Butt Burn… can you say those words without a little snigger? I’m not talking about having a bit of a dodgy tum after a curry, I’m talking about the pain and discomfort that people with a j pouch suffer from. Let me explain a bit more.
When you have had your large intestine removed, a pouch is formed from your small intestine and this is attached to your rectum. This means your digestive path is an awful lot shorter than usual and the acid from your stomach may not be fully neutralised by the time it reaches your bum. Your large intestine is also responsible for removing the water from the food we eat, without it, your poo becomes liquid rather than a solid poo. That combined with the smaller ‘storage’ space inside means that most people with a pouch go to the toilet multiple times a day.
The combination of these things can result in butt burn. A severe irritation of the skin around your bum that results in a painful burning sensation.
So what can you do about butt burn?
Well firstly many people recommend flushable, sensitive toddler wipes instead of toilet paper. The skin is very delicate and if you are going at least 5-6 times a day with a liquid poo, the amount of rubbing and wiping can further irritate the skin.
Some people use a bidet to wash themselves after a poo. For me this seems like too much of a faff. But when it’s been severe, I have gone and sat on the bidet for relief! I have also heard that some dry their bums off with a hair dryer. That’s not one I have tried but if it works for you, then go for it!
Barrier Creams are my weapon of choice. I was given the comfeel barrier cream by Coloplast when I left hospital but also use Metanium and Bepanthen which are two nappy rash creams that help. Metanium is very good, but it’s very yellow and I find it stains my skin and clothes a bit. Bepanthen is fab too, but I do find it a little too greasy. Which is why I end up using a combination!
Controlling butt burn through diet is not as simple as you’d imagine. It is not a case of if you eat spicy food, you will get the burn. I can eat Indian food absolutely fine, but eating oranges is agony (I still eat them now and again though as I love them!) Certain foods can cause problems one time but be fine the next and so it’s important to not remove one food from your diet forever as it can be changeable.
Some people recommend eating a lot of carbs (bread, pasta etc) to bulk up the stool. The thinking behind this is that the thicker the stool, the less wiping and the less irritation.
“A sitz bath or hip bath is a bath in which a person sits in water up to the hips. It is used to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower part of the body. It works by keeping the affected area clean and increasing the flow of blood to it.
A sitz bath may be created simply by filling a bathtub with some water and sitting in it for a few minutes. Alternatively, a large basin can be used. There are also special devices that fit into toilet bowls. Sitz baths may either be warm or cool. Some people find alternating between hot and cold water soothing. Sitz baths may be filled with just water, or substances such as salt, baking soda or vinegar can be added.”
The above comes from Wikipedia I haven’t used a sitz bath or bowl, but a proper bath is always quite soothing and worth a try.
I suppose the biggest thing is to speak to your GP or consultant about your butt burn. It’s not something you should be embarrassed of, and they may be able to give you a solution. I hope my post has been a little helpful in your plight for a less burny bum hole.
I know things like this can sound like a joke, but the reality is that dealing with these things every day can becomes a source of anxiety and really affect both your spirit and day to day life. I write about these things to bring the subjects that us pouchees have to deal with to the table. I hope my post can make it a little easier to deal with.
Love Sam x