Anal Itching

Overview

Anal itching is a common condition. The itch, situated in or around your anus, is often intense and may be accompanied by a strong urge to scratch. You may find anal itching to be embarrassing and uncomfortable. But itching around the anus is very common. It even has a name: pruritis ani. In many cases, the itching is temporary, and you can fix it with a few simple changes.

Also called pruritus ani anal itching has many possible causes, such as skin problems, hemorrhoids, and washing too much or not enough. If anal itching is persistent, talk with your doctor. With proper treatment and self-care, most people get complete relief from anal itching.

  • Stool on the skin around the anal opening — If the anal area isn’t cleaned properly after a bowel movement, a small amount of stool may be left behind on the skin, causing the area to itch. Less often, watery stools may leak out of the anal opening and cause itching. This sometimes happens in otherwise healthy people whose diets include very large amounts of liquids.
  • A diet containing foods or beverages that irritate the anus — A number of foods and drinks can irritate the anus, including  spices and spicy foods, coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated), tea, cola, milk, alcoholic beverages (especially beer and wine), chocolate, citrus fruits, vitamin C tablets and tomatoes.

What are the types of Anal Itching

There are two main types of pruritus ani—primary and secondary.

  • Primary (idiopathic) pruritus ani—This condition has no identifiable underlying cause. This is the most common type of pruritus ani.
  • Secondary pruritus ani—This condition may be due to many different underlying causes. They may include infections, contact dermatitis or other dermatological conditions, systemic diseases, and other factors.

Symptoms for Anal itching

Anal itching may be associated with redness, burning and soreness. The itching and irritation may be temporary or more persistent, depending on the cause. In addition to anal itching, you may also experience:

  • burning
  • soreness
  • visible redness
  • swelling
  • ulcers
  • a rash

Causes of Anal Itching

One of the most common reasons for itching around the anus is irritation from too much cleaning. If you scrub the area too much, the skin can get inflamed and itchy. Ingredients in some soaps, ointments, creams, or other products can also cause irritation.

Feces can be a trigger for itching as well. You can get itchy if you don’t clean off your skin completely. Sometimes the cause of anal itching isn’t identifiable. Possible causes of anal itching include:

  • Fecal incontinence and long-term (chronic) diarrhea can irritate the skin. Or your skin care routine may include products or behaviors that irritate the skin, such as using harsh soaps or moist wipes and washing too aggressively.
  • These include sexually transmitted infections, pinworms and yeast infections. The infection may start in the vagina and spread or it may start in the anus. It’s a common side effect of antibiotics. Some bacterial infections can also lead to itching.
  • Skin conditions. Sometimes anal itching is the result of a specific skin condition, such as psoriasis or contact dermatitis.
  • Other medical conditions.These include diabetes, thyroid disease, hemorrhoids, anal tumors.
  • Anal itching in children may be caused by tiny parasites called pinworms. Pinworms are harmless but uncomfortable. Scabies have also been known to cause itching around the anus.
  • Other health conditions.Some conditions can cause itching, such as diabetes mellitus, leukemia, lymphoma, thyroid disease, renal disease, liver disorders, Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.‌
  • Physical conditions.Physical issues involving your anus, such as hemorrhoids or anal fissures, can result in itching.

Diagnosis

Your doctor may be able to diagnose the cause of your itching simply by asking you questions about your symptoms, medical history and personal care habits. If pinworms are suspected, your doctor may suggest doing a test for pinworms. You may also need a physical exam, including a digital rectal exam.

Parents of children who may have pinworms can place a small piece of surgical tape, or scotch tape, near the child’s anus before bedtime. The worms are more likely to emerge at night. In the morning, when the child awakens, the tape can be removed to see if the worms or their eggs are present. This is called the scotch tape test.

Treatment

  • If the itching is due to an infection, a doctor can prescribe an antifungal, antibacterial, or antiparasitic treatment to get rid of the infectious organisms. Prescription ointments that have higher steroid doses can also lessen itching and reduce inflammation.
  • Hemorrhoids that cause anal itching may require more invasive treatments, such as banding to shrink the hemorrhoid or surgical removal of the hemorrhoid. If your symptoms are worse at night, an oral antihistamine might help until an anti-itch cream takes effect.
  • With proper care most people experience relief from anal itching. See your doctor if the itching persists.

How do I care for an itchy anus

You can take several steps at home to treat an itchy anus. Consider the following:

  • Apply petroleum jelly to the affected area.
  • Clean the area with water and a soft washcloth when bathing.
  • Dry the anal area thoroughly after using the restroom and bathing.
  • Refrain from scratching the anal area.
  • Refrain from using bath products that contain perfumes or dyes, which can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
  • Don’t scratch. Scratching further irritates your skin. You may find some relief by applying a moist, room-temperature compress to the area or taking a lukewarm oatmeal bath. Trim your nails short and wear cotton gloves while you’re sleeping to help prevent scratching.
  • Wear white cotton underwear that don’t bind. This helps keep the area dry. Avoid wearing pantyhose and other tightfitting garments because these can trap moisture
  • Avoid irritants. Avoid bubble baths, genital deodorants, harsh or perfumed soaps, and moist wipes. Use white, unscented toilet paper.
  • Wear white cotton underwear that don’t bind. This helps keep the area dry. Avoid wearing pantyhose and other tightfitting garments because these can trap moisture
  • Avoid irritants. Avoid bubble baths, genital deodorants, harsh or perfumed soaps, and moist wipes. Use white, unscented toilet paper.
  • Change your diet. Cut back on or avoid coffee, cola, alcohol, citrus fruits, chocolate, spicy foods, tomatoes and foods that may cause diarrhea. Avoid overuse of laxatives.

Hope this Symptoms and cure article will be helpful to all. Do not forget to share your valuable suggestions if any.