Flushing Out the Facts About Public Restrooms

More than 17 million Americans have "shy bladder," also known as paruresis, the fear of using restrooms when others are near.

If you have to pick a stall, go for the first one. They are often the cleanest.

For those who think hovering over the seat is best, you may want to think again. Hovering can put stress on your pelvic muscles and make it harder to fully empty your bladder. It's better to use a toilet liner and sit when you have to use the bathroom. But remember to stand up before flushing the toilet. The mist from the flushing toilet can spray germs.

When in a public bathroom, be sure to hang your purses and bags on the door hooks. This keeps them off the floors, which is usually the dirtiest spot in the restroom.

Finally, always wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds (sing the happy birthday song in your head twice to ensure you are washing long enough). Studies have shown paper towels are more sanitary than hand dryers.

There are many phone apps that have public restrooms already mapped out for you. This makes it easier for people with bladder and bowel problems to find a bathroom. You can download these apps online or using your phone.

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