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What to Know About Anal Itching

Intense itching is uncomfortable on any part of your body. On top of that, itching in a sensitive area such as your anus could also be embarrassing. You may find it hard to talk about itching in your private areas, even with your doctor.  ‌

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.

Causes of Anal Itch

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. 

You may feel itchy or have discomfort if you eat foods with irritating ingredients. They pass in your bowel movements, and their remains in your feces may bother your skin. 

Some health conditions can lead to anal itching, including:‌

Infections.Yeast infections are a type of fungal infection that can feel itchy and tender. 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. 

Fecal or urinary incontinence. Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may have trouble using the bathroom. Wearing diapers or having accidents can result in itching because of feces or urine lingering on the skin. 

Parasites. 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.

Skin conditions. If you have a skin disorder such as psoriasis, or atopic dermatitis, it can affect any skin on your body, including around your anus. Rashes due to allergic reactions can also affect the area. ‌

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. 

Treatments for Anal Itch

If you think you may have a yeast infection or other fungal infection, ask your doctor about the best treatment options. They may recommend over-the-counter treatments for yeast infections. They may also suggest a prescription-strength medicine to treat the condition.

Try these home remedies to ease discomfort:

Wash gently. Use water and mild soap to clean the area. Scrub gently, and pat the skin dry. Try to keep the area dry between baths or showers. Don’t scratch the area, which may further injure the skin.

Wear breathable clothing. Choose underwear that doesn’t irritate the skin or trap moisture. Tight-fitting clothing can also trap moisture and cause more irritation.

Eat a mild diet. Stay away from foods with ingredients that may make your feces irritating. Avoid things like coffee, alcohol, citrus fruits, chocolate, spicy foods, tomatoes, and other acidic food.

Over-the-counter treatments. Try creams or ointments to soothe the skin around your anus. Over-the-counter hemorrhoid medicines may help if you have hemorrhoids. Other ointments, such as the kinds used for diaper rash, might also be helpful. 

When to Call a Doctor for Anal Itch

When anal itch is due to a more serious condition, you should talk to a doctor. Some symptoms that happen along with anal itching need medical care. They include: 

  • Pus coming from the anus or nearby
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Bulging or protruding hemorrhoids
  • Dull or thickened skin around the anus

Your doctor will ask you about your health conditions and any medications you’re taking that may be affecting your bowel movements and causing soreness.

Your doctor will probably want to treat the cause as well as the itching. If you think you have a condition such as pinworms or scabies, they can give you a medication to treat it. 

Also let your doctor know if you have a digestive disorder such as Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome. Frequent bowel movements can be irritating. You may need changes to your treatment plan to address all of your symptoms.

In most cases, you can find relief from anal itching. Talk to your doctor if home care doesn’t help with the discomfort. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England: "Pruritus Ani."

Cleveland Clinic: “Pruritus Ani (Anal Itching).”

Mayo Clinic: “Anal itching,” "Yeast infection (vaginal)."

Merck Manual: “Anal Itching.”

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