Contents

Anal Itching

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Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 24, 2019.

  • Health Guide
  • Disease Reference
  • Care Notes
  • Medication List
  • Overview
  • Aftercare Instructions
  • Discharge Care
  • En Español

What do I need to know about anal itching?

Itching can develop anywhere in or around your anus. You can make the itching worse if you scratch the area to relieve the itch. This condition can become serious. Your healthcare provider can help you manage and treat the discomfort.

What causes anal itching?

The exact cause of your anal itching may not be known. Moisture in your anal area, certain foods and drinks, and tight clothing are common causes. The following can also cause anal itching:

  • Bowel and anal conditions: Hemorrhoids, Crohn disease, and colon cancer may lead to anal itching. A small amount of bowel movement may leak and irritate your anal area. You may also have a tear in your anus. You may have an abnormal tunnel between your anus and nearby skin.
  • Infections: An infection may be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. An anal or bowel infection may cause your bowel to swell and itch.
  • Skin conditions: Anal itching may occur if you do not clean your anal area properly. Skin allergies can cause anal itching. An autoimmune skin disorder can make your body’s immune system attack its own cells.
  • Medicines: Anal itching may be a side effect of some medicines used to treat gout, arthritis, or infections. Creams, ointments, or medicines used to treat other anal problems may also cause anal itching.
  • Mental or emotional problems: Certain psychological conditions may increase your desire to scratch your anal area.
  • Trauma: An object put inside your anus may cause skin tears and anal itching.

How is anal itching diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask your signs and symptoms and when they started. Tell him if you have other medical problems, infections, or allergies. Tell him if you are taking any medicines. He may also ask about any changes in your bowel movements, and how you clean your anal area. He may look for any skin problems in your anal area. He may also check your rectum by inserting a gloved finger into your anus. You may also need any of the following:

  • Anoscopy: Your healthcare provider gently inserts a short plastic or metal tube inside your anus and rectum so he can see inside. He will look for any growths, fissures, or other problems that may be causing your itching.
  • Lab tests: You may need blood tests to check your health. The results can also help healthcare providers check for conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Small samples of your bowel movement or a skin swab may be sent for testing. The tests may show if you have an infection.
  • Patch test: Healthcare providers put patches on your skin, usually on your back. Each patch has a different item on it that commonly causes allergic reactions. The patches are worn for about 2 days. If the skin under the patch becomes red, you may be allergic to the item on that patch. Your healthcare provider will check your skin the day the patches are removed, and then again a few days later.
  • Skin biopsy: Your healthcare provider removes a small piece of the skin around your anus. The skin sample will be sent to a lab for tests. A skin biopsy may be done to help diagnose certain diseases that may be causing your itching.

How is anal itching treated?

Talk to your healthcare provider before you use any treatments he does not order. Some treatments may worsen your condition. Your treatment may include any of the following:

  • Medicines:
    • Antibiotics: Antibiotics will treat an infection caused by bacteria.
    • Antifungal medicine: This medicine helps kill a yeast infection that may be causing your anal itching.
    • Anti-itching medicine: Healthcare providers may give you medicine to decrease your itching.
    • Steroids: Steroids help decrease inflammation in your anal area.
    • Capsaicin: This is a cream or ointment you can put on your skin. Do not use this cream or ointment on skin that is scratched or torn unless directed by your healthcare provider.
    • Methylene blue: Methylene blue may be given as a shot into the skin around your anus to decrease your itching. Numbing medicine may be added to the shot to dull your pain.
  • Surgery: Certain conditions that cause anal itching may need to be treated with surgery. You may also need surgery if other treatments do not work to stop your itching.

What are the risks of anal itching?

  • Capsaicin ointment may cause your skin to have a burning feeling. Steroid creams may cause your skin to shrink or thin if you use it for a long time. A shot in your anal area may cause numbness, infection, or damage in the tissue near the area. Sepsis (blood infection) may occur if the shot is given too deep into your pelvis. Your anal itching may return if the cause is not properly treated.
  • You may develop redness and burning around your anus if your anal itching is not treated. The skin may become scaly and rough. The area may bleed.

How can I help treat or prevent anal itching?

  • Gently clean your anal area after every bowel movement. Wash your anal area every morning and every night before bed.
  • Shower after you exercise to wash any sweat away from your anal area.
  • Dry your anal area with a hair dryer or soft cotton towel after you wash.
  • Put petrolatum or zinc oxide ointment on your skin after you dry.
  • Wear loose fitting clothing and cotton underwear that is not tight against your skin.
  • Use a beaded or mesh cushion when you sit for long periods of time to decrease sweating.
  • Do not use perfumed soaps, powders, or deodorants on your anal area.
  • Do not use rough toilet tissue to wipe yourself after a bowel movement.
  • Do not eat or drink anything that causes you to have bowel movements that irritate your skin. Examples are oranges, chocolate, tomatoes, coffee, and nuts. Keep your bowel movements regular to help stop your itching. Foods high in fiber make bowel movements easier. Eat foods such as bran and prune juice, and drink more water.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You are leaking bowel movement.
  • You feel a painful tightening in your anus after you have a bowel movement.
  • You have a new rash, itching, or swelling after you take your medicine.
  • You see blood in your bowel movements.
  • Your sexual partner has the same symptoms you have.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have bleeding from your anus that does not stop.
  • You have a bad smelling discharge coming from your anus that is not bowel movement.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2019 Information is for End User’s use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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Learn more about Anal Itching

Associated drugs

  • Anal Itching

IBM Watson Micromedex

  • Itchy Skin
  • Paresthesia
  • Proctitis

Symptom checker

  • Numbness or Tingling
  • Rectal Pain or Itching

Mayo Clinic Reference

  • Anal itching

Between the itching, burning, and discharge, a yeast infection can be a total pain in the…well, vagina. But did you know they’re not just a down-there problem? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 20 different species of candida yeasts on and in your body (like, right now) that can cause a yeast infection—and not necessarily below the belt. Want to protect yourself? Here are seven more icky factoids you should know:

That honor goes to bacterial vaginosis (BV), an infection that’s caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Much like a yeast infection, BV festers when the vagina’s pH levels are out-of-whack—but unfortunately, OTC treatments aren’t available. Because it’s caused by bacteria and not yeast, attempting to use yeast infection meds to combat BV can make your symptoms worse (cue the sad trombone). If you self-treat thinking it’s a yeast infection but your symptoms stick around, check in with your gyno to find out what’s what, says Antonio Pizarro, M.D., a board-certified gynecologist in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Speaking of which, two out of three women who buy yeast infection meds don’t really have a yeast infection, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Over time, your body can become resistant to the treatment, making it that much harder to fight a legit yeast infection in the future. If you self-treat a yeast infection and don’t see results within a few days or your symptoms return within a month, it’s either a sign you’re resisting the meds—or that you’re treating the wrong condition, says Pizarro. It’s important to visit your gyno in either scenario so you can be treated properly.

RELATED: 9 Weird Vagina Issues—Solved!

It’s called thrush, and it’s just as nasty as it sounds. The yeast overgrowth causes cottage cheese-like lesions that can take over your mouth—tongue, cheeks, and gums—not to mention mess with your esophagus and make it über painful to swallow. Luckily, says Pizarro, thrush can be treated with a prescription of anti-fungal lozenges called troches. (Phew.)
We wish we were kidding. Candida organisms set up shop in the rectum, so when you poop, it’s possible for the organisms to migrate to the vagina, causing a yeast infection, says Jason James, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn in Miami. There’s no foolproof way to prevent this, but “decreasing candida in the rectum might be accomplished by eating probiotics, and decreasing transmission might be achieved by good hygiene—showers preferably over baths,” says James. You should also avoid having vaginal sex immediately after anal sex to cut back on your chances of yeast moving from your rectum to your vagina, he adds.

RELATED: How Your Food Impacts Your Vagina

If a dude has unprotected sex with a woman and she has a yeast infection, he may end up with one, too. Symptoms can include itching, burning, redness, and a rash on the penis, says James. Most can be treated with an OTC yeast infection treatment (and it’s best you both be treated to avoid reinfecting each other). There may not be instuctions for dudes on the box, so James recommends he apply the cream directly to the infected area twice daily for five to seven days.
This is not a drill: According to the Mayo Clinic, women whose blood-sugar levels are out-of-whack are more likely to develop a yeast infection. When your blood-glucose level is high, the excess sugar increases the likelihood of yeast growth—and repeat infections. Pizarro recommends women with three or more yeast infections a year make an appointment to rule out diabetes or other serious conditions.

RELATED: 10 Wonderful Things You Should Know About Your Vagina

The food you eat could be putting you at risk for a yeast infection. tCandida is naturally found in the digestive tract, but how much you have depends on your noshing habits. A 2013 study published in the journal PLOS One found people who ate oodles of carbs were more susceptible to a yeast infection than people who munched on proteins, amino acids, and fatty acids. In fact, the participants’ candida levels increased immediately after eating carbs. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you.) Krissy Brady Krissy is a regular contributor to Prevention, and she also writes for Cosmopolitan, Weight Watchers, Women’s Health, FitnessMagazine.com, Self.com, and Shape.com.

Rare Disease Database

Since Candida Albicans is supposed to be present in healthy people, treatment is very rarely needed. The American Academy of Allergy and Immunology has stated that the concept of yeast allergy or Candidiasis hypersensitivity is speculative and unproven. Health foods and vitamins are not effective treatments.

If the patient is taking a broad spectrum antibiotic, it is helpful to stop treatment so that the usual bacterial flora of the mucous membranes is restored. If possible, treatment with corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs should also be stopped. Patients who are particularly prone to Candidiasis infections (e.g., diabetics) should particularly try to avoid taking the types of drugs that encourage growth of fungus.

Treatment of Skin or Vaginal Candidiasis with local applications of nystatin, clotrimazole, or miconazole may be effective in many cases. To treat inflammation and itching simultaneously, antifungal and corticosteroid creams may be used together.

To prevent and treat Candidiasis of the mouth, good oral hygiene is imperative, especially by denture wearers. To treat acute pulpar alveolar cellulitis (an infection of the connective tissue lining the root canal), removal of decayed and foreign matter from the mucous surfaces, rinsing with warm salt water or baking soda solution can be helpful. Medications applied through the root canal have also proven to be effective in some cases.

Vaginal Candidiasis – Treatment of the vaginal discharge and itching in this type of infection consists of administering specific antifungal drugs. Proper hygiene habits and control of diabetes when applicable can help to avoid repeated infections in women who are particularly prone to this infection.

To prevent Candida infection of the Vagina or Penis from spreading when one sexual partner is infected, nystatin may be prescribed to both partners.

For candidal diaper rash, the skin should be kept dry by changing diapers frequently. Use of petroleum jelly and talcum powder should be avoided. In severe cases, plastic pants and plastic disposable diaper coverings should not be used. Certain creams and ointments may be prescribed by a physician.

For treatment of Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis, amphotericin B, nystatin, clotrimazole, miconizole or 5-fluorocytosine are useful drugs. Antifungal and immune system-stimulating substances (such as the molecule that can transfer immunity from a sensitized to a non-sensitized individual) called transfer factor, thymosin, thymus epithelial cell transplantation, and levamisol, are also used in treatment. (For more information on these disorders, choose “immunodeficiency” as your search term in the Rare Disease Database.)

A new drug for the treatment of Candidiasis, Cryptococcal Meningitis, and other persons with weakened immune systems such as AIDS patients has recently been approved by the FDA. The drug diflucan (fluconazole) has been found effective against these types of infections in persons with weakened immune systems.

The drug amphotericin B lipid complex (Abelcet) has received an orphan drug designation for the treatment of Candidiasis. More studies are needed to determine the long-term safety and effectiveness of this drug for the treatment of Candidiasis. For more information, contact:

The Liposome Company, Inc.

One Research Way

Princeton. N. 08540

What Causes a Rash on the Butt?

Here are a few of the common causes of rash on your buttocks:

Contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a common type of rash. It appears when your skin comes into contact with a substance that causes irritation to the skin. Some contact dermatitis rashes appear immediately, but most take some time to appear.

There are two types: allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. Common symptoms of both include:

  • redness and swelling
  • severe itching
  • dry, scaly, or cracked skin
  • bumps and blisters
  • oozing, crusty skin
  • pain, burning, or tenderness

Common allergens and irritants include:

  • plants, like poison ivy and poison oak
  • medications, such as antibiotics or antihistamines
  • chemical additives, including food flavorings, cosmetics, and perfumes
  • cleaning products, such as soaps or laundry detergents
  • bath or personal care products, including lotions, shampoo, soaps, and sunscreen
  • fertilizers and pesticides

Atopic dermatitis (eczema)

Atopic dermatitis, which is generally known as eczema, is a chronic skin condition that causes itchy, dry skin. Eczema is most common in babies and children, but it can begin at any age.

Although eczema can cause rashes on the buttocks, they are typically seen:

  • on the face
  • on the elbows
  • on the hands and feet

Symptoms include:

  • dry, red, itchy patches of skin
  • skin that weeps clear liquid when scratched
  • crusty, scaly skin
  • skin that turns red, swells, and itches more after scratching

Heat rash

Heat rash is a common skin irritation that causes redness and stinging. Your skin may feel prickly or itchy, and small bumps may form. Heat rash occurs most often, as its name implies, in hot, humid weather. Heat rash can also happen any time you sweat a lot.

When sweat gets trapped under your skin, it clogs up pores and causes small pimples to form. It typically occurs on parts of your body where skin rubs against skin, such as your butt crack or inner thighs.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted virus that can cause rash-like symptoms on your buttocks, anus, or thighs. Herpes can be transmitted through any type of sexual contact, including vaginal, oral, or anal contact.

Rash symptoms originate in the place where the infection entered your body, but can spread when you scratch them. Symptoms include:

  • pain or itching in your genital and anal area
  • small red bumps
  • small white blisters
  • ulcers from oozing and bleeding
  • scabs

Keratosis pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is caused by a buildup of keratin on the skin. Keratin is a protein that protects your skin from harmful irritants and infections.

In people with keratosis, keratin forms a plug that blocks the openings of hair follicles. This causes rough, sandpaper-like skin. Tiny red bumps may form on the buttocks, though they are typically painless.

Shingles

Shingles is an infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After you have chickenpox, the inactive virus remains in your body for years and can reactivate in adulthood. It typically appears as a painful rash on one side of the body. The rash may include:

  • numbness, burning, pain, or tingling
  • tenderness to touch
  • redness
  • blisters that break, causing crusty skin
  • itching

You may also experience fatigue, general feelings of malaise, and fever.

Intertrigo

Intertrigo is a rash that forms in the folds of the skin. When skin rubs against skin, it causes friction and creates a warm, moist environment that is ideal for fungal and bacterial growth.

Intertrigo is common in the skin between the buttocks (butt crack), which can become very raw, itchy, and painful. It may appear red or reddish-brown, and in severe cases the skin can crack, bleed, and produce a foul odor.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune skin condition. When you have psoriasis, your immune system mistakenly attacks your skin cells, causing them to grow rapidly and swell. The skin cell overgrowth forms a rash characterized by raised red marks and scaly white patches.

Psoriasis can cause a rash anywhere on the body, including the buttocks. Look for red or pink patches of raised skin that look cracked, scaly, and rough.

Ringworm (jock itch)

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can affect skin in several different parts of the body, including the following:

  • groin
  • thighs
  • genitals
  • butt

It can affect men, women, and children. Ringworm, which gets its name from the circular rash it produces on the skin, is often called jock itch or athlete’s foot, depending on its location.

Symptoms include:

  • itchy red spots
  • ring-shaped, circular rash
  • scaly or cracked skin
  • hair loss

Lichen sclerosus

Lichen sclerosus is a skin condition that most often affects the genital and anal area, but can affect other areas too. It’s most common among women who are postmenopausal, but it can affect men and children too.

Symptoms include:

  • smooth, shiny, white spots
  • redness, bruising, scales, or cracking
  • skin that is thin and wrinkled or easy to tear
  • bleeding and blistering
  • itchiness and pain
  • pain during urination, sex, or bowel movements

Folliculitis (butt acne)

People often mistake butt acne for regular acne. Pimples on your butt don’t form in clogged pores like facial acne. Instead, they form in clogged hair follicles.

In people with folliculitis, hair follicles become infected after being irritated, usually by friction or shaving. If you notice small, painful pimples on your butt or groin, they are probably infected with bacteria. These red bumps can be itchy and form whiteheads.

Candida (yeast) skin infection

Candida is a fungus that frequently infects the skin, often in warm, moist areas like the buttocks and groin. Candida is the most common cause of diaper rash in babies and adults.

People with diabetes, or who are obese or taking antibiotics, are at an increased risk. Yeast infections of the skin can occur in both men and women.

Symptoms include:

  • intense itching
  • red skin rash that grows
  • small red bumps that look like pimples

Incontinence

People who have problems with bladder and bowel control often develop butt rashes. This is particularly true of adults who wear diapers, are bedridden, or are confined to a wheelchair for long periods of time.

Excess moisture between the buttocks and in the groin area provides an ideal environment for bacterial and fungal growth. Symptoms of incontinence-associated dermatitis include:

  • redness and irritation
  • peeling
  • pimply rash
  • rawness

What Could It Be?

Genital psoriasis can look like a lot of other things. Some aren’t that common, but it’s important for your doctor to rule them out.

Seborrheic dermatitis (SD): You usually get this itchy red rash on your scalp or face, but it can show up in other places, too, including your groin, pubic area, and genitals. In sensitive areas, SD is bright red with almost no scale. Some people have both SD and psoriasis.

Yeast infection: It’s normal to blame itching and burning in the genital area on yeast infections, because so many women have them. But you get them inside your vagina, while psoriasis is on the vulva just outside it. You can usually treat yeast infections with over-the-counter meds. But if you have psoriasis, these can make your symptoms worse.

Tinea cruris (jock itch): This is a type of yeast infection that happens mostly in men. It causes itchy red spots, mainly around the creases in your upper thighs. You usually don’t have it on your penis.

Contact dermatitis: This itchy rash starts when you come in contact with something you’re allergic to. Hundreds of things can be to blame, including:

  • Soaps
  • Creams
  • Lotions
  • Laundry detergents
  • Dyes
  • Fabrics
  • Condoms

Eczema: This skin condition causes itchy red patches and thin cracks in your skin. Women can have it on their vulva, around the anus, and between their butt cheeks. Men usually get blisters on their penis. One simple way to ease symptoms: Add two cups of vinegar to a warm bath and soak for 15 minutes. Then seal the moisture in with a thick, non-fragranced cream.

Lichen planus: You can get this common skin problem almost anywhere, including your mouth, scalp, nails, and genitals. It usually looks like clusters of shiny, purplish-red bumps. On your genitals, the skin can be bright red and raw, with open sores. In women, tissue can break down and change the shape of the vulva. Lichen planus can also make sex painful for both men and women.

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. This rare form of skin cancer looks a lot like psoriasis. If your doctor thinks you may have it, they might take a small skin sample — a biopsy — to be sure.

Chafing of the Buttocks

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Hallllp, There’s a Rash on My Butt

If you notice acne-like bumps, you probably have… folliculitis

Here’s good news: You probably don’t have butt acne.

The bad news? Folliculitis looks just like butt acne. When hair follicles get damaged, they let in bacteria and get infected. This produces a rash of small red bumps with pus in them, centered on hair follicles.

Skin that stays hot and damp is most susceptible, since the friction can lead to irritation and the humid environment lets bacteria thrive. This type of rash can happen anywhere you have hair follicles, but the bum is prime folliculitis territory.

Working out a lot can increase your chances of getting the rash, as can a summer of humid weather and not-so-breathable underwear. A hot tub could also be the culprit — the betrayal! Pseudomonas folliculitis is a version of the rash specifically caused by unclean hot tubs.

More good news: Folliculitis is extremely common and mostly goes away on its own.

Try to keep the area dry, always change clothes after a workout, and gently clean your booty during showers. Don’t scrub! That will only irritate your bum and make the rash stick around longer. Also, stay out of dodgy hot tubs.

If you notice dry, scaly skin with extreme itchiness, you probably have… eczema

Eczema sounds serious, but it’s really just another name for atopic dermatitis, a rash that tends to happen in people with asthma, a family history of eczema, and seasonal allergies.

Eczema can look different from person to person but is more common in certain areas of the body, such as behind the knees or in the folds of the arms. It’s itchy by definition and is often called “the itch that rashes.”

Though the cause isn’t clear, eczema pops up when the immune system decides to go overboard and cause inflammation of the skin. People may have different triggers that cause these inflammatory flare-ups.

Sometimes detergents cause irritation, soaps or super hot showers dry out and irritate your skin, or general stress freaks out your immune system. The best way to avoid a flare-up is to keep your skin moisturized and reduce stress as much as you can.

Most importantly, don’t scratch! That will irritate or break your skin, which only makes the rash stick around and itch even more.

If you have an itchy rash that resembles eczema, has well-defined edges, and won’t go away after normal treatment, then you may have contact dermatitis. This is still incredibly common — 10 percent of the population will have atopic dermatitis at some point in their lives.

If butt eczema (or eczema anywhere else on your body) keeps coming back, see a dermatologist for a prescription balm or medication.

If you notice dry, red bumps after trying a new detergent, you probably have… contact dermatitis

When you lather up with a new soap and then break out in an itchy red rash, you can thank our friend contact dermatitis. You can get contact dermatitis two ways: from an allergic reaction or irritation.

Allergic contact dermatitis usually flares up when you’re exposed to chemicals you’re allergic to in cosmetics, cleansers, or nickel or when you come in contact with poison oak or poison ivy.

Irritant contact dermatitis occurs when your skin touches a toxic substance like bleach, kerosene, or detergents. It can also occur as a result of friction in spots where your skin rubs together.

Both forms of dermatitis cause redness, itchiness, swelling, and often dry skin that feels stretched out. Luckily, to resolve contact dermatitis, you just have to avoid whatever is irritating your skin.

Often a new detergent, soap, or other cleanser is to blame. You can also develop an allergy to something you’ve used without problems in the past. Or maybe you have some nickel-based butt jewelry that’s causing it — no judgment!

Whatever the cause may be, you can treat contact dermatitis by getting rid of the culprit, keeping the area clean, and covering the rash with petroleum jelly.

If itching keeps you up at night, you can take over-the-counter oral antihistamines. Topical steroids may be helpful in treating the rash as long as the culprit topical is removed. As with eczema, don’t scratch. It’ll damage your skin and make things worse.

In the case of irritant contact dermatitis caused by friction, your skin may break, inviting a bacterial infection. To avoid all that, make sure any skin folds stay as dry as possible and use petroleum jelly or zinc oxide to keep moisture out and reduce friction.

If you can’t figure out the cause of ongoing contact dermatitis, your doctor may give you a patch test to check for an underlying allergy so your butt can get back to normal.

If you notice raised redness with white scale-like flakes, you probably have… psoriasis

Psoriasis is caused by your immune system going bananas and producing extra skin cells. This causes a scaly-looking, often very dry, and sometimes itchy rash. Usually psoriasis occurs on the elbows and knees, but it can grace your butt with its presence, too.

Sadly, there’s no cure and the triggers are unclear. If you have a family history of psoriasis, you’re more likely to develop the rash. Stress, certain medications, and heavy alcohol intake could also cause a flare-up.

It’s normal for the rash to appear and reappear in cycles. During a flare-up you can use moisturizers, topical retinoids, tar soap, or salicylic acid to calm your skin.

Prescription topical corticosteroids are first line for treatment of psoriasis. Sunlight therapy can also help, but please use caution when exposing your butt outdoors.

For severe psoriasis, see your doctor for prescription medication.

If you notice red bumps forming a circle, you probably have… ringworm

Ringworm is a fungal infection that usually shows up in circular shapes on the skin. It’s not ideal to learn you have a fungal infection, but hey, at least it’s not actual worms!

Though ringworm sounds like the grossest of maladies, it’s incredibly common. In fact, if you’ve had athlete’s foot or jock itch, you’ve had ringworm. OK, maybe it’s not that comforting to hear, but the point is it’s very treatable.

You can get ringworm from locker room showers, sharing clothes with someone who has it, or an infected pet.

Thankfully, any cream designated for jock itch should clear up the rash in a few days to a week. Look for an antifungal ointment with Clotrimazole, Miconazole, Terbinafine, or Ketoconazole.

If you notice bright red patches with red bumps and scattered pustules, you probably have… cutaneous candidiasis

“Yeast infections — not just for your vagina!” — a.k.a. the rejected slogan for cutaneous candidiasis, a fungal infection that usually occurs in or near folds of skin.

This is the same fungus that causes yeast infections and diaper rash. Though butt-based candidiasis isn’t common, it can happen, especially if the bum area stays moist and warm for long periods of time. To treat it, use antifungal creams and keep the area clean and dry.

If you have singular or small clusters of bumps, you probably have… bug bites

You don’t have to go skinny dipping for a bug to bite your bottom. If you’ve been camping, at the beach, or at an evening barbecue while wearing a skirt, the source of itchy bumps might be bug bites.

If the bumps are raised and itchy but not especially painful, don’t worry. But if you have other symptoms of an allergic reaction, like fever or difficulty breathing, see a doctor immediately.

Most of the time, bug bites will be from harmless flies or mosquitoes, but if your symptoms get worse after a few days, it’s best to seek medical help.

Also, make sure these bites aren’t from bed bugs. Bed bug bites vary from person to person, but they usually come in small clusters. You can find the little buggers in the seams of your mattress.

Though the bites themselves aren’t dangerous, having bed bugs is a huge pain, and you’ll want to take care of it immediately by washing everything, deep-cleaning, potentially getting rid of your mattress, and calling your landlord (if you’re in an apartment).

If you have small pus- or fluid-filled bumps in a small cluster, you probably have… herpes

Genital herpes doesn’t always stay on the genitals. It can show up on your bum or get transferred there after you’ve scratched another flaring area.

Herpes is not something to be ashamed of. According to the CDC, one in six people ages 14 to 49 have the disease. If you’ve had unprotected sex and suspect your bum rash might be herpes, see a doctor to get prescription treatment.

Though the condition is easily treatable, it can have adverse effects if it goes undiagnosed. While the flare-up is happening, you should avoid sexual contact, since there’s a higher risk of spreading the condition while the rash is present.

If you have a prickly rash during hot weather, you probably have… heat rash

An extra-hot day at the beach could be to blame for the prickly-feeling rash on your behind. Heat rash happens when sweat gets trapped in your pores. The irritated skin usually forms small clear or white bumps.

Adults often get the rash where skin rubs together, so it may start on your thighs and work its way up to your bum. Luckily, heat rash goes away when the heat dies down. Cool your butt off, keep it dry, and avoid getting in any literal hot seats for a few days afterward.

If you have painless rough, bumpy skin, you probably have… keratosis pilaris

Guess what? Chicken butt.

No, seriously. Keratosis pilaris will give you chicken-like skin on your butt and many other areas of your body. The small, hard bumps make the skin feel coarse, but they’re not usually painful.

Though keratosis pilaris is caused by dead skin clogging your pores, there’s no known cause or cure. Luckily, it’s totally harmless, and since it’s on your rear, it’s pretty easy to conceal (should you so desire).

Still, it’s understandable if you don’t want to look like you have constant goosebumps on your butt. Try to keep the area well-moisturized with a product containing lactic acid.

Limit exfoliation to only a few times a week since constantly scrubbing and picking the areas has not been shown to be helpful.

If you have extremely painful bumps in clusters, you probably have… shingles

Unfortunately, once you’ve had the chicken pox, the virus stays in your body. Sometimes, years later, it can activate like a Jason Bourne sleeper cell and come back to attack in the form of shingles.

Shingles shows up as small, clustered red bumps. Though the bumps can sort of look like pimples or hives, shingles is extremely painful and requires a visit to the doctor. Usually, it affects older adults or people with suppressed immune systems, but it can happen at any age.

Most of the time shingles won’t show up on your butt first (it’s more likely to hit your back, chest, stomach, or face), but if your bum bumps come along with deep, sharp pains, shingles could be the culprit.

Once the disease is diagnosed, you’ll get a prescription antiviral treatment. The treatment works best when you get it as soon as you see the signs of shingles, so don’t wait until the rash worsens or you’re in a lot of pain.

If you suspect shingles, go to the doctor right away.

If you’ve had trouble holding your bladder and you have a large red rash, you probably have… incontinence-associated dermatitis

Sometimes people pee their pants — even adults. If this happens often and your skin is exposed the urine for a long time, you can develop incontinence-associated dermatitis.

People with serious incontinence who aren’t able to clean themselves in a timely way can get this rash. Since the rash comes about from the skin staying wet (and being exposed to bacteria), it’s important to keep the area clean and dry.

How to Care for a Fungal Rash

Who is at risk for developing a fungal rash?

People who are more likely to develop a fungal rash include those who:

  • Are taking high-dose or long-term antibiotics or immunosuppressant drugs and/or have had a change in these or other medications
  • Are overweight
  • Are diabetics
  • Are incontinent (moisture gets trapped against the skin, causing skin damage)
  • Perspire heavily
  • Have a loss of mobility (are unable to maintain independent toileting)
  • Have used a new skin care product that irritates the skin

What does a fungal rash look like, feel like, and where is it more likely to occur?

A fungal rash is fiery-red in color and can spread across a large area. The color may be more intense at the center and may lack a distinct border. Smaller, more defined lesions may be present on the outer perimeter of the rash area. The rash may itch or burn. The rash is commonly seen across the buttocks but may extend into the groin area and thighs.

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Jock Itch

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What Is Jock Itch?

Jock itch is a skin infection caused by a fungus. It’s called jock itch because it’s commonly seen in active people who sweat a lot while playing sports. But anyone can get this infection.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Jock Itch?

Jock itch (or tinea cruris) usually causes redness, flakiness, peeling, or cracking of the skin in the groin, thigh, and buttocks area. The rash can look circular, with well-defined or even elevated edges. It can also spread to the area around the anus (where poop comes out). It may itch, sting, or burn, or simply feel uncomfortable.

What Causes Jock Itch?

A fungus is a microscopic plant-like organism that thrives in damp, warm environments. Fungi usually aren’t dangerous. But when they infect the skin, they cause mild but annoying rashes (also known as tinea infections).

Jock itch is caused by fungi that normally live on the skin, hair, and nails, called dermatophytes. When the groin, upper thighs, and buttocks area gets warm and moist, they can grow out of control and start to cause symptoms.

Is Jock Itch Contagious?

Yes. Jock itch can spread from one person to another by skin-to-skin contact, especially in warm, damp environments. It can also spread to other areas of the body if someone touches the affected area and touches other body parts. Jock itch often spreads from a fungal infection on the feet, known as athlete’s foot.

Who Gets Jock Itch?

Jock itch can affect anyone who tends to sweat a lot. It most often affects guys, but girls can get it too.

Things that can make jock itch more likely include:

  • lots of sweating while playing sports
  • hot and humid weather
  • friction from wearing tight clothes (like bathing suits) for long periods
  • sharing clothes or towels with others
  • not drying the skin well after sweating, bathing, or swimming
  • some health conditions (such as diabetes, obesity, or immune system problems)

How Is Jock Itch Diagnosed?

A doctor can often diagnose jock itch just by looking at it and asking about symptoms and a person’s lifestyle. Sometimes the doctor will scrape off a small sample of the flaky infected skin to look at under a microscope or to test in a laboratory.

How Is Jock Itch Treated?

Over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal creams, sprays or powders may solve the problem if it is mild. More serious infections may need prescription medicine, either topical (applied to skin) or in pill form.

You should use the medicine as long as is recommended, even if the rash seems to be getting better. If not, the infection can come back. Some people regularly use medicated powders and sprays to prevent this from happening.

To help heal the skin, it’s important to keep the affected area clean and dry. Be sure to:

  • Wash and then dry the area with a clean towel. (Use a separate clean towel for the rest of your body.)
  • Apply the antifungal cream, powder, or spray as directed on the label.
  • Change clothing, especially underwear, every day.
  • Treat any other fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot.

How Long Does Jock Itch Last?

Jock itch is usually less severe than other tinea infections. If it’s not treated, though, it can last for weeks or months.

Can Jock Itch Be Prevented?

Jock itch often can be prevented. To avoid it:

  • Keep the groin area clean and dry. Wash daily and dry off completely, particularly after showering, swimming, and sweaty activities.
  • Use clean towels and avoid sharing clothing and towels.
  • Wash athletic supporters (jock straps) as often as possible.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing.
  • Change clothing, especially underwear, every day.
  • Treat any other fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot. If you have athlete’s foot, dry your feet with a separate towel. Then, put socks on before underwear so that fungus from your feet doesn’t get on the underwear.
  • Use a powder in the groin area every day to help reduce sweating.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD Date reviewed: March 2018

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

What is dermatitis herpetiformis (DH)?

Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an intensely itchy skin disease. It causes clusters of small blisters and bumps. It typically affects people in their 30s to 50s, but it can happen at any age. This lifelong condition affects more men than women.

What causes dermatitis herpetiformis?

Despite its name, the herpes virus does not cause DH.

DH is caused by a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and grains. When you have DH and eat food with gluten, the gluten combines with an antibody from the intestines. As the gluten and antibody circulate in the blood, they clog small blood vessels in the skin. This is what causes the rash.

Who is at risk for dermatitis herpetiformis?

DH is found most often in people of northern European heritage. The following diseases increase your risk of DH:

  • Autoimmune thyroid disease

  • Celiac disease

  • Type 1 diabetes

  • Sjögren syndrome

  • Lupus

What are the symptoms of dermatitis herpetiformis?

The following are the most common symptoms of DH. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Clusters of itchy, small blisters and bumps, mostly on the elbows, lower back, buttocks, knees, and back of the head

  • Severe itching and burning

  • Erosions and scratches are often seen on the skin

The gut may also have the same allergy to gluten. This is known as celiac disease. You can have both DH and celiac. Some cases of celiac become cancerous. Because of this, if you have celiac disease, it is important to see a healthcare provider who specializes in the stomach and intestines (a gastroenterologist).

The symptoms of DH may look like other skin conditions. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is dermatitis herpetiformis diagnosed?

In addition to a medical history and physical exam, DH is usually confirmed with a skin biopsy and a specialized type of immunofluorescent stain that helps to detect the IgA antibodies. You may also have a blood tests to find certain antibodies.

How is dermatitis herpetiformis treated?

DH may be well-controlled with treatment. Specific treatment will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the condition

  • Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, and therapies

  • Expectation for the course of the condition

  • Your opinion or preference

The symptoms of DH may go away if you cut all gluten from your diet. Healing may take several weeks to months. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe a medicine called dapsone. This medicine suppresses the skin response and may improve symptoms. However, the medicine has some side effects, including anemia. If dapsone is prescribed for you, your healthcare provider will carefully monitor your blood count.

Can dermatitis herpetiformis be prevented?

There is no known way to prevent this disease. You may be able to prevent complications by avoiding foods that contain gluten. Although difficult, sticking to a gluten-free diet can reduce the amount of medicines needed to manage the disease.

What are the complications of dermatitis herpetiformis?

People with DH often have celiac disease, which may develop into intestinal cancer. Thyroid disease may also develop.

Living with dermatitis herpetiformis

It is important to follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations about a gluten-free diet and medicines. Iodine and some nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) can trigger the condition. So, you may be told to avoid iodized salt and certain NSAIDs.

When should I call my healthcare provider?

If your symptoms worsen or you develop new symptoms, call your healthcare provider.

Key points about dermatitis herpetiformis

  • Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an intensely itchy skin disease. It causes clusters of small blisters and small bumps.

  • DH is caused by a sensitivity to gluten.

  • The symptoms of DH may clear when all gluten is cut from the diet.

4 Skin Problems You Can Get on Your Butt

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Skin problems can happen anywhere on your body—and that includes your butt. From acne to stretch marks and everything in between, see how to treat and prevent these common skin problems down below.

Pimples

What they are:Â Small red lesions on your skin. Though you normally see them on your face, “you can get them anywhere you have hair follicles, including your butt,” notes Chicago derm Carolyn Jacob, MD. Oil and dead skin get clogged in the follicle, causing inflammation and a killer zit.

Rx:Â Use a benzoyl peroxide cream to destroy acne-causing bacteria. If that doesn’t do the trick, see your dermatologist for prescription topical antibiotics or Retin-A cream. One way to stop pimples from popping up in the first place: Peel off your workout clothes immediately after exercising (all that moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria), then jump into the shower.

RELATED: 16 Adult Acne Myths, Busted

Stretch marks

What they are:Â White or red lines caused by your skin stretching from rapid weight changes (say, during pregnancy). The lines form when elastin and collagen fibers just below the surface weaken and tear, leaving streaks of indented skin. Stretch marks tend to run in families, so if your mom has them, you’re more likely to as well.

Rx: Try to stay at a stable weight. Gaining—or gaining and losing—weight quickly will stretch the skin, Dr. Jacob says. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about these telltale lines. If they’re still pink, a prescription topical retinoid like Retin-A can fade them (it stimulates collagen growth, which helps plump out skin). If they’ve turned white, a laser treatment at your MD’s office may help—again by stimulating collagen—but the results usually aren’t that great.

RELATED: Erase 10 Years From Head to Toe

Cellulite

What it is:Â Basically, a fancy name for the dimpled flesh caused by bulging fat cells beneath the skin. It appears bumpy because the fat is pushing against the connective tissues under the skin surface. “You can notice cellulite as early as your 20s, when the skin starts to get lax,” Dr. Jacob says. It may be more noticeable if you’re overweight, though thin women can be plagued too, depending on their genetics (thanks, Mom!). In fact, about 90% of all women have cellulite.

Rx:Â Your best bet is to lose excess weight and exercise regularly. “The less fat, the less cellulite,” Dr. Jacob explains. In the meantime, try applying a cream containing caffeine (such as Clarins Body Lift Cellulite Control, $43, amazon.com), which temporarily tightens skin, making your cottage-cheese marks less apparent.

RELATED: 15 Myths and Facts About Cellulite

Butt rash

What it is:Â If a red, itchy rash develops between your butt cheeks, it might be intertrigo, caused by the chafing together of warm, moist skin, commonly after you work out.

Rx:Â Shower immediately after you exercise, dry yourself thoroughly, and apply a small amount of hydrocortisone cream. If the rash doesn’t disappear in a few days, see your doctor to rule out a fungal infection or other skin condition, like psoriasis (the butt crack area is a classic place to see psoriasis).

RELATED: 21 Tips and Tricks for Treating Psoriasis

Rash on the buttocks

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