Itchy anus

You can often do simple things yourself to ease an itchy bottom (anus). See a GP if the itching doesn’t stop.

How to ease an itchy bottom yourself

Do

  • gently wash and dry your anus after pooing and before bed
  • wear loose-fitting cotton underwear
  • keep cool - avoid clothing and bedding that makes you overheat
  • have cooler, shorter showers or baths (under 20 minutes)
  • eat plenty of fibre (fruit and vegetables, wholegrain bread, pasta and cereal) to avoid runny poo or constipation

Don't

  • wipe your bottom after pooing - wash with water or pat clean with moist toilet paper, then pat dry
  • scratch - if you can’t stop, keep fingernails short and wear cotton gloves at night
  • strain when you go to the toilet
  • use scented soaps, bubble bath or bath oil
  • use perfumes or powders near your anus
  • eat spicy foods or drink lots of alcohol and caffeine - these can make itching worse

A pharmacist can help with an itchy bottom

You can ask the pharmacist if they have a private area where you can speak. They can suggest:

  • creams and ointments you can buy to help ease itching
  • medicine and things you should do at home if it’s caused by threadworms

An itchy bottom that’s worse at night is often caused by threadworms - especially in children.

Children under 2 and pregnant and breastfeeding women can’t usually take medicine for threadworms - see your GP, midwife or health visitor instead.

Using creams and ointments for an itchy bottom

Don’t use:

  • more than one cream or ointment at the same time
  • any cream or ointment for longer than a week - they can irritate your skin and make things worse

See a GP if you have an itchy bottom that:

  • doesn’t ease after 3 or 4 days
  • keeps coming back
  • worries you or makes it hard to sleep
  • comes with itching elsewhere on the body

What happens at your appointment

A GP will try to work out the cause of your itching. They might need to check your bottom (rectal examination).

Depending on the cause, the GP might:

  • suggest trying things to ease it yourself for a little longer
  • prescribe medicine or stronger creams and ointments

Tell the GP immediately if a medicine, cream or ointment makes the itching worse.

Sexual health clinics can help with an itchy bottom

You can also go to a sexual health clinic if you think your itchy bottom might be caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) - for example if you've had unprotected sex. They can provide the same treatments you would get from a GP.

Many sexual health clinics also offer a walk-in service, where you don’t need an appointment. They’ll often get test results quicker than a GP.

Common causes of an itchy bottom

There’s not always a clear cause. If it gets better quickly, it might be caused by something that doesn’t need treatment, like sweating a lot in hot weather.

If it lasts for longer, you might be able to get an idea of the cause from any other symptoms you have. Don’t self-diagnose - see a GP if you’re worried.

Other symptoms with Itchy bottom Possible causes
Gets worse at night, worms in poo (they look like small pieces of thread) threadworms, especially in children
Lumps, bright red blood and pain when pooing piles (haemorrhoids)
Poo leaking or pooing you can’t control diarrhoea or incontinence
Sores, swelling or irritation fungal infection, sexually transmitted infection (STI) like genital warts
Itching elsewhere on the body skin condition like eczema or psoriasis
While using medication long-term side-effect of steroid creams, some gels and ointments for anal fissure, and peppermint oil

It’s unusual for an itchy anus on its own to be a sign of something more serious. But in rare cases, it can also be a sign of something like anal or bowel cancer. So it’s important to get it checked by your GP.

Call 111

If you can’t speak to your GP or don’t know what to do next.

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