Why Does My Bottom Itch? --- Causes and Top 7
Natural Remedies
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Last updated December 5, 2016 (originally published December 9, 2015)

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other
members of our Editorial Board.]




How many times have you been walking down the street, in full
daylight, surrounded by people when you are literally “seized”
by an irresistible urge to scratch an itch on your bottom?  
Almost everyone has experienced this particular agony.  Even
Rafael Nadal, the tennis legend, often has to reach behind to
grab a scratch at his bottom in full view of millions of  TV fans.   
An itchy bottom is technically known as “pruritus ani”.


An estimated  1% and 5% of us suffers from an itchy bottom.
This estimate was arrived at in a 2008 study from University
College Hospital in London. Taking  the high end of this range --
no pun intended -- this would mean that up to 17 million
Americans suffer from this agonizing condition.  When is an
itchy bottom a sign of something serious? What natural
remedies, if any, can help?


Who Suffers from Pruritus Ani?


Itchy bottoms are 4 times more common in men than women.  
Pruritus ani also is most common between the ages of 30 and
60, according to a 1987 study from the University of South
Florida College of Medicine.



What Causes Pruritus Ani?


Scientists have identified over 100 causes of pruritus ani. In
75% of cases, the itching accompanies a colorectal condition so
there is a pretty good clue as to the cause. In the remaining
25% of cases, no cause can be found and these are called
“idiopathic pruritus ani”.


As for the cases where
a cause can be identified, a common
culprit are hemorrhoids. Other common causes include anal

fissures, skin allergies, dermatitis, irritation from clothing, and
hygiene.  A large number of cases are caused by diet allergies.
In very rare cases, a cancerous malignancy is found to be the
source of the itch.





Top 7 Natural Remedies for Pruritus Ani




























1. Up Your Hygiene

Fecal matter which comes into contact with the anal opening is
a common cause of an itchy bottom. The skin around the anal
opening reacts very differently than other skin on your body, a
1966 study by Dr. R.M. Caplan published in the Journal of
Gastroenterology. Feces actually irritates the skin around the
anal opening.



2.
Fix Loose Stools

Loose stools can cause leakage of fluid from your anus to the
surrounding skin, resulting in irritation and itching, according
to a 1986 study led by Dr. L.E. Smith and Dr. E. Hendrichs of
University of Texas.

About  50% of people with pruritus ani  have loose stools, this
study found. Moreover, 41% of people with pruritus ani report
fecal soiling of their underwear.


It is not easy to talk about but one clue to the source of the  
itch would be to examine your underwear regularly. If you
often see any brown staining, that means that you are
experiencing fecal leakage.  People with fecal leakage or loose
stools almost never suffer from
constipation.  


To firm up your stools, you should consider adding small
amounts of refined carbohydrates into your diet.  Adding carbs
back slowly to avoid becoming constipated.  White, unsalted
crackers or unsalted pretzels are good choices. This is exactly
the opposite of what you should be doing as a general matter
for your overall health but, if you have fecal soiling from
leakage, the carbs can help you clear up the problem in many
cases.


Another way to firm up your stools is to drink a bit less water,
if you are overdoing the amount of water you drink.


3.
Cut Back on Coffee

Too much coffee lowers the resting pressure of the anal canal,
which can lead to fecal soiling and itching. Unlike your blood
vessels, your anal canal does not have much ability to create
pressure.

The normal anal pressure is 10 mg Hg. This compares to
120/80 for normal blood pressure in your blood vessels.  Your
rectal canal is designed to hold between 650 and 1200 Ml of
waste and water. Any amount over this will cause discomfort
and release. To hold back large amounts of material, your rectal
canal exerts pressure. But if the rectal pressure is too low, the
extra material will escape. Cutting back on coffee will help to
maintain normal rectal pressure.


4.
Lose a Few Pounds

If you are carrying too much weight, especially in the
abdominal area, the abnormal amount of weight presses
downward on your rectal canal and can cause leakage. In a
study of 256 women , 67% suffered from fecal incontinence.

And, as we have seen, fecal leakage can cause an itchy bottom.
This study, conducted in 2008 by scientists from Keck School of
Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles,
examined 256 women with an average age of 45 and an
average body mass index of 49 ( a body mass index over 30
indicates obesity).  

The discovery that 67% of the participants suffer from fecal
incontinence led the researchers to surmise that obesity
probably causes widespread pelvic floor dysfunction.  Here are
common sense
tips which over time can help you reduce your
body weight.



5.
Follow an Elimination Diet

Certain foods can irritate your anus. Eating spicy foods such as
curries, for example, can cause an itching or burning on the
opening of your anus, just as they can cause irritation on the
lips of your mouth.


To determine which foods are causing the irritation or allergic
reaction, you will have to start bland, very bland. Go with rice,
simple boiled chicken or fish and spinach.  Stick with water and
milk as your drinks. After a few days, add back in your regular
foods, one at a time. Wait four days between adding back each
food so that you can judge whether the newly added food is
causing irritation.


Many spices such as curry are actually not well absorbed in
your intestines. As a result, they pass through the intestines
and out your body in your stool. Because the tissues
surrounding your anus are especially sensitive, they can
become irritated.  You can either cut back on those foods which
irritate your anus or you can try to increase their absorption
while they are in your intestines.


This latter approach won’t work with all foods. However, with
curcumin, the spice which gives curry its yellow color, studies
have found that adding piperine, the active ingredient in black
pepper, helps to greatly boost the absorption of curcumin by as
much as 2000%, according to a 1998 study from St. John's
Medical College in Bangalore, India.


6.
Avoid Rough Toilet Paper

Using rough toilet paper which scrapes the delicate skin of your
anus can lead to inflammation and itching. To clean your anus,
use soft tissue. Wet wipes may help, so long as they do not
contain perfume. Look for hypoallergenic wet wipes. Allow the
skin to dry with a gentle dab of dry toilet paper after using the
wet wipe.  If you have access to a bidet or a hand held shower
nozzle, use this to clean yourself, followed by a gentle dab of
toilet paper to get dry.


7.
Stay Clean But Do Not Over Scrub

Overzealous cleaning can tear the skin around your anus. If the
tear is severe enough, it can lead to pain. If it is a small tear, it
may feel itchy. Think of the skin around your anus as being as
delicate as the skin around your eyes. Easy does it.


Bonus:

8.
Contact Dermatitis Can Cause Pruritus

Detergent, soaps, shampoos, creams and even medicines which
you may use to fix the problem can actually cause pruritus. If a
product is causing
dermatitis, the only way to discover this is to
eliminate it, wait at least 4 days to see if the itching subsides,
then eliminate another product.

Alternatively, you could stop using everything that you now
use and start afresh, using only hypoallergenic soaps and
water to clean yourself and hypoallergenic detergents to wash
your clothes.


9.
Curry Can Make Your Anus Burn or Itch


Eating curry can make your anus burn or itch. The reason this
occurs is that curry is not easily absorbed by your intestines.
The curry which is not absorbed passes through your intestines
and, when it reaches the rim of your anus, it burns these
sensitive tissues, much in the same manner that such spices
burn the lips of your mouth.

Other than just avoiding curry, one remedy to try involves
adding more spice in the form of pepper. The active ingredient
in black pepper is a compound called "piperine", which
increases the intestine's ability to absorb curry by 2000%. As a
result of adding black pepper to curry, you reduce the amount
of excess curry which passes through to your anus.









































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Eating crackers can firm up your
stool. Loose stools are a common
cause of an itching bottom.