Bidets are common fixtures, similar to the shape of toilets that are found in bathrooms in many European and Asian countries. While not as popular in the United States, bidets can still be found in some homes, especially luxury homes. The fixture is used to encourage personal hygiene.
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Specifically, bidets are wash basins meant for the purpose of washing genitals after one uses the toliet. Bidets are typically around 15 inches high, so a person is able to stradle the fixture. While bidets come in a variety of different styles, they most always include either a horizontal or vertical water spray. According to Bathroom Design Guide, "Washing is more effective and more soothing than toilet paper and is advised by health practitioners and doctors for people who suffer from haemorrhoids in particular, since toilet paper can be an irritant."
The only difference between a horizontal bidet and a vertical bidet is the direction of the spray. A horizontal bidet has a spout over the rim of the bidet, similar to the look of a sink faucet. This sprays the water horizontally and allows for rinsing genitals. This type of bidet can also be plugged and filled with water.
A vertical bidet differs from a horizontal bidet in that there is a fountain jet in the center of the bowl that jets water upward for washing genitals. In addition to standard vertical bidets, vertical sprays can also be found on newer electronic bidet models that fit on top of toilets.