not accommodate a separate fixture.
Thankfully, there are several types of bidets available that can either replace the existing commode, or add on to the toilet without plumbing alterations.

Toilet With Bidet. An expensive, but fairly simple solution to the bidet problem is to install a toilet with a built-in bidet. A standard, no-frills toilet can be inexpensive, but a bidet toilet could be as much as ten times the price. These fixtures are convenient, though, because they will fit in the space already being used by a conventional toilet. Home Renovations Guide Lee Wallender, recommends a bidet toilet be installed by a qualified professional, because not only is an extra water connection necessary, but some models will also need an electric connection.

Bidet Toilet Seat. One way of putting a bidet into an existing toilet is to use a bidet toilet seat. These seats come in a variety of price points, and can be as simple as a jet of water, or include features such as water temperature control, an air dryer, and adjustable water pressure. The simpler models will connect directly to the water input on the commode and can be a do-it-yourself project. More complex models with features that require electricity may require installation by a professional if there is not an electrical outlet near the toilet.

Bidet Sprayer Attachment. It is also possible to retrofit a standard toilet to include a simple hand-held sprayer. These can be installed fairly easily to the water valve on the toilet. They are typically a long hose with a spray nozzle on the end. Most of these sprayers are inexpensive and easy to use.

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