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Gut infections

It’s often difficult to know whether gut infections have come from general stomach bugs, food poisoning or from sex. Clinics don’t keep figures on gut infections they treat - people often go to their doctor with gut infections. Men who rim, especially if they rim a lot of men, will be more likely to get gut infections.

A large number of bacteria are responsible for gut infections, leading to diarrhoea or stomach pains. Examples are shigellosis (caused by shigella) and salmonellosis (caused by salmonella). Some gut infections are caused by parasites, such as thread worm, amoebiasis (caused by amoebas) and giardiasis (caused by giardia).


Symptoms can include:

  • diarrhoea
  • stomach cramps
  • farting
  • fever
  • blood in the diarrhoea
  • losing weight.

With thread worms, you might;

  • feel itching around and inside your arse
  • see the worms in your shit, looking like short threads of white cotton.

How it is transmitted

Besides food-poisoning, they’re also passed on by getting tiny amounts of shit on your fingers and in your mouth. This can happen during:

  • rimming
  • fucking
  • fingering and fisting
  • scat
  • handling used dildos or condoms.

Thread worms are caused when the invisible worm eggs get on your fingers and then into your mouth. They are spread the same way as gut infections.


If you think you’ve got a gut infection from rimming, only if you say you’ve been rimming will your doctor know which tests to carry out. Not telling the doctor this means they’ll not test for the right things, leaving the infection to possibly cause you serious damage.

  • A sample of your shit will be tested.
  • Anti-diarrhoea treatments may make some gut infections worse -  antibiotics will have to be used for some infections. Partners should be checked or treated to stop you being re-infected.
  • Gut infections can cause serious problems if HIV has weakened your immune system. Sometimes the infections can be very difficult to get rid of.
  • Thread worms are treated by taking tablets or powders sold in chemists costing a few pounds (no
    prescription needed).

Protect yourself and others

  • By avoiding contact with small amounts of shit during sex. You can use latex gloves for fisting and fingering or a latex barrier (e.g. a condom cut into a square) for rimming.
  • By washing your hands after handling used condoms or after sex involving arse play.
  • You may decide to cut down on rimming or not to rim at all.

This article was last reviewed on: 21/10/11
Date due for next review: 21/10/13