Is Toilet Infection/disease a real thing?

Toilet infection is one of the common symptoms put forward by a lot of females in Nigeria, if not Africa. Over the years, toilet infection has become a household name self diagnosis for any symptom that relates to the vagina. While the public toilet seat is regarded by many as the ultimate habitat for the most dangerous microorganisms, it is actually not as bad as we thought. Evidences has it that you can get much more from other surfaces in the public rest rooms than on the toilet seats.

What do ladies mean by toilet infection?

The usual common complaints are

  • Vaginal itching
  • Vaginal discharge

These are the most common complaints. I’m sure I am missing out some other ones. This list is not complete until they add that symptoms started a day or so after they used a public toilet.

Anyway, we’ll come back to that.

Toilet infection image for little bits of stuff blog
Toilet infection; is it a thing?

What is the origin of the term toilet infection?

Nobody knows! Truth is medically, it’s not in medical textbooks. There is no such thing as a toilet infection. So who now started it? There are several theories.

  1. Some believe that it was started by sex workers who used it as a slang when they see a health personnel, and that is their own way of telling them that they have a sexually transmitted infection and would like to get treated,
  2. A rather popular belief is that where a lady whether promiscuous or not is afraid to tell her partner she has an STD for fear of accusations as to where she got it from. Seems to have worked a couple of times to say they had the symptoms after using a public toilet for the terminology to stick this much
  3. Most ladies nowadays grew with the rumour and so once they use a public toilet, the next thing is, “I’m itching down there”.


Very unlikely. Especially when we are talking about sexually transmitted infections.

In the words of Abigail Salyers of blessed memory, former president of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). “To my knowledge, no one has ever acquired an STD on the toilet seat — unless they were having sex on the toilet seat!”

Source- WebMD

First thing to stop worrying about is sexually transmitted diseases. There is no medical evidence that anyone has ever picked up a venereal disease from a toilet seat.

Many people consider toilet seats to be public enemy No. 1 — the playground for organisms responsible for STDs like chlamydia or gonorrhea. But before you panic, the toilet seat is not a common vehicle for transmitting infections to humans. Many disease-causing organisms can survive only a short period of time on the surface of the seat, and for an infection to occur, the germs would have to be transferred from the toilet seat to your urethral or genital tract, or through a cut or sore on the buttocks or thighs, which is possible, but very unlikely. I mean, for you to get an STD from a toilet seat, it would take some spiritual intervention to ensure that you get on the toilet seat just immediately after someone who is shedding it gets up and that you have a wound on your buttocks or it gets into your vagina or urethra… how likely is that?

Intact skin is an effective germ barrier, and the skin of the buttocks and legs is relatively thick. It is also less likely to be cracked than the skin of the hands or face because it is normally sheltered from sunlight, dishwashing detergent and other assaults.

Just a minute, food for thought – have you ever wondered why guys don’t come around telling you they have toilet infection? Yet they also sit on same toilet seat? Really? Have you ladies thought about that?


Now, that is not to say you cannot catch germs from public rest rooms. There are several of them you can come in contact with that may cause you some trouble, again, they may need to get in contact with mucus membranes first to gain entry. Examples are viruses that cause flu on door knobs, herpes has been found to survive a few hours and hepatitis B just a few days.

Besides, the germs hiding on the toilet seat aren’t the ones you should be most worried about. The top sides of toilet seats are low in bacterial numbers compared with surfaces that you actually touch in a public restroom, like the faucet and countertop.


When next you visit the throne room and you want to sit on the throne of “poo”, a quick wipe of the toilet seat will do, or for some, they wipe and also place toilet papers on the rim to sit on. Make sure the seat is not wet when you lay the paper as the wet barrier can serve as a transport medium for micro-organisms to your skin from the toilet seat and if you have a cut, they’ll gain entry. That’s all.

Next, practice proper handwashing and use of antiseptic hand sanitizer as safety precautions before leaving the rest room. So when next you have symptoms relating to your vagina, visit your doctor, and when you get there, please just tell him as it is. There’s no shame in saying oh I had unprotected sexual intercourse a week ago and now I have these symptoms, or oh, I have multiple sexual partners, or I just don’t know, but I have this discharge or that. Don’t tell your doctor “I have a toilet infection”. Just wouldn’t do you any good.

To listen to our podcast on this topic please click here

7 comments on “Is Toilet Infection/disease a real thing?

  1. Toluwani says:

    Thanks Doc

    1. Nick Atte says:

      You are welcome Toluwani

    1. Nick Atte says:

      Thank you very much sire.

    2. Glory Nwaiwu says:

      Then how come ladies still get infection even without having sexual intercourse?.. Are you saying public toilet doesn’t play a role in this ?

      1. Nick Atte says:

        Hi Glory, thanks for reaching out. It will be too bold to say public toilets do not play a role at all. But even if they do, not in the way ladies think it would.

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