Q. Do goosebumps or sandpaper acne-type feelings inside my rectum indicate rectal polyp or cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Basuki Nath Bhagat
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 15, 2022
Hello doctor,

I am a 51-year-old male with no health issues except some OCD problem (I am taking Prodep 20 mg every day). I have a habit of cleaning myself after my toilet by putting my washed finger inside my rectum to clean any leftover feces. Unless I do that, I feel uncomfortable, and this has been going on for the last 40 years. After cleaning myself after defecation, I get some goosebumps or sandpaper acne-type feeling inside my rectum. As I am a bit of a hypochondriac and an OCD patient, I started worrying if these were early signs of polyps. Polyps look different from the internet, though I cannot see myself. I can feel something like an acne-type sensation with my fingers. From what I described, do you think this is anything serious like cancer? There is no pain, no bleeding in my stool, no change in my toilet appearance. My toilet is also normal, and bowel movements happen twice daily. Also, please note that I have had hemorrhoids in the past that were cured with medications (Daflon tablets) without any operation. Will you kindly clear my doubt as I am feeling very nervous? Also, any ointment to use, please suggest.


Welcome to

I have read your query, and I will guide you.

Hello doctor,

Thank you for the reply.

I am awaiting your guidance regarding my issue.



Welcome back to

If I have not mistaken, your primary concern is whether the feeling of some very minor goosebumps-type or sandpaper acne-type feeling inside your rectum is related to cancer or not. Well, colon-rectal cancer has various symptoms according to the stage and location of the growing mass in the colon, but general symptoms include:

• Change in bowel habits.

• Constipation.

• Diarrhea.

• Blood in the stool.

• Abdominal pain.

• Tiredness.

• Unintentional weight loss.

• Abdominal pain and discomfort, etc.

You have mentioned that there is no pain, no bleeding in the stool, no change in toilet appearance, and normal bowel movements. So it is not related to anything like cancer. It is your overthinking about the feeling, and as you mentioned, you have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), so perhaps you are getting obsessed with the thoughts. Since you have an obsession with this, you should know that there are no excess feces left in the rectum after defecation. Try to neglect such thoughts and not insert your finger in the back to clean leftover feces. Hope you find my reply helpful and valid enough to calm your obsession.

Please do ask further doubts if you have any related to the above query.



Thank you, doctor.

I agree with you and I understand. When I feel some very minor goosebumps or sandpaper acne-type feeling inside my rectum, through my finger, I wonder what could be the reason. Could these be typical rash inside the rectum or polyps? Just want to ask if these seem like rectal polyps or not. I know this needs to be examined, but based on what I have described, would you say these are polyps or not? From the internet, polyps pictures look different, but I wanted to re-check with the doctor for my mental satisfaction. Because I am told that polyps can lead to cancer after several years, frankly, from my finger, it feels just like goosebumps. But could these be polyps?



Welcome back to

Polyps are small growth inside the rectum or colon, which needs the tests mentioned above to identify and biopsy for analysis of the specimen. The symptoms of colon or rectal polyp include bleeding from the rectum, change in the normal bowel movement pattern, iron deficiency anemia due to the loss of blood, etc.

These polyps are investigated through colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, CT (computed tomography), colonography, etc. Now the question is, what are those goosebumps feeling. I do not think these are rectal polyps. For this, you need to visit a local doctor to examine the lesion in the anal canal. Still, symptomatically, the description you gave does not fit with colorectal polyp or cancer. Also, as mentioned in an earlier chat, do not insert a finger in the anal canal after the washroom. This is your obsession only which compels you to get mental satisfaction after defecation.

You can discuss with your psychiatric doctor who started the medicine to give you talk therapy and help you overcome such daily rituals. For the lesion which you have described, please visit the local surgeon to examine it which will give you complete mental relaxation and also you will explanation or reason behind the appearance of such goosebumps or else you will be unnecessarily surfing on the internet and remain preoccupied with the thoughts and anxious about it most of the time.


Hello doctor,

Thank you for the detailed answer and guidance. Would you suggest any ointment that I can apply after defecation so these goosebumps-type lesions may disappear?



Welcome back to

I would have mentioned cream, but I do not prefer giving or suggesting any random medicine or cream without knowing what it is.

It would be best for you to visit a local surgeon to assess the lesion. If necessary the doctor will give you cream or medicine depending upon the diagnosis or maybe simple day-to-day care and preventive advice.


Take care.

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