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Itchy bottom

Having an itchy bottom means having discomfort where you want to scratch an itch around the anus.

Doctors may call itchy bottom 'pruritus ani'.

The cause of itchy bottom may not be clear, but sometimes it may be due to:

Other causes, or things that may make itchy bottom worse, include:

  • Heat
  • Some fabrics, such as wool
  • Moisture
  • Soiling
  • Being anxious or stressed

Seek medical advice if an itchy bottom lasts for more than a week or so.

Itchy bottom treatment

Simple self-care measures, such as a change in hygiene practice or diet, can often help reduce anal itchiness, but an itchy bottom can also be a symptom of an underlying condition that will require treatment. If simple measures don't produce relief within a week or 2 seek medical advice.

To help ease the itchiness, try:

  • Thorough cleaning of the anal area after every bowel movement
  • Avoiding potential irritants such as scented soaps
  • Applying a soothing ointment or cream every morning and night and each time after having a bowel movement
  • Using a mild corticosteroid cream around your anus to reduce inflammation of the skin and soreness. However, creams may ease itching or may make it worse.
  • Taking an antihistamine such as chlorphenamine at night time if itching is disturbing your sleep

How can my doctor treat an itchy bottom?

If your GP diagnoses a specific condition that is causing an itchy bottom, you may be advised to use one of the following medications:

  • A steroid cream to relieve inflammation or for treating eczema or dermatitis around the anus
  • An antifungal cream for thrush or another fungal infection
  • Antibiotics to treat certain infections such as a bacterial streptococcal infection
  • Anti-parasite medication to treat threadworms

If haemorrhoids, an anal fissure, sexually transmitted infection, or other medical condition are the cause of having an itchy bottom, your GP can recommend specific treatment for those conditions.

What can I do to reduce the itchiness?

It is important to keep your bottom clean and dry because both faeces (poo) and moisture can contribute to an itchy bottom. It's also important to avoid chafing the area with over-enthusiastic use of towels or loo paper, as well as to avoid possible irritants, such as scented soap or bath products, especially if you have a skin condition. You may find a change in diet can also help.

Cleaning your bottom: Before going to bed and after each bowel movement, gently clean your anus and the skin around it using a mild unscented soap, making sure you rinse off all the soap afterwards. In fact, you may find using aqueous cream is less irritating than soap. Without rubbing, which can irritate the skin, gently pat dry the skin with a soft towel.

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