Whether it's an infection, a hygiene issue, or digestive troubles, there are plenty of things that can affect the smell of your butt. Odors are often an incredibly embarrassing issue to deal with, but more importantly they can be a sign something's wrong with your health. That's why it's a good idea to pay attention and not let any odd scents go on ignored.
"It’s important to monitor your body for foul odors since it can be a sign of an underlying medical problem, hygiene, or digestive issue," says One Medical primary care physician Dr. Jessica Lue. "If you’re unsure about what is causing a foul odor or how to help your hygiene issue, it’s important to seek medical care to find the underlying cause."
Your doctor can talk with you about your diet, your pooping schedule, and your bathing habits in order to determine what, exactly, is causing a problem down below. It could be an infection, an abscess, or just the fact you had too much dairy at lunch. Whatever the case may be, cleaning up your act (sometimes literally) can do the trick. Read on for some possible culprits, as well as what to do about them.
1. Sexually Transmitted Infections
While we're all well aware of STIs involving our genitals, it's important to remember they can affect other areas, too. "If an individual participates in anal sex (as the receiver) with a partner who has a bacterial sexually transmitted infection like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or trichomoniasis, they can contract the infection in their rectum," note the experts at HealthLabs.com. "Many infections are accompanied by...abnormal odors." So remember to ask you doctor for a full check up.
Everyone farts, but some people pass more gas than others. "Excessive gas often comes from things that you have eaten or the way your body is processing different carbohydrates," Lue says. If you ate something that didn't agree with you, or have an underlying health issue, your farts might even be smellier than usual.
3. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
While it's obviously normal and healthy to poop and pass gas throughout the day, IBS can make you go way more often. "If excessive gas is your problem, try to track your diet to see what might be triggering it," Lue says. "You may need to see a medical primary care provider if [you're] having a hard time figuring out your triggers."
4. Dietary Sensitivities
Aside from IBS issues, you might notice certain food groups make you pass gas more often. As Lue says, some people are sensitive to gluten. Others are lactose intolerant, which can lead to gas and even diarrhea. Eliminating these things from your diet can help clear up any side effects that might lead to odd smells.
5. Not Wiping Properly
Of course you should wipe after going to the bathroom, but it's not necessary to really get in there with a cloth. "Pre-moistened wipes often have chemicals [that] can irritate skin and cause pain," Lue says. "It’s best to wipe firm enough to get all your stool but not too hard to cause an abrasion. You can have a unscented, non-medicated, chemical-free wipes, but the key is to make sure you are wiping so that you feel you are clean and fresh."
6. Tight Fitting Clothing
While you probably want your jeans to hug all the right areas, be careful about wearing pants that are super tight. "Tight fitting clothing such as underwear or pants ... can cause excessive sweat and reduce air circulation around your genitals," Lue says. "This can cause skin infections and even lead to changes in your pH." Vaginal and yeast infections can result, leading to fishy smells.
7. Sweat In Your Underwear
Tight fitting clothing can also cause what's known not-so-medically as "swamp ass." This endearing term refers to the sweat and moisture that collections in the butt region. As noted on the fitness blog DaveyWaveyFitness.com, swamp ass can cause a bad odor as the sweat collects in your underwear and clothing. This is all thanks moisture mixing with bacteria, so keeping clean (showering, using natural wipes, etc.) can help.
8. Synthetic Fabrics
Tight clothes can up your chances of getting swamp ass, but synthetic fabrics can make it even worse. That's because fake fabrics don't allow your bits to breathe, thus keeping sweat and bacteria trapped inside. If you want to prevent things from getting too smelly, only wear natural fabrics like cotton.
9. A Case Of Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids, according to the health website MayoClinic.org, are swollen veins in your anus and rectum. They can be external or internal, and are a result from straining while pooping, sitting for long periods of time on the toilet, pregnancy, and low-fiber diets. If you notice them, you might feel itchy, bleed a little, or have some pain. But some people do report a smell.
Constipation not only feels uncomfortable, but it can lead to smelly issues, too. According to health writer Joseph Bennington-Castro on EverydayHealth.com, constipation can be caused by a low-fiber diet, digestive problems, and some medications. It can lead to hard stools, difficulty going to the bathroom, and a feeling of blockage in your intestines. When this goes on for too long, stool can definitely back up and cause odor.
11. An Abscess
OK, so this one sounds extra gross, but sometimes poop can clog the glands in your butt causing what's known as an "anal abscess." It then turns into an infected cavity full of pus near the anus or rectum. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and fever. But obviously any kind of infection can lead to an odor, too.
Dealing with smells in your butt area is never fun. You'll want to get rid of them for peace of mind, but it's also important to clear up any issues for the sake of your health. If you've been smelling somethin' odd, make sure you talk to your doctor.
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