Gastrointestinal cancers might not be the ideal topic for those who are faint of heart.....CONTINUE READING
However, paying attention to any changes in your stool and bottom could mean the difference between spotting serious health problems and letting them slide unnoticed.
In fact, itchy bottom could be a warning sign of anal or bowel cancer, according to Dr Deborah Lee, from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.
The most common type of cancer to trigger the uncomfortable sign is cancer of the anus.
The doctor explained that anal cancer is most often triggered by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which means it’s more prevalent in those at a higher risk of sexually transmitted infections.
Less commonly, an itchy bottom could also be pointing to cancer that is located higher up the gastrointestinal tract, like bowel cancer.
Itching can in this case occur as a result of other tell-tale signs like needing the loo more often or experiencing bouts of diarrhoea.
Furthermore, patients with bowel cancer can also have blood in their stool, which might cause skin irritation at the anal margins, Dr Lee explained.
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Anyone can be at risk of bowel cancer, with your odds increasing as you get older.
However, an itchy bottom isn’t necessarily a guarantee that you have cancer, as this problem can be caused by a variety of other benign conditions.
Dr Lee said: “The vast majority of people with an itchy bottom will not have anal or colon cancer.
“There is a wide differential diagnosis, including haemorrhoids, threadworms, an anal fissure, irritation from eating spicy foods, excess sweating in the perianal area or sensitivity to hygiene products such as soaps and shower gels.”
While this uncomfortable sign might not be caused by cancer, it’s important not to make the “wrong assumptions and miss the diagnosis”, the doctor urged.
Therefore, she advised to “see your GP without delay”, if you have persistent anal itching.