Eating spicy food can be delightful while you’re still digging into the dish, and if you’ve got the tolerance, of course. But everyone who loves taking the kick to another level knows that they’ve got to sacrifice something in return. What’s that? Well, time—since you'll be spending a lot of it in the bathroom—and comfort, given that your butt is most likely to be set ablaze the next morning.
But have you ever wondered why your butt burns after eating spicy food? It’s because your butthole is kind of like your second mouth.
That may sound a little strange and entirely revolting, but there are similarities between these two very important areas of your body. One similarity is that it both has receptors, called TRPV1, that are triggered by capsaicin.
What is capsaicin?
Capsaicin is a compound that is found in most peppers, including chilli, habaneros, capsicum, and cayenne. This is the component that is responsible for the burning sensation you feel after eating foods that contain chilli or pepper. The thing about capsaicin is that it cannot be completely digested, and it binds to your TRPV1 receptors—a receptor that senses dangerous levels of heat and sends signals to your brain that makes you feel pain.
SciShow explains that TRPV1 receptors are located all over the body, including your digestive tract, mouth, and anus. This is why your mouth and anus burns when eating and excreting spicy food. Similarly, some people feel cramps after they’ve eaten spicy food because the TRPV1 receptors in the digestive system are interacting with undigested capsaicin molecules.
How to treat a burning butt?
To reduce the burning, itching, and pain around your butthole, gastroenterologist Dr. Sameer Islam, recommends using a soothing cream such as Destin. He tells MensHealth:
And make sure you don't use a hemorrhoid cream with a steroid or Prednisone, because that could make your irritation worse.
Staying away from spicy foods is also an option, but we know some of you cannot resist it. So another long-term solution is to actually eat more spice. Islam adds:
Have one spicy hell week.
Go crazy and develop that tolerance.