Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
Diarrhea that lasts for a long time is not a pleasant sensation. It can cause a burning sensation in the anal region due to digestive enzymes and stomach acid in your feces. Undigested food or any rough food can also cause abrasions or cut your rectum and anus as they pass through your system. As diarrhea makes you wipe your anus more frequently than usual, it might cause unpleasant side effects such as a rash on your bottom or a sore anus.
Causes of Painful or Burning Diarrhea
Diarrhea can induce a painful, burning sensation in the rectum and anus, especially in case of severe or persistent episodes. Below are some of the common causes:
- Stomach acids, digestive enzymes, and bile:
As a meal reaches the stomach, acids and digestive enzymes mix to begin breaking it down. The digestive system adds bile to the meal as it moves through the small intestine. By the time the meal passes through, these acids and enzymes should no longer be acidic.
Diarrhea speeds up the process of digestion, resulting in a meal that isn’t entirely broken down. This implies that the stomach acids, digestive enzymes, and bile may still be present in diarrhea. These can cause rectum tissue damage and a burning sensation during or after a bowel movement.
- Spicy foods:
When spicy food comes into contact with the lining of the intestine, it can induce a heated, burning feeling. The active element in most spicy meals is capsaicin. It has the potential to irritate digestive tissues, resulting in diarrhea. Spicy foods may leave the body before being broken down, resulting in a burning sensation as the feces pass.
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other gastrointestinal disorders:
IBS, as well as other gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis, can induce diarrhea with pre-formed stools that can leave the bottom painful.
Hemorrhoids can get irritated and expand due to diarrhea, resulting in a burning, unpleasant sensation.
- Food intolerances or allergies:
Allergy to certain food can spark an exaggerated immune system response triggering a bout of diarrhea which can also hurt the bum due to the irritant pre-formed stool.
- Other causes
Other causes of sore bum include food poisoning, antibiotics, and physical trauma.
How to Soothe your Sore Bum?
1. Stop diarrhea
The first step toward relief is to try to stop diarrhea as much as possible. Over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medications or antidiarrheals can be beneficial. Your doctor, on the other hand, may be able to help you find the right treatment. Dietary changes can also help control diarrhea. Avoiding caffeine, fatty and spicy foods, lactose (dairy), alcohol, and other irritants can also help.
2. Clean carefully
If you wipe your behind with dry toilet paper after you go, the irritation will become worse. Excessive wiping with rough toilet paper might irritate the anal skin.
3. Use a soft soap
Rinse the region with warm water and mild or no soap after showering or bathing. Harsh soap might make your rear feel drier by removing natural lubricants. Wash the region with lukewarm water to ensure that it is well cleaned.
4. Drink plenty of liquids
You should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day under normal circumstances. Diarrhea causes dehydration. So, if you have diarrhea, you will have to increase your fluid intake. As per a study titled “Water, Hydration and Health” published in ‘Nutrition Reviews’ drinking water aids in the removal of irritants and the healing of a sore bum. You can drink electrolyte-rich sports drinks in addition to water. This will help replenish salt, potassium, and other vital minerals that have been lost.
5. Sitz bath
A sitz bath involves sitting in 3-4 inches of warm water to cleanse the genital area. It can relieve itching and irritation. Sit in a small bath of lukewarm water for 15 minutes. After you’ve washed, pat dry with a lint-free cloth. Avoid drying by rubbing or air-drying.
6. Topical ointments
As per a study titled “A Topical Application Containing Sucralfate, Zinc Oxide, and Ketoconazole Provide High Patient Satisfaction in the Treatment of Intertrigo” published in ‘The Open Dermatology Journal,’ irritation can be treated using zinc-based topical ointments. Look for labels on petroleum jelly and choose those that have zinc listed as an ingredient. Non-medicated talcum powder or cornstarch could also be used as a therapy. To allow the skin to breathe, apply a thin coating to the affected region.
7. Avoid wearing tight-fitting underwear
Wear clean, breathable, fragrance-free cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to help keep the region dry and decrease inflammation. Itching and irritation can be caused by moisture.
8. Avoid sitting for a long time
Sitting for lengthy amounts of time can put a lot of strain on your lower back, causing pain and inflammation of the bum and making it sore. Get up, stretch, and move a few times an hour if you find yourself sitting a lot.
9. Avoid foods that can trigger diarrhea for you
Certain foods increase the acidity of your feces. Alcohol and artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol and mannitol, are foods that persons with diarrhea should avoid or limit. Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, dairy products, especially if you have difficulties digesting dairy, foods high in fat, such as red meat, cream sauces, cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, onions, and artichokes can also be avoided for faster healing of your sore bum.
Diarrhea can cause uncomfortable irritation around your bum. Home remedies such as warm baths, using soft toilet paper, and using a bidet may help soothe the pain.
Yes, stool problems can feel embarrassing, but burning in the bum can cause long-term stress. Chronic conditions can be managed, especially with the help of a healthcare professional. Temporary occurrences of diarrhea can be improved with a bland diet and rehydration.
Brazier, Y. (2020, December 11). What is food intolerance? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263965
Huizen, J. (2020, April 28). What causes burning diarrhea? Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319403#:%7E:text=Diarrhea%20speeds%20up%20the%20digestion,or%20after%20a%20bowel%20movement
Schipani, D., & Sassi, K., MD. (2021, March 26). 6 Ways to Soothe a Sore Behind. EverydayHealth.Com. https://www.everydayhealth.com/crohns-disease/symptoms/how-soothe-sore-behind/
Stang, D. (2019, March 8). Sitz Bath. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/sitz-bath
Popkin, B. M., D’Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition Reviews, 68(8), 439–458. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x