You clean, you wipe, you shower, and yet your bum still smells likes poop.
You may ask, is it normal for your bum to smell this way? No, it’s not, but unfortunately, it is common enough for a lot of people to be suffering from it and actively looking for solutions to it, including you.
Here are the most common reasons why your butt smells even after washing:
- Not Wiping / Cleaning Properly
- Excessive Butt Sweat (“Swamp Ass”)
- Excessive Flatulence / IBS / Bad Diet
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
- Muscle Problems
I will explain each of these in more detail below. My advice is to look through the titles, see which applies to you, and quickly look over them, as well as the recommended fixes.
Hopefully, this will help narrow down your specific cause and allow you to fix the problem.
Not Wiping / Cleaning Properly
For most people, this (along with IBS and a bad diet) is likely to be the biggest cause.
Basically, that bad smell coming from your butt is oftentimes simply the result of not wiping properly or using the wrong things to wipe or clean after taking a poop.
Another reason for butt smell could be that there is still fecal matter (which isn’t always visible by the way) around the outside and just inside your anus area.
It is extremely difficult to wipe everything up using only dry tissue paper, which is why I am suggesting the following solutions below, to at least eliminate this as a possible cause of your smelly butt.
Use Wet Wipes
Instead of just using dry toilet paper, use wet wipes first and then use toilet paper after, particularly the unscented ones; the reason for this is that some scented wipes can cause irritation down there, which can make your butt smell even worse.
Imagine you got poop all over your arms, legs, or wherever. Would you feel clean if you just wipe it off with toilet paper? Of course not, right? You would probably want to wash it off with water and even use soap or alcohol to get rid of the smell and to make sure it’s clean.
But if you’re not a fan of washing your butt after pooping, then I would recommend at least use wet wipes. Most wipes are made of non-woven fabric similar to those used in dryer sheets, which are then saturated with a solution of water and gentle cleansing agents such as isopropyl alcohol.
After pooping, use wet wipes first to properly clean your butt. Then, to make sure that it’s dry, use some normal toilet paper afterward. Make sure to wipe from front to back, moving fecal matter away from your front parts.
Get a Bidet
A better alternative to wet wipes is to just get a bidet. It is the cleanest, healthiest, and most hygienic way to clean your butt of any remaining fecal matter and any smelly bacteria. A gentle stream of water thoroughly rinses your butt area without causing irritation.
Even if you take a shower, your butt could still smell bad if you’re not cleaning it properly. Using a bidet will allow you to target the area around your anus so you can completely clean it out. Afterward, don’t forget to dry off by using toilet paper.
I recently discovered the Tushy Classic 3.0 Bidet Toilet Seat Attachment, which I think is a quick and affordable way to give your butt the clean it deserves. It easily attaches to any standard toilet in under 10 minutes so this is definitely a good option.
Consider Removing Butt Hair (If You’re Overly Hairy)
We all know that hair tends to trap bacteria and odors. Since poop comes out of our butthole, then it is possible that some of the fecal matter gets stuck in our hair down there, especially if we’re not washing/cleaning properly, as I previously outlined above.
While butt hair may not necessarily be the cause of butt smell, it is certainly not helping it smell good either. For this reason, it may be good to consider removing it all, through waxing or just trimming, whatever you prefer.
If you plan on waxing, then I would personally recommend the VidaSleek Wax Kit for Men & Women. If you want more information about this topic, I tackle this in more detail in my other article. Feel free to check it out here.
Excessive Butt Sweat (“Swamp Ass”)
Swamp ass. Sweaty bum. Butt sweat. Whatever you want to call it. This happens to everyone. A hot summer day, an intense day at the gym, stress, or even something medical-related can cause your butt to sweat so much that you’ll feel like you’ve been sitting in a swamp.
Remember that sweat in itself is not supposed to smell bad. In fact, it should actually be odorless. It is when you mix it with bacteria that it starts to develop an odor, an unpleasant one at that.
The thing is, your bum is an absolute breeding ground for bacteria:
Plus, if you’re not cleaning your butt properly, chances are there will be some remains of fecal matter down there as well. Together, these three can lead to a very unpleasant odor in your butt area.
Wear Breathable and Non-Synthetic Underwear
Have you tried changing the types of clothing and underwear that you put on every day?
A lot of people aren’t aware of this, but this can have a big effect on how much moisture your bum produces, which in turn affects how easier it is for your butt to start smelling bad again, as I discussed above.
If you can reduce the amount of warmth and moisture in your butt area, you can eliminate more bacteria, and thus reduce unpleasant odors. Here’s how:
- Wear breathable underwear; something that is less restrictive, boxers are a good option, as are boxer shorts.
- Natural fabrics like cotton allow your skin to breathe and may be a good choice in terms of fabric type. By contrast, synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester are especially non-breathable and could potentially amplify the smell coming out of your bum.
Use Body Powder for Your Butt
Body powders are extremely useful in mitigating and preventing sweat, bad body odors, as well as skin chafing and irritation. I personally use these mostly for my balls, but these can also easily be used for your bum.
I love the Chassis Premium Body Powder, which is talc-free and has a very light scent (mix of Old Spice + pumpkin). For women, I think the Fromonda (Cool Mint) Body Powder (also talc-free), is an excellent option.
There’s no shame in using a little powder down there as no one will be able to tell you’re using it but you, anyway. Plus, you will feel much cleaner and more comfortable since you’re producing less sweat.
Excessive Flatulence / IBS / Bad Diet
This is right up there with improper wiping as a major cause of a bad-smelling bum.
Now, just because you don’t pass excessive gas, doesn’t mean you should just skip over this section. Read through and see if anything below applies to you.
I lumped all of these together because they more or less are all related.
- Excessive farting; flatulence comes from hydrogen sulfide that is released from your gut due to the digestion process; if you are passing gas more than normal (nearly every hour), this could be a cause.
- Gluten sensitivity could also be a cause; this is where your stomach has a difficult time processing gluten; it simultaneously also produces a lot of gas.
- Lactose-intolerance; is more prevalent in certain ethnicities, such as those who can trace their ancestry to Africa, Southeast, and East Asia.
- Too much sugar in your diet; can affect the walls of your colon, restricting their ability to close and possibly making the area more “inducive” towards bacterial growth.
In order to eliminate one of these as the possible cause of your foul smell, here are some steps you can take:
- Reduce your sugar intake.
- Take a digestive enzyme (which you can find at a local store); these help your stomach and digestive system break down larger food particles.
- Take a probiotic; this will help you maintain a good balance of healthy bacteria in your gut.
- Eat slower; when you eat too fast you also swallow air, this, in turn, makes you pass more gas, which in turn leads to a smellier butt.
Chances are, if you had hemorrhoids, you would know but did you also know if you have a recurring problem with them, it could be the cause of the bad smell of your butt?
Hemorrhoids, for those that don’t know, are ruptured or strained blood vessels in and around your behind.
They typically occur when you are on the toilet and straining too much.
You would know you would have them as they are uncomfortable and often painful, especially when you pass another stool when you wipe, and sometimes even when you move.
If this is you, over-the-counter hemorrhoid medication can eliminate these.
Chances are, this probably won’t apply to you, but it still bears mentioning.
Constipation typically occurs when you don’t get enough fiber in your diet, which affects the regularity with which you take a poop.
The more poop that gets “blocked up” up there, means that this could result in a bad smell from your butt.
If this was a problem, you would know it.
You can fix this through OTC medication and proper dieting..
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Have you considered this?
Millions of people every year are unaware that they have STIs, and while just about everyone knows that STIs can affect the physical appearance of your private region, did you know that they can also affect your smell?
Here’s the lowdown on this:
- HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, and HPV not only can infect your private parts, it can also infect your butt; if this happens, it could be producing that nasty smell.
- If left untreated, it can go unnoticed, but could also be the cause.
- Take an STI test, make sure that you are all clear, and eliminate this from any possible causes.
Here’s where things start to get more complicated, because these are not visible, and aren’t as easy to fix as something like hemorrhoids.
Now, personally, I wouldn’t consider something like this as a possible cause, unless I first went through and eliminated any of the above, easier to fix possible causes.
An abscess is basically like a little pocket full of pus and body fluid, that collects and swells.
These can also occur in your bottom.
Here’s what happens:
- You unknowingly have an abscess around the anus or rectum area.
- Poop clogs the glands in and around the abscess.
- This then turns into an infection.
- The abscess’ mixture of pus, body fluid, and poop all mix to form a vile odor that comes out regardless of how many times you wash and scrub.
Unfortunately, the only real way to know if this could be causing your odor is through a check with a gastrointestinal doctor.
Like an abscess, this can go unnoticed, though not to the same degree.
What could be happening is:
- The muscles around your butt do not work properly, are strained or injured in some way, and do not allow your behind to properly close.
- Because your butt is not fully closed, stool odors seep through much more easily.
As with abscesses, the best way to eliminate this as a cause would be to book an appointment with a doctor and have him or her take a look.
Hopefully, this article helped, or at least narrowed down some of the possible causes of that bad smell emanating from your butt.
To recap, here’s what you should do to identify why your but smells and the actions you can take to get rid of the bad smell permanently (hopefully):
- Wipe your butt properly using wet wipes. Better yet, get a bidet.
- Wear breathable, loose-fitting underwear.
- Apply body powder or a body spray, if you haven’t already, to reduce butt sweat.
- Eliminate too much sugar from your diet, take a probiotic and digestive enzyme.
- Book an appointment with a doctor to ensure that the butt smell is not medical-related (i.e. constipation, hemorrhoids, or STDs).
Why Do I Have to Endlessly Wipe After a Bowel Movement?
If you feel like you have to use half the roll of toilet paper after you have a bowel movement, chances are you may have an underlying health condition.
Not to mention, wiping so much can leave you feeling itchy, irritated, and uncomfortable by the time you finish going to the bathroom.
Ideally, wiping after a bowel movement should take just two to three swipes of toilet paper.
If you’re experiencing something different, try some of the following steps, and see your doctor if your symptoms persist.
Why do I have to wipe so much?
There are several health conditions that can make wiping more difficult or affect your ability to feel completely clean after going to the bathroom.
Keep in mind that every person may have to wipe a little more than usual from time to time. But if you find that wiping a lot is the rule and not the exception, consider that one of these conditions may be an underlying cause.
Anal abscess or fistula
An anal abscess is an anal gland infection that causes pain, redness, and drainage in the rectal area. The drainage may be blood, pus, or stool. Untreated anal abscesses can develop into fistulas.
Anal skin tags
Anal skin tags are skin growths that develop from recurrent friction, irritation, or inflammation. Common causes include:
- chronic diarrhea
- Crohn’s disease
Anal skin tags may catch stool and make it difficult to clean the rectal area after a bowel movement.
Bowel leakage is also known as fecal incontinence. It occurs when you have a hard time holding in a bowel movement. You may leak stool when you pass gas, or find you leak stool throughout the course of the day.
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins inside or outside the rectum. They can cause symptoms such as itching, pain, and bleeding.
Hemorrhoids are pretty common. estimates that 1 in 20 adults in the United States and about half of adults 50 and older have hemorrhoids.
Hemorrhoids may make it difficult to get completely clean because stool can catch on them.
This condition is also known as anal itching. It can result from skin irritation, such as from:
- excessive cleaning
- harsh soaps or fragrances
On top of itching, pruritus ani can cause irritation, burning, and overall discomfort.
Complications from poor wiping
Wiping after having a bowel movement is about more than achieving a clean feeling.
For women, not wiping away all fecal matter can increase the risk of conditions such as:
Men can face similar issues, including:
- general discomfort
Tips for wiping
Several methods can improve feelings of cleanliness after a bowel movement.
Use wet wipes
Wet wipes can help you avoid irritation from dry toilet paper. Even wet toilet paper can work in a pinch.
Look for products that are unscented and for sensitive skin. Otherwise, these wipes could cause irritation and actually worsen your symptoms.
If you decide to use wipes, do not flush them down the toilet. They can clog plumbing.
Check the direction
Always wipe from front to back so you don’t introduce unwanted bacteria into the urethra.
Rinse clean with a bidet or rinse bottle
A bidet will allow the water to flow upward to cleanse the rectum. A rinse bottle should be squeezed from the front, allowing the water to move toward the back.
Avoid ‘aggressive’ or excessive wiping
Excessive and harsh wiping can irritate your rectum. Instead of wiping too much or too hard, rinse the area. Consider a bidet attachment or rinse bottle.
Wear an incontinence pad
Sometimes, if you have repeated stool leakage, an incontinence pad can help you feel clean. It can absorb some of the stool and keep it from soiling your underwear.
Other ways to help
In addition to improving your wiping method, the following steps may help treat some of the underlying causes that make wiping difficult in the first place:
- Take a bath in Epsom salts or soak in a sitz bath to help reduce inflammation in the rectal area. This can reduce itching and irritation after a bowel movement.
- Increase your fiber intake if your discomfort is related to constipation. Examples include eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Increase your water intake along with increasing fiber intake. This will help add bulk to your stool and make it easier to pass.
- Take an over-the-counter (OTC) stool softener. It can reduce straining that can worsen hemorrhoids.
Just as there are tips to try, there are also things to avoid. These include the following:
- Avoid products with fragrances in the rectal area, such as lotions, toilet paper, or soaps. They can be irritating.
- Avoid foods and drinks that irritate your digestive tract and can lead to diarrhea. Triggers will vary but may include:
- spicy foods
- caffeine-containing foods and drinks
- sugar substitutes
Talk with your doctor about other methods to avoid irritation and discomfort.
When to talk with a doctor
If you experience severe and sudden pain related to bowel movements, seek immediate medical attention.
Also seek immediate medical attention if you have unexplained bleeding. This can look like your stool is red or has the texture of coffee grounds. Bleeding could indicate a number of severe conditions, such as:
- gastrointestinal bleeding
- anal fistula
- severe hemorrhoid
Talk with your doctor if OTC treatments aren’t working for your bowel and wiping issues. They can prescribe or recommend treatment, such as:
- Bowel training. Bowel training involves teaching yourself to go to the bathroom at around the same time each day. It may reduce the likelihood of fecal incontinence.
- Pelvic floor exercises. Your doctor can refer you to a pelvic floor therapist, who can help you perform pelvic floor exercises. These may help reduce the likelihood of fecal incontinence.
- Prescription medications. Your doctor can prescribe medications that reduce diarrhea or symptoms that can occur with conditions such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis. If constipation is the underlying cause, they may prescribe laxatives or stool softeners for use on a temporary basis.
- Surgery. In rare instances, if OTC or prescription treatments aren’t working, your doctor might recommend surgery to reduce severe leakage.
The bottom line
If it feels like you have to endlessly wipe after a bowel movement, you aren’t alone.
Fortunately, there are several methods you can try to feel cleaner that don’t involve investing in toilet paper stock.
But if your at-home interventions aren’t doing the trick, talk with your doctor. There may be an underlying cause, and treatment can help you feel cleaner and more comfortable.
Do haemorrhoids smell?
Common questions about haemorrhoids smells
Why do haemorrhoids smell?
Many haemorrhoid sufferers don’t realise that, from time to time, haemorrhoids can become inflamed and irritated, which can cause them to emit an unpleasant smell.
When piles become inflamed, the veins and support tissues around the lower rectal area (internal piles) or underneath the skin around the anus (external piles) swell up.
If internal piles become swollen, it can mean that you lose a certain amount of control of your anal sphincter, the muscle that keeps your back passage closed. Should this happen, then you could find that you produce a small amount of anal leakage consisting of stool (poo) and fluid. It can sometimes be the tiniest amount, but enough to create the offending smell.
How badly do piles smell?
As you can imagine, any sort of bowel movement is never going to create a pleasant smell, so even the temporary slight loss of control of your sphincter, will have a similar result.
If you are one of the sufferers unlucky enough to experience this symptom, there are ways of helping to neutralise the smell. A sitz bath or regular warm baths will help bring the odour under control.
Speak to an eXroid expert today about how we can help. You can call us on 0800 999 3777 or click here for all other queries.
Is a fishy smell from haemorrhoids normal?
It could be a sign of a number of issues, but is more than likely piles related.
The smell is most likely anal discharge from the rectum, produced by the mucus membrane, as opposed to the leaking of faecal matter (poo), due to loss of sphincter control.
Whilst this can be embarassing, if you maintain a regular personal hygiene routine, it's unlikely anybody around you will notice.
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Can haemorrhoids smell if they burst?
External haemorrhoids that have developed clots of blood are typically the ones that might pop. This could result in a metallic, iron smell from a mixture of blood and mucus that may have collected in the haemorrhoid.
You can usually spot blood clots in external piles by the purple bruised look. If you have this or an enlarged pile then it would be advisable to make an appointment with your GP.
Alternatively, you can make a discreet call to an eXroid advisor and they can arrange an appointment with one of our eXroid practitioners. Please note that eXroid only treats internal haemorrhoids.
To organise an appointment, please call us on 0800 999 3777 or click here for all other queries.
Is there anything I can do to reduce the smell of haemorrhoids?
There are some simple things that you can do that will help:
Take warm baths or showers more often.
Use haemorrhoid creams or witch hazel.
Drink plenty of water and swap to a high fibre diet to make sure your stools are not so hard.
How to cure haemorrhoid smell?
No treatment can guarantee that you will never have another haemorrhoid, but you can eliminate the ones you have now.
There are a number of surgical and non-surgical treatments available. You can read about the main ones in our haemorrhoid treatments page.
eXroid electrotherapy is one such non-surgical treatment. It’s safe, effective and one of the least invasive treatments available. This useful at a glance guide will give you an idea of the benefits, or get in touch now to speak to an advisor.
Young Child Smells Like Poop Despite Wiping Himself Clean?
Phooooey, want to know why your child smells like poop even though he or she wipes themselves clean?
Now first of all, the assumption is that you are absolutely, positively sure that your child wipes himself clean – because you watch them and then check their wiped bottom yourself, and/or you yourself do the wiping and cleaning.
Yet despite that – and you’re positive you’re not imagining it – your little one stinks like poo.
There is more than one possible cause of a poopy odor about your child, according to Jacqueline Winkelmann, MD, who’s been a hospital-based pediatrician at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange County, CA, and is with CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital.
Not washing hands. If a young child is left to her own devices after a bowel movement, she is capable of getting fecal matter smeared on her hands or fingers – and not thoroughly washing her hands…if at all. This will generate a stink that her mother is sure to notice.
Wearing dirty underwear. Ask yourself if this is even remotely possible, and if so, take measures to prevent it.
Constipation. “Children with severe constipation (encopresis) will often have some ‘leakage’ of stool around a large stool mass and can smell like poop, even though they wipe themselves when they actually go to the bathroom,” says Dr. Winkelmann.
Foreign object. “Sometimes children can have really foul smell (as bad as poop) when they have severe infections (like strep throat), or even a foreign object that has been stuck in the nose or ear for a long time will have a foul smell,” says Dr. Winkelmann.
A child should not have a bad odor if they are bathing or being bathed when they should and wearing clean clothes and underpants.
If the odor persists, then more likely than not, the problem is extraneous in nature rather than from a medical condition, but of course, you’ll always want to have a doctor rule out a disease process for ANY kind of unusual odor.
Nevertheless, there is no illness that’s known to make a child smell like poo!
Dr. Winkelmann, known as Dr. Jacq, has a special interest in sports nutrition for young athletes, teen issues and the opioid epidemic, and baby and infant product consulting. She’s an award-winning pediatrician, national and international speaker and published author.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.
Wiping after smelling poop
11 Things That Can Affect How Your Butt Smells
There are plenty of things you don’t hear every day, and topping the list has got to be “Why does my butt smell?” This isn’t something one tends to announce in polite company, and yet it’s a totally valid question. Odor can be an embarrassing issue to deal with, but more importantly, any stench that emanates from down below could be a sign something’s up with your health or hygiene.
If you notice a new or worsening smell, simply hop in the bathroom and “inspect the area for any aberrations or changes,” Dr. Evan Goldstein, MD, an anal surgeon and founder and CEO of Bespoke Surgical, tells Bustle. “The external skin and local tissues may provide some clues to the new odor.” If you don’t spot any sores or lumps, try upping your hygiene game — a thorough shower will do — to see if that makes a difference.
“As long as you don’t have other symptoms, like fevers, chills, pain, and/or gastrointestinal complaints, I’d suggest you give it a few days to see if it persists,” Goldstein says. “If the stink just won’t go away or you simply don’t feel comfortable, then a full evaluation is warranted — both inside and out — to get to the bottom of the foul scent.”
Your doctor can take a closer look to check for infections and other signs of a health concern that may be affecting the smell of your butt. Here, a list of various malodorous culprits that may be to blame.
Hemorrhoids are dilated or swollen veins that can crop in the butt hole if you strain while pooping, if you’re pregnant, if you have a low fiber diet, or if you sit for long periods of time on the toilet, Dr. Niket Sonpal, MD, an internist and gastroenterologist, tells Bustle. You’ll likely feel them before you smell them, as they tend to cause a lot of pain and itchiness. But if you do notice an odor, Sonpal says it might smell iron or metallic.
According to Goldstein, the bulge of a hemorrhoid can also affect the closure mechanism of your sphincter, which means the hole will stay open a tiny bit. “If you can imagine, these small gaps or coaptations can let gas and even poop slip out, resulting in a smell,” he says. “Most times these resolve with conservative treatments of creams, baths, and time, but sometimes they need surgical removal to stop the wet, moist, and smelly situation.”
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
While it's obviously common and healthy to poop and pass gas throughout the day, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can make you poop way more often than necessary. Symptoms include pain and bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea. And to say it can be smelly is an understatement. “Foul-smelling gas is a common symptom of IBS and can smell different based on what you eat,” Sonpal says.
The trouble is, IBS isn’t a condition on its own but a collection of symptoms with many potential causes, including but not limited to a surplus of bacteria in the intestine, anxiety and depression, and food sensitivities or intolerances, Sonpal says.
3. Food Sensitivities
Speaking of food sensitivities, excessive gas can result from the way your body processes (or struggles to process) certain foods, Jessica Lue-Lai, MD, a primary care physician at One Medical, tells Bustle. If you happen to eat something that doesn't agree with you, or if you have an undiagnosed food intolerance, your gas might even be smellier than usual.
Excess gas could be a sign of something like lactose intolerance, which can cause symptoms of bloating, gas, and even diarrhea. As Lue-Lai says, gassiness may also point to a gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Symptoms might include bloating, diarrhea, extra smelly poop, and other non-digestive related issues.
Eliminating suspect foods from your diet one by one — just to see how you feel, at first — may help you identify which ones don’t agree with your body. Remember, though, that there's a difference between a food sensitivity and allergy, which is much more severe.
4. Sexually Transmitted Infections
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like gonorrhea and chlamydia, can impact your butt area and cause abnormal odors. It’s often due to discharge that may leave the rectum, which tends to have a foul odor, Sonpal says. Other symptoms of chlamydia include rectal pain, painful bowel movements, mucous in your stool, and redness in the anal area. Gonorrhea symptoms include bleeding, anal itchiness, soreness, and painful bowel movements. Both, he says, can be treated with antibiotics.
You might also have a case of anal warts caused by HPV, Goldstein says, which are quite common if you’ve had anal sex. “If you feel or smell something’s off and the timing coincides with a recent sexual exposure, it’s time to get fully checked,” he says.
5. Impacted Skin Follicles
If you take a look at your bum and spot something that looks like a pimple near your anus, it may be an impacted skin follicle. “These are actually clogged glands so they can definitely leak out nasty smelling stuff,” Goldstein says. “Most people are able to address these with warm compresses and/or baths, as well as time.” Sometimes, though, a doctor may need to open and drain it, he says, whether or not there are bacteria present.
6. An Abscess
The closer an impacted skin follicle gets to the hole itself, it runs the risk of being an anal abscess caused from a possible anal fistula. “There are these glands that are located a few centimeters inside our [holes] that can get clogged and lead to annoying infections,” Goldstein says. “These can cause complex issues and should be addressed sooner than later. Many of them require surgical intervention to resolve the primary issue, which will also take care of the foul odor.”
7. Not Wiping Properly
Now, back to hygiene. If you aren't wiping thoroughly after you go to the bathroom, you might notice that you don't feel as fresh. It's something lots of people do without even realizing, usually because they're in a hurry or don’t do a thorough job. But often all it takes to correct the issue are a few new habits.
For example, "it’s best to wipe firm enough to get all your stool but not too hard to cause an abrasion,” Lue-Lai says. “You can use an unscented, non-medicated, chemical-free wipe, but the key is to make sure you are wiping so that you feel you are clean and fresh."
Sonpal echos this, adding that wiping direction matters. “It is best to gently wipe front to back with strong, soft toilet paper,” he says. “There is no set number of times you should wipe, but usually three swipes should remove fecal matter.” To really get in there you can even use a bidet, if you have one on hand, to remove any lingering bacteria.
8. Wearing Synthetic Or Tight Clothing
While you may want your jeans or leggings to be snug, be careful about clothes that fit close to the skin. "Tight-fitting clothing such as underwear or pants can cause excessive sweating and reduce air circulation around your genitals," Lue-Lai says. "This can cause skin infections and even lead to changes in your pH."
When the pH of your nether region changes, bacterial and yeast infections can occur, leading to new odors in the surrounding area — including your butt. Add in synthetic fabrics and the odor can be that much worse.
Man-made materials — like polyester or nylon — don't allow your bits to breathe, thus trapping sweat and bacteria inside your clothes. If you notice that some of your clothes cause more odors than others, it may help to switch to natural fabrics, like linen and cotton, which can help keep air flowing.
9. Excessive Sweating
The butt area is ripe with sweat glands. Natural sweating throughout the day can gather, mix with bacteria, and create an odor down below. But this is even more likely to happen if your body’s chemistry is thrown off, Dr. Sapna Shah, MD, a board-certified endocrinologist with Paloma Health, tells Bustle.
If you seem to be sweating more than usual, it may be due to an over-active thyroid gland. “When your thyroid function changes, it affects virtually every system in the body,” Shah says. “In the case of an overactive thyroid, you might experience symptoms that feel like the body is speeding up — for instance, restlessness, fast heartbeat, or excessive sweating even when you're not exerting yourself.” Cut to your underwear feeling sweaty or soggy.
Constipation, which can be caused by a low-fiber diet, digestive problems, change in routine, dehydration, and some medications, not only feels uncomfortable but can lead to smelly side effects over time.
Since the main symptom is difficulty going to the bathroom, stool can definitely back up and cause gas and other odors to leak out. Let a doctor know if you can’t go, especially if it’s been longer than three weeks or you’re in a lot of pain.
If you ever notice a pungent scent on or around your butt area, and these other health conditions aren’t to blame, it may be due to stress. “In some cases, stress can induce a foul smell from your body,” Dr. Amber O'Brien, MD, a medical doctor with Mango Clinic, tells Bustle.
Again, it’s all thanks to the sweat glands that populate this area — particularly the stress-y kind. “A human body has two various kinds of sweat glands, known as eccrine and apocrine,” O’Brien says. “Apocrine sweat is commonly released when you’re stressed out. You can get rid of this unpleasant odor by managing your stress levels.”
How To Clean Your Butt
Remember, good hygiene is often the best line of defense against butt odor. “Quick tips: ditch the wet wipes, implement a nighttime shower routine — and make sure your butt is completely dry afterward — change your towels and sheets at least weekly, be naked as often as you can to aerate everything, and invest in a bidet or hop in the shower after going number two,” Goldstein says.
“If the issues persist, you should see someone who understands all the facets of your daily activities and even your sexual preferences,” he adds. “Most times doing the above can fix the issue, as well as using local creams and treatments to help rid the foul odor.”
Drake, S.M. (1980). Vaginal pH and microflora related to yeast infections and treatment. British Journal of Venereal Diseases. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1045744/
Harker, M. (2013). Psychological sweating: a systematic review focused on aetiology and cutaneous response. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23428634/
Hoenen, M. (2017). The Impact of Stress on Odor Perception. Perception. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28073304/
Dr. Evan Goldstein, anal surgeon
Dr. Niket Sonpal, internist and gastroenterologist
Dr. Jessica Lue-Lai, MD, primary care physician
Dr. Sapna Shah, board-certified endocrinologist
Dr. Amber O'Brien, MD, medical doctor
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