Doctors want you to know about butt

As women, we know how important it is to take care of our vaginas. But it’s time you showed your booty some love, too. That’s why we asked some top butt doctors—a.k.a colon and rectal surgeons (the term proctologist isn’t used anymore!)—what you need to know about your behind.

“We specialize in diseases of the colon, rectum, and anus,” says Alexis Grucela, M.D., colorectal surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center.  “This can range from treating malignant conditions like colon and rectal cancer, to colitis and Crohn’s disease, to benign anal conditions like hemorrhoids. And yes…we love the poop emoji.” (Heal your whole body with Rodale’s 12-day power plan for better health.)

So what do these specialized physicians want you to know about your butt? Here’s what they said.

1. DON’T WAX YOUR BUTT

“Sometimes women who do a lot of bikini waxing ask if it’s okay to wax around the anus, and I generally discourage that. It’s natural to have hair there and the skin around your anus is very sensitive. Ingrown hairs there are difficult to deal with. The smartest thing to do is leave that hair there.” —Jean Ashburn, M.D., a colorectal surgeon at Cleveland Clinic

2. THE TOILET SHOULDN’T BE YOUR ZEN PLACE

“Many people read, check email, play on their phones, escape work, kids, or life, or do other activities on the pot. The toilet works like a gravity sink and your hemorrhoids engorge with blood and swell from this. Limiting your time on the toilet can improve or help prevent hemorrhoid symptoms. Try meditation or yoga instead.” —Grucela

3. WASH WITH WARM WATER

“We’re talking about a delicate area! The best way to clean is with warm water. No need to rub and scrub—and definitely no need for antibacterial soap. Skip the baby wipes, too; they clog toilets and can cause allergic reactions to the delicate skin in the area.” —Alex Ky, M.D., an associate professor of colon and rectal surgery/proctology in the Mount Sinai Health System

4. FIBER IS YOUR FRIEND

“Fiber plays a huge role in colon health—it bulks your stool by binding water, preventing issues like hemorrhoids and diverticulitis [inflammation in one or more small pouches in the digestive tract]. Women under 50 should aim for 25 grams daily through foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, and nuts and seeds.” —Amy Lightner, M.D., an assistant professor of surgery at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

5. PREGNANCY CHANGES THINGS

“Everybody’s backside looks and is different. It’s also normal for women, especially after having children, to have skin tags, hemorrhoids, and swollen tissues that may remain swollen that maybe your friends don’t have. Everyone goes through life and pregnancy differently—there’s not a ‘normal.’ It’s about what’s normal for each individual person. That said, if you’re concerned about a change in how something looks, please tell me.” —Ashburn