We all know how elusive the perfect night of sleep can be. From a room that’s too hot to the millions of thoughts that might be running through your mind, there’s no shortage of potential interruptions. That’s why it’s important for us to determine which annoyances we can control. If you find yourself kept up at night by an irritating itch around your backside, you are not alone.
There are steps you can take to identify the cause of any nighttime itching you may notice around your bum. Whether these symptoms are more noticeable at night, or specific to nighttime, there are plenty of ways to treat this discomfort.
Itching may be more common at night due to activities that typically precede sleep: dinner, drinking, use of the toilet, and showering, for example. Additionally, we may become more sensitive to irritants at night since there is less stimulus to distract us than throughout the rest of the day.
So what could be the root of your nighttime itch?
Bathroom habits and hygiene
Be sure to wipe correctly following the use of the toilet. You may notice that wiping too hard can cause irritation and over-dry the area around the anus. Alternatively, wiping too gently can leave some fecal residue, which might contribute to additional irritation and the potential for infection in any areas where the skin might be chapped or broken.
For the most success in the bathroom, consider using two-ply toilet paper and wiping gently from front to back. You also might also find a bidet useful, as water pressure can produce a better clean.
Hemorrhoids or anal fissures
If you find that your anal area is itching at night, it’s possible that you might be experiencing hemorrhoids or anal fissures. These are preexisting conditions that may cause itch and could be exacerbated by nighttime use of the toilet, diet, or nighttime sweating.
A number of foods can irritate the anus and produce an itch. This includes, but is not limited, to:
- spices and spicy foods
- coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated)
- alcoholic beverages (especially beer and wine)
- citrus fruits
- vitamin C tablets
If you’re experiencing an itchy anus, consider temporarily cutting the above food and drink from your diet for 48 hours to see if you notice a difference.
In general, sweat can irritate the skin because it contributes to heat retention and dryness of the skin.
Itchiness at night can be more prevalent because of night sweats. Combatting the cause of night sweats can relieve itching around the bum and anus.
Some tips include:
Medications taken before bed
A side effect of some medications can be itchiness. Read and understand the side effects of any medication you’re taking.
Examples of medications that may contribute to nighttime anal itching are blood pressure medications and antibiotics. When antibiotics kill the “good bacteria” in your gut, you may experience diarrhea. Diarrhea may worsen the symptoms of anal itching
Fabrics that are tight and restrictive can cause irritation. Try wearing 100 percent cotton, loose underwear to combat itching around your bum at night.
Threadworms (pinworms) are parasitic worms that infect human digestive systems. They cause the most itchiness at night when females are laying their eggs around the anus. Threadworms are able to survive on clothing and bed sheets, which provides the opportunity to transfer the worms from one person to another.
They are most common in children and can be detected by doing a stool sample. Threadworms can be treated with medication and a routine of strict hygiene measures.
Many people experience skin diseases on their bodies. This includes your buttocks and anus, which are not exempt from psoriasis, eczema, and others.
Consider seeing a dermatologist to rule out skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema if you have the following symptoms around your anus:
When menstruating, it’s considered safest to sleep with a menstrual pad. The added moisture from menstruating at night can contribute to increased itch and irritation around the anus, vagina, and buttocks.
Throughout the day, remember to change your pads every 4 hours and to keep your underwear fresh. At nighttime, opt for extra-absorbent pads or menstrual cups to keep added moisture or discomfort at bay.
Yeast infections may occur in and near the vagina, penis, or anus, and may contribute to nighttime itching.
Additionally, common symptoms of several sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may include itching of the vagina, penis, and anus. If you’re sexually active, participate in regular STD testing.
Nighttime sex can also be a contributor to vaginal itchiness at night. If you are noticing extra itchiness after intercourse, consider the following tips:
- regulate your vaginal pH
- use lubrication to combat dryness
Children can be particularly susceptible to experiencing itchiness around their bottoms at night. The following items are likely causes:
- poor hygienic practices (including improper washing of hands and wiping of anus)
- toy sharing (which can contribute to the spread of bacteria and threadworms)
While there are several possible causes for an itchy bum at night, most symptoms can be relieved with the following tips.
For immediate relief, the use of ointments or gels can be an effective way to minimize nighttime anal itching.
- zinc oxide ointment
- petroleum jelly
- hydrocortisone 1-percent cream
Wearing breathable fabrics to bed
Wearing breathable underwear at night is important for maintaining comfort.
Keeping cool at night
Try combating night sweats by avoiding alcohol before bed, keeping your bedroom cool, and using breathable sheets.
Employing safer hygiene practices
Being intentional about your hygiene can both improve and solve symptoms of nighttime itching around the anus:
- Thoroughly wash hands following bathroom use to prevent the spread of bacteria to your body and others.
- Gently wipe the anus after pooping.
- Consider using wet wipes or a bidet for a more thorough and gentler clean around the anus. Be sure to pat dry.
- Try to maintain a dry environment around your bum.
Consider making dietary adjustments
A variety of foods and drinks can contribute to anal itching. Consider eliminating spicy food, coffee, and alcohol from your diet temporarily to improve the symptoms of anal itching at night.
While a lot of symptoms of an itchy bum at night are mild, see a doctor if:
- you have persistent itchiness that doesn’t go away with home remedies
- you have persistent bleeding, scabbing, or other symptoms around your anus and bum
- if you suspect that you might have an underlying skin condition, STD, or hemorrhoids
- if anyone in your family has threadworms
A doctor will be able to help you determine the cause and improve your symptoms.
Bum itchiness can be aggravating when you’re trying to sleep peacefully. You should start seeing improvements in your symptoms by making changes in your day-to-day routine.
By being mindful of your hygienic practices, diet, and sleep environment, you should be able to determine the cause of your nighttime itching. If your nighttime itching persists or worsens, schedule a visit with a doctor for additional advice.