Hive... butt?
May 4, 2021 7:22 AM   Subscribe

My butt is itchy, please help!!!

So about two weeks ago, immediately following a 3-mile run + shower, I started getting itchy on the skin between my butt cheeks (not the, uh, crack itself, but the skin on either side where the cheeks touch each other). I absentmindedly scratched at it, and it quickly turned into two dark red, very itchy patches spanning the curve of my butt cheeks on both sides. I went to see my (excellent) doctor, who thought it was just a reaction to sweat/chafing from exercise and prescribed a steroid cream.

Here's my issue now: the cream was super effective at knocking out the rash-y areas from scratching, and those are mostly gone. BUT(T), I'm now experiencing this weird thing where I'll feel pretty itch-free for most of a day, and then one or two small itchy bumps will appear somewhere in the general butt cheek area. They look and feel like tiny bug bites. I'm being very careful not to scratch them, so I haven't had a repeat of the whole rash situation, but it's very annoying. The thing that confuses me is that I'll get a couple in one spot, those will disappear over the course of a day/night, but then I'll get a couple in a slightly different spot (always somewhere along the curve of the butt cheek, usually symmetrical). What gives???

A few maybe-useful things:
- I exercise almost every day. I do a bunch of different things, but as the weather has gotten nicer I've been running a lot more than I did over the winter. I run in tight shorts (like bike short-style), which I have done as long as I've been a runner (~10 years).
- I've had a couple instances lately of getting distracted and not changing or showering immediately after running (thanks, WFH). I have stopped doing this!
- A month or so ago we received a different kind of laundry detergent than we normally buy in our weekly grocery pickup order. As soon as I started feeling itchy, I stopped using it, and haven't washed anything with it in 2 weeks.
- I had a similar itchy patch behind my knee that showed up a few days before the butt one. It went away in like a week and hasn't returned.

I'd rather not go back to the doctor just to have them be like "idk," but I'm really stumped. Is it possible that my butt got irritated from some combo of detergent/sweat/tight clothes and it's just having a hard time calming down? If this were ANYWHERE else I would not even care, but it is highly unpleasant to have an intermittently itchy butt and I am very over it. Please give me any and all butt and/or itch-related wisdom!

P.S. I just realized it's been almost exactly a year since I was misdiagnosed with a pilonidal cyst. I guess this is a butt questions only account now, sorry everyone.
posted by catoclock to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I had itchy, uh, intimate folds like that once. Went to the doctor and they told me that it was probably due to humidity. I wasn't drying myself well enough after the shower, paying attention to that + applying talcum powder (to absorb water) got rid of the itch. Might be worth a try.
posted by Tom-B at 7:38 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]

One low-effort, low-risk solution would be to pick up a diaper cream, like Desitin, and see if using a very small amount of that before running or whenever would help.
posted by mercredi at 7:45 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]

Corn starch keep things dry, and is a dry lubricant. Keep a box in the bathroom.
posted by theora55 at 7:48 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]

Cotton fabric only on this butt. Can you switch away from athletic fabrics when exercising?

Hives can recur, I think, in all kinds of ways. Once your skin is irritated it can indeed just decide to be irritable.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:53 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]

Sounds a lot like something that happened to me after a trip to extremely humid Hawaii. I read that breaking open a vitamin E capsule and applying the contents to the afflicted area is a remedy. I did so for a while, and it worked for me.
posted by SageTrail at 8:01 AM on May 4

Butt Paste. It's the best.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:04 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]

Sounds like a job for Anti Monkey Butt Powder.
posted by Fuego at 8:20 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]

It sounds like a fungal infection. I myself have suffered from one in the back crack. A doctor diagnosed it but the solution was an over the counter topical antifungal.
posted by Morpeth at 8:32 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]

This sounds similar to a couple of chigger bites I once had, in the crack no less! They itched for months initially, then seemed to heal, then started re-itching like crazy when I did something stupid and humid like linger in a hot tub forever. What helped was going to a dermatologist, where they gave me some packets of steroidal topical lotion. I think the steroids basically help heal the area quickly. It seemed to solve the issue quickly and permanently.

Your butt skin may deserve some ‘roids!
posted by Drosera at 10:39 AM on May 4

Corn starch is what I use when I get anything like this. I add a few drops of tea tree oil to about a 1/4 cup of corn starch to keep bacteria and fungus at bay and mix in a small jar or bowl. Then, apply liberally and reapply if needed. Corn starch is slippery and it also absorbs any, uh, humidity. Things that linger with creams or pastes go away within a couple of days with corn starch.
posted by quince at 11:36 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]

One thing to consider is a bidet-- it'll let you rinse your downstairs, all of it, with clean water, in a fast manner which is considerably less of a production than a shower. You'll still have to get things super dry afterwards.

A bidet could also supplement your shower instead of taking its place in the post-run regime.

I also agree with the fungal theory-- it accounts for the itching; I would bet that your cheek-chafing made for an opportune entry point for the fungus. Your local drugstore has a generic OTC cream that'll do the job.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:58 PM on May 4

Have you ever had heat rash? The location and snug-fitting shorts have me wondering if it's heat rash. Basically, clogged sweat pores caused in part by friction.

I have a few suggestions: first, use some chamois cream (like some folks use before bike rides) or other kind of friction guard. This is sometimes called anti-chafe cream, body glide, chubrub cream, etc. You can try deodorant too (if you have one you use on your arm pits, this would be a good one to use elsewhere because you know you don't react to it). You should apply/rub it all over that area right before you put on your running clothes. That might be enough to stop it.

But my next suggestion is really to swap out your bike shorts for something looser fitting while you get this under control. Even though your shorts are fitted, they are likely shifting around a bit and rubbing you as you move. I'd suggest getting some running shorts with a mesh liner (they make these for men and women), which will be breathable and maybe not so snug. Like, maybe even order a size up? You don't want anything tight.

And, yes, running clothes need to come off the moment you are back in the door, and take at least a quick shower to let the water run down your back.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:38 PM on May 4

Yeah, the symmetrical part says fungal infection to me.

Look for antifungal powder in the foot care section, it’s marketed for athletes foot.
posted by Sublimity at 2:08 PM on May 4

Frankly, I use anti-persperent *in* my butt crack to prevent sweat. Same as I would in my arm pit.
posted by manageyourexpectations at 3:08 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]

Sounds like a fungus is among us - apply canesten to the spot (yeast infection cream) and wash your buttcrack with Head & Shoulders in the shower. If it's yeast it'll be gone with the cream in a couple days.

Also try a sitz bath with warm water and a 1/2 - 1 cup apple cider vinegar. DRY out your crack too.
posted by Dressed to Kill at 4:21 PM on May 4

Witch hazel wipes can help soothe the area too.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:33 AM on May 5

My friend (really, I promise) said he had a case of mysteriously-itchy-butthole and he randomly decided to swipe it with some apple cider vinegar and it did the trick so maybe that's worth a try? Though he said it burned a bitm ymmv.
posted by greta simone at 3:00 PM on May 5

In re: the comment by greta simone: It accords with my theory that either vinegar or duct tape will address most minor crises.

When I had butt acne (which, unlike face acne, is actually a clogged hair follicle), a compress of diluted warm salt water, followed by a compress of diluted apple cider vinegar, cleared things right up.

Emphasis on diluted. Undiluted apple cider vinegar applied directly to the skin has been known to cause burns. Which would represent an escalation of your current situation rather than a mitigation of same.
posted by virago at 7:08 PM on May 5

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