itching is a common complaint and not a taboo for the FAMILY doctor | Right away

Every week, Edwin de Vaal ( 48), a general practitioner in Nijmegen, answers a frequently asked or conspicuous question from his practice. This week it says: What can you do about itching?

Do people often come to the office with itching on their anus?

Itching is common. Only people often wait a long time before going to their GP. It’s a taboo. People are ashamed because they think it’s weird or dirty. No complaint is too strange for a GP. So never let shame make you want to go to the doctor.”

What causes itching?

“It can have different causes. In young children, itching may indicate worms. They end up in the gut because children put everything in their mouths. In adults, it is much more common a fungus in the buttocks.”

A mushroom? That sounds unhygienic!

“There are mushrooms everywhere on our body. In principle, this does not bother you. It will not affect you until it penetrates your skin. This causes an infection. Think of the eczema of the swimmer at your feet. This fungal infection can also occur in the armpits or perform. And so also around the anus.”

How does the czem of the swimmer form in the buttocks seam?

“Because the environment of the anus often remains moist. For example, by not drying properly, with damp toilet paper, sweating or underwear that does not ventilate enough. Because it remains moist, the skin around the anus is irritated. This makes the fungus sit in the skin and then it starts to swarm.”

Do you need to go to the doctor with itching?

“Not directly. Search first with a mirror. A lot of people think this is dirty and weird, but please step over this fear: it’s your own body. Is the skin around the anus or your buttocks cracked red, irritated or fluffy? Then first spread a few days with antifungals. You just buy it in the drugstore. Do you have a wound? Use Vaseline for this.”

“Isn’t the itching going on? Then something else could happen. Please contact your GP.”

How can you prevent itching?

“Make sure you dry out properly after showering and after using damp toilet paper. Do not sit all day, but move. And don’t wear synthetic underwear. That doesn’t breathe. Cotton does.”