Here’s how to treat an itchy bottom

Written by: Mr Shahab Siddiqi
Edited by: Nicholas Howley

It’s not a problem we like to talk about – but 1 in 20 people will suffer from itchy bottom at some point in life. So what can you do to treat it, and when should you see a doctor? We asked leading surgeon Mr Shahab Siddiqi

Why do people get itchy bottom?

Itchy bottom is a common problem and it’s common because there are so many causes. Itchy bottom can be caused by:

It can even be a consequence of your diet – if you have too much caffeine or eat certain foods, then looser stools can make your bottom feel itchy.

Given all these potential causes, should you visit the doctor – or is there anything you can do yourself?

How to treat itchy bottom yourself

You can often improve your symptoms yourself by following some simple steps:

  • Don’t scratch! This might provide some temporary relief but will only irritate the area and make the itchiness worse after a few minutes.
  • Avoid bubble baths or using scented soaps around the affected area – as this can also cause irritation.
  • Don’t wipe your bottom after you’ve gone to the toilet. Instead, wash yourself with water then clean gently with a towel. You can also buy some aqueous cream from the pharmacy if you’re out and about – use this in combination with cotton wool balls.
  • Avoid getting too hot – consider sleeping under lighter bedding and having cooler showers.
  • It can also be helpful to wear loose-fitting underwear

You should clean your bottom every time you feel an itch, not just when you need to go to the toilet. Keeping the area clean is important and will improve symptoms in the majority of people.

Should I see a doctor?

You should see a doctor if the regime described above hasn’t worked. It’s likely you’ll need specific medical treatment for the cause of the itchiness. This might involve medication, topical creams, and in some cases, anal tattooing! In the vast majority of patients, treatment brings significant relief – so if you’re really bothered by your symptoms, it’s worth a visit to a colorectal surgeon.

By Mr Shahab Siddiqi

Mr Shahab Siddiqi is a well-regarded consultant surgeon based in Essex, who specialises in colorectal surgery and pelvic floor surgery. He treats a variety of conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), enteric dysmotility, and pruritis (itchy bottom), and is one of the UK's leading experts in using advanced robotic-assisted surgery for the treatment of colorectal diseases. He has led the development of the advanced robotic surgery facility at Broomfield Hospital since 2011. He also introduced new and innovative treatments for bowel incontinence and constipation, and has both surgical and medical clinical interests, including the management of pelvic floor disorders, pelvic pain, irritable bowel syndrome, whole gut motility disorders, functional bowel disorders, and pruritus ani.

Mr Siddiqi qualified from St George’s Hospital Medical School in 1993, before completing specialist training in general and colorectal surgery at the North Thames Deanery. He also undertook a pelvic floor fellowship at Castle Hill Hospital, Hull and a laparoscopic surgery fellowship at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton, New Zealand. His research into methods to improve detection of the spread of colorectal cancer to the lymph glands using genetic techniques at the Royal London Hospital earned him an MD from the University of London in 2008.

Mr Siddiqi now serves as the lead surgeon for pelvic floor surgery in the Department of General Surgery, also practising privately at Springfield Hospital. He is an honorary senior lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University and is still involved in a number of research projects. He is currently using his expertise in robotic surgery to help develop new surgical treatment methods for other colorectal diseases, like rectal cancer. 

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