To sit or not to sit, that is the question! Public toilet seats are a polarizing topic—no doubt about it. Some people swear that you're completely safe sitting on a public toilet seat and you'd be a hypochondriac of sorts to worry. But as a doctor who focuses on women's health, I get questions about this all the time.
If you've ever been in a public bathroom, dying to sit but plagued by the decision on whether it's sanitary or whether squatting is worth the strain, look no further. Turns out, it depends, but there are forces at play—like our microbiomes—that may be of more pertinent and consequential concern than contracting an STD. Below, I answer some of the most common questions about public toilet seat safety.