Health tips

Itchy bottoms

Toddlers and preschoolers commonly suffer with this complaint.  Here come the 3 top causes and how to treat them:

WORMS

The female threadworm can lay thousands of eggs around the anus.  She conveniently sticks the eggs down with a mucus that causes itching.

Worms are common in children because their hygiene rating isn’t too great…  They touch their bums, pick up the worm eggs under their play-doh paint-stained (“over my dead body will you cut them”) long finger nails and they then proceed to stick said wormy-eggy-covered hands into their mouths (or even better, the mouths of their friends/enemies at nursery.)

You can tell that your child has worms by looking at their anus in the night/early morning as that is when the worm eggs are laid.

If you fancy doing a little “Blue Peter meets Embarrassing Bodies” – grab a piece of tape and press it around your child’s anus.  This will pick up the eggs.  You can then take them to your GP (who will probably be freaked out and equally  flabbergasted that someone has actually followed that bum-taping advice we only ever hear about at medical school.)

Treatment is very simple– a one off dose of medication for your child and all family members.  This can be repeated at 2 weeks if there is any further evidence of infection.

As well as the medication it is important to wash all bedding, hoover and dust all surfacesand clean under everyone’s fingernails.  The eggs can survive outside of the body for weeks and can be wafted about in the air then breathed in (if this isn’t an advert for wearing a face-mask at all times, I don’t know what is.)

Please note– for pregnant women and children under the age of 2, speak to your GP as it is generally not recommended for these groups to take anti-parasitic medication.

FISSURES

These are little splits/cuts in the skin around the anus often caused by your little one pushing out a constipated/super solid turd.

Children may frequently encounter constipation, especially around the time of potty training.  They hold the poo in (because they are busy eating crayons/pressing play-doh into your carpet/shoving marbles up their noses etc), so the poop becomes hard.

Once it eventually passes- it is so large and solid that it stretches the skin around the anus and can cause a little cut/tear that may bleed.

This fissure is often itchy or painful.  It makes passing poo uncomfortable which leads to children refusing to because of the fear of pain.  This causes more constipation, the fissure is split open again and so on (otherwise known as the preschooler poop circle of life.)

If your GP has confirmed that your child has a fissure, the treatment is to keep the poo soft so that the little one realises it is not painful to do a motion.  You can do this with changes to their diet or using medication that softens their poop.

SKIN CONDITIONS

The third most likely cause is a skin condition such as eczema/nappy rash.

This is noticeable because the skin on their bottoms looks different.  Often either very red or dry.

Do pay your GP a visit in order to confirm the diagnosis as treatments vary depending on what skin condition it is that is causing the itch.

Click here to read the entry on managing nappy rash.  (There’s an eczema post in the pipeline!)

So there you have it, a quick rundown of why your child might be scratching.  As always, if you are unsure or worried, go see your GP.  GP’s love itchy bums almost as much as verrucas!

Dr Claudia x

Please note: The materials in this web site are in no way intended to replace the professional medical care, advice, diagnosis or treatment of a doctor. The web site does not have answers to all problems. Answers to specific problems may not apply to everyone. If you notice medical symptoms or feel ill, you should consult your doctor. Dr Claudia x

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