Itchy bottom 


Itchy bottom produces a very strong desire to scratch the skin around your anus 

How common is itchy bottom?

Approximately 5% of the population are thought to experience itchy bottom. It's four times more common in men than in women.

Itchy bottom can affect people of all ages, but it occurs most often in those between 40 and 70 years of age.


Itching is a common symptom that can be caused by a number of conditions. Find out why it happens and what you can do about it

Itchy bottom is characterised by a strong urge to scratch the skin around your anus.

The anus is the opening at the lower end of the digestive system, where solid waste leaves your body.

The medical name for itchy bottom is pruritus ani.

What causes itchy bottom?

As itchy bottom is a symptom rather than a condition; many cases have an underlying cause. For example, itchy bottom may be caused by:

  • a bacterial infection – such as the streptococcal bacteria that causes streptococcal infections
  • a skin condition – such as atopic eczema (where the skin becomes red, dry and flaky)
  • Piles (haemorrhoids)  swellings that contain enlarged and swollen blood vessels in and around the anus

In children, an itchy bottom is often caused by worms. However, not all cases of itchy bottom have an identifiable cause.

An itchy bottom can be made worse by:

  • heat
  • woollen clothing or blankets
  • moisture
  • soiling yourself
  • stress 
  • anxiety 

Some people only have a mild itching sensation. For others, the urge to scratch can be intense.

Read more about the causes of itchy bottom

Should I see a GP?

See your GP if you've had an itchy bottom for more than a few days. They'll try to find out what's causing the problem and how to treat it.

You may need to have a digital rectal examination (DRE) to rule out more serious underlying conditions. During the examination, your GP will insert a gloved, lubricated finger (digit) into your bottom. There's nothing to feel embarrassed about. Your GP will be used to carrying out this type of examination.

Read more about how itchy bottom is diagnosed.

Treating itchy bottom

An itchy bottom is usually easy to treat at home.

Keeping your bottom clean and dry, not using scented soaps, using soft toilet tissue, avoiding scratching and making dietary changes are all ways of easing an itchy bottom.

Your GP can prescribe creams or ointments to help relieve your symptoms while the above self care measures are taking effect. Check with your GP or pharmacist about how long you should use them for.

If your itchy bottom is caused by an underlying condition, such as a bacterial infection or piles, it will also need to be treated.

Read more about treating an itchy bottom.


Frequently scratching your bottom may damage or tear the delicate skin around your anus. This may lead to problems such as:

  • thick and leathery skin (lichenification)
  • sore and broken down skin (ulceration)
  • the top layer of skin being worn away (excoriation)
  • infection

The earlier these complications are diagnosed and treated, the quicker you'll recover. You should visit your GP if the skin around your anus changes or feels painful.

Read more about the complications of itchy bottom.

Page last reviewed: 26/06/2014

Next review due: 26/06/2016


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The 4 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Enviro stu said on 12 October 2014

Toilet paper! We either rub too hard or we don't wipe enough. I have cured my problems by using a special lubricating gel with toilet paper. There is one made in Cornwall with seaweed & aloe vera, I get it off Ebay. It feels really fresh and gentle. I have had piles in the past, but mostly I have suffered with Ani pruritus for over 20 years. I wish I had realised this sooner.
Good luck and I hope you find your cure too!

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Julie Shrive said on 25 April 2012

Surely this is a sympton that there needs to be further investigation as itch can connect to liver & kidney problems . Eventually I have a stone found & still the referral is delayed deliberately.

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brontebabe said on 20 February 2012

I totally agree with gbssw above and i also think its worth a review on this page. I hope this comment passes the approval board as i have no vested interest in the product just a concern for improving peoples health.I think anything that helps other suffers as got to be a good thing.

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User635495 said on 18 January 2012

I have suffered this for many years,i now live in the Philippines,my partner suggested sulfur soap which is cheap and plentiful here,it worked from the first use and no more problems,that was 4 months ago,it worked for me and i hope it works for you.
I would like to here if it works for you.

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