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
- 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 ↗ – such as fruit and vegetables, wholegrain bread, pasta and cereal – to avoid runny poo or constipation ↗
- do not wipe your bottom after pooing – instead, wash with water or pat clean with moist toilet paper, then pat dry
- do not scratch – if you can't stop, keep fingernails short and wear cotton gloves at night
- do not strain when you go to the toilet
- do not use scented soaps, bubble bath or bath oil
- do not use perfumes or powders near your anus
- do not eat spicy food 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
- 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 of an itchy bottom. If it gets better quickly, it might have been 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. But 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 ↗, STI ↗ like genital warts|
|Itching elsewhere on the body||skin condition, such as eczema or psoriasis|
|While using long-term medication||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 related to something more serious. But in rare cases, it may be a sign of something like anal or bowel cancer, so it's important to get it checked by your GP.