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
Non-urgent advice: 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.
During coronavirus, call a sexual health clinic if you need help or advice. Only go to a clinic if you’ve been told to.
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.
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.