Nothing is particularly glamorous about your butt (except maybe how it looks in your favorite pair of jeans), but it's a body part that should not be ignored. Just like the rest of your body, your anal health is important, and there are a number of common, not-so-healthy mistakes people make with their butt. It might not be something you think about all the time, but just like any other part of your body, taking proper care of your booty is important.
"Anal health is so often ignored because it is deemed taboo by some to discuss this part of our human anatomy," says Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, M.D. over email. "In order to maintain good overall health though, you must take care of each and every body part, including the anus. You should never be reluctant or embarrassed to discuss any health concerns with your doctor that may arise regarding this or any other region of your body."
Because it's not often discussed, you might not be aware of the correct way to go about dealing with your bum, whether it has to do with anal sex, hygiene, or any other concerns. Here are nine common mistakes that people often make with their rear end.
1. Not Using Protection During Anal Sex
Wearing a condom is just as essential for anal sex. "It's important to remember that STD's can be transmitted through anal sex as well as vaginal sex," says Dr. Jennifer Caudle over email. "In fact, the CDC states that anal sex is the 'riskiest sexual behavior for getting and transmitting HIV for men and women.'"
2. Using Scented Baby Wipes
Baby wipes can be a great tool for cleaning after intercourse, but choose what kind you buy carefully: Baby wipes with fragrance and scents can be irritating to your skin. This can cause dermatitis and cause your behind to become painful or itchy.
3. Ignoring Your Constipation
If you're experiencing more constipation than normal, you should see your doctor, or it could lead to other issues. "In the case of constipation, it is important to understand the cause of your constipation/bowel changes," says Caudle. "It's also important to treat constipation because if it is left untreated, it can lead to problems with hemorrhoids."
4. Ignoring Bloody Stools
"Ignoring blood in the stool is a 'no-no,'" says Caudle. "Causes of rectal bleeding range from hemorrhoids and anal fissures, to ulcers and cancer. It's true that not all causes of rectal bleeding are bad, but your doctor will need examine you and run tests to determine what the cause of the bleeding is."
5. Wearing Thongs Frequently
A lot of women don't think twice about wearing thongs daily, but this particular type of underwear can cause some issues down there. "Thongs can potentially facilitate the spread of bacteria from the anal region to the vagina," says Okeke-Igbokwe. If you're someone who is particularly prone to vaginal infection, wearing a thong can increase your susceptibly, so you might want to switch to other types of underwear when your panty line isn't an issue.
6. Not Using Lube During Anal Play
Unlike your vagina, your anus doesn't produce natural lubrication, which means it's easier to tear the tissue inside the anus from penetration, according to WebMD. This makes using lubrication during any form of anal play important, as these tears cause bacteria and viruses to more easily enter the bloodstream, which could also increase your risk of STDs.
7. Practicing Vaginal Sex After Anal Sex Without A New Condom
One major mistake to avoid is switching from anal to vaginal sex without using a new condom, according to Self. The bacteria from your behind can enter your vagina and wreak havoc, including upping your risk for bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, UTIs, and more.
8. Wiping Back To Front
"Wiping from back to front may introduce bacteria into the urethra and lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs)," says Okeke-Igbokwe. "Wiping in the correct direction (front to back) after using the bathroom is one way to help prevent UTIs."
9. Excessive Wiping
"Keeping the anus clean after stooling is a key part of good hygiene," says Dr. Toyia James-Stevenson, gastroenterologist at IU Health, over email. "However, wiping excessively can lead to the development of irritation and redness. Additionally, the use of fragrant toilet paper or wipes can worsen irritation of the anus." It may be better to wear a pad if the excessive wiping is due to any leaking following going to the bathroom.