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:
- Piles (haemorrhoids)
- A skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis
- Skin tags (fleshy pieces of skin around the bottom)
- Threadworms (more common in younger people)
- Anal fissure (a tear in the lining of the back passage)
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.