An itchy butt can strike anytime, and there’s nothing you’ll want more than to give it a good scratch. But you might want to think twice about doing so–especially if you’re among company.
“Anal itching is quite common, and for some people, it can feel incredibly frustrating,” said Mitchell Bernstein, MD, an associate professor of surgery and director in the division of colon and rectal surgery at NYU Langone Health. “Some people even start scratching in their sleep, and of course, too much scratching just makes it worse.”
The disorder is known as pruritus ani, which translates into “itchy anus” in Latin. There are two categories an itchy anus can fall into. Some people have primary pruritus ani, which means their anus is itchy for no specific reason. Secondary pruritus ani is when the itch is caused by an anorectal condition such as hemorrhoids, anal fissures, bacterial infections, etc.
Below are a few reasons as to why you might be experiencing pruritus ani.
7. You’re Not Wiping Enough
When it comes to hygiene, it’s safe to say you don’t want to slack off. A lack of proper hygiene can cause itching and irritation due to flecks of fecal matter remaining on the anus. The best thing you can do if you believe you have some unwanted remnants is to jump in the shower and cleanse yourself with soap. However, be sure to avoid using the same soap you use on your face and body, as this can lead to other issues.
6. You’re Wiping Too Much
Yes, there is such a thing as wiping too much, and this can lead to other unwanted issues. For instance, this can cause the tender skin around the anus to become itchy, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. “Moreover, some toilet papers are rough, and others are easily crumbled,” the foundation states. “Tiny bits of paper trapped in the anal skin can be irritating.” If you believe you’re wiping too aggressively, you may want to consider an alternative way to clean yourself, such as a bidet if you have one. If you don’t, try a shower instead.