This is a contribution from one of our readers.
“A number of years ago I had been suffering from wetness and itchiness around my anus for some time. Three or so GPs I had seen about it each prescribed different ointments and powder to use – but they didn’t tell me how to use them, and if I put them on both together it ended up as a gooey mess. But which ever way I used them, they gave me no help.
“One day I was in the surgery of the surgeon Dr Peter John Stewart of Concord Hospital, (as opposed to other Dr Peter Stewarts,) – I had used him for some colonoscopies – and I asked him if he could recommend a good dermatologist. He asked me what the problem was, and when I told him he had a look and said, “Oh, you’ve got a fistula.”
“I didn’t particularly know what a fistula was, and still really don’t, but his diagnosis lead to, (1) a sessions in which he and a couple of nurses put balloons up my bottom and blowing them up and so on, to further diagnose my problem, (2) a session with some other people in which ultrasounds were taking of me emptying my bowels, and (3) an operation under a full anaesthetic. But none of these things helped either.
“I’ll never forget that sinking feeling I had over 6-8 weeks as it became clear that my problems hadn’t been fixed in any way.
“So was Dr Stewart embarrassed about this in any way? Not at all! Not at all! If anything he made himself out as some sort of hero for what he had done for me, notwithstanding that what he’d done hadn’t helped with my problems at all, and notwithstanding that there was no evidence that he’d done anything for me. But, in the end he referred me to a dermatologist, which is what I’d wanted in the first place.
“The dermatologist told me firstly that I should never use toilet paper but instead have a shower after each time I opened my bowels, and that after I’d had the shower I should apply a special paint he prescribed around me anus. He found this paint by looking it up in one of his really thick books on dermatology, and seemed really excited when he found it. And, sure enough, I no longer suffered from the wetness and itchiness.
“But it was a real bother having to have a shower after each time I opened my bowels, and the paint was very expensive, but at least doing this was working.
“But, after a while, I began to think that the cause of my problem could be that, as I grew older, using toilet paper wore some of the skin around my anus away making it thinner, and the moisture was plasma exuding through this thinner skin. So I tried applying some QV cream around my anus before I opened my bowels so the toilet paper I used wouldn’t be so rough on my skin – and it worked. I’ve now been doing this for at least 8 years – using one finger to apply QV cream around my anus before I opened my bowels and there hasn’t been a sign of the problems I used to have. (I’ve found the “intensive” QV cream works best.)