Bum - favourite word of 4 year olds, and our least favourite area to discuss with our partner doctor. Bum problems are manifold. Here are some of the most common issues, and what you can do to help yourself.
Call them piles, Farmer Giles, or a driver that is too close behind you, haemorrhoids are a pain in the arse, quite literally. Medically speaking they are swollen veins that have poked out. You can reduce them by keeping your bum scrupulously clean and using a medicated ointment. Really large ones may need surgery but smaller ones can be managed at home.
Straining and bellowing on the toilet like a jealous water buffalo is as much use as a deputy prime minister. You may give yourself haemorrhoids or you may even burst a blood vessel. Constipation is frustrating because when there's a poo queuing up it feels like you need to go all the time. Right Now.
You need to drink water, orange juice - any pure fluids. Eat fruit, exercise, and try a warm bath and some medication. When you've got yourself going again eat All Bran for breakfast to avoid future horrors.
The squits, liquid poo, looseness of the bowels, or a stool smoothie. Whatever your choice of term, diarrhoea can be painful, exhausting and upsetting. It can dehydrate you too; so keep fluids levels up with some oral rehydration sachets. They replace salt, glucose and other minerals.
You'll need to eat small amounts of plain food afterwards and try some anti-diarrhoeal medicine. Not too much though! You don't want to cause a blockage. If you're suffering for more than two days I'm afraid it's off to the doctor with you.
Don't panic, but long-lasting diarrhoea can be a sign of colon cancer, IBS or Crohn's disease, so if you are suffering long term or on regular basis, get checked over.
If your, excuse me, bumhole (4 year olds the world over are laughing hysterically) is itching then you might have piles or infected piles. DO NOT scratch! Rectal itching (pruritus) can also be caused by poor hygiene, genital warts, pinworms, scabies, fungus, or yeast infections such as thrush.
Clean yourself with mild soap and water and feel for piles. If there are none, then you should probably visit your GP for some relief. If there are, see 'haemorrhoids' above. In the meantime keep the area really clean, wear cotton underwear and do not scratch. If you must scratch put something over your hands because your fingernails may tear your already sore skin, or you might rub your eyes and develop conjunctivitis as well.
If it's the skin on your bum cheeks that's itching then it might be eczema, psoriasis or spots. Some emollient cream or steroid cream should do the trick, and you'll soon be back to proudly displaying two peaches in a handkerchief at the beach.
Remember that we all have bums, and what goes in must eventually come out. That means a lot of people are going to have a problem with their bum. Some doctors even specialise in bum problems because they like them so much. The bottom line is, it's better to be safe than sorry when it comes to rear end issues, so don't be embarrassed about seeking advice from a medical professional.