Anal Itching

Buttock Rectum | Dermatology | Anal Itching (Symptom)


Anal itching also known as pruritus ani or anusitis represents an anus (the exit of the rectum) skin irritation, causing a need to scratch. Anal itching can be caused by clothing and sitting and its deepness increase from moisture, pressure, and rubbing. At worst, anal itching causes intolerable discomfort that often is accompanied by burning and soreness.


Anal itching can be caused by irritating chemicals in the foods, such as one’s from spices, hot sauces, and peppers. It can also be caused by the irritation of continuous moisture in the anus caused by frequent liquid stools, diarrhea, or escape of small amounts of stool. Moisture increases the possibility of infections of the anus, especially yeast, particularly in patients with diabetes mellitus or HIV. Treatment with antibiotics can also lead to a yeast infection and irritation of the anus. Psoriasis can also irritate the anus. Abnormal passageways called fistulas from the small intestine or colon to the skin surrounding the anus can form as a result of disease such as Crohn's disease, and these fistulas bring irritating fluids to the anal area. Other problems that can cause anal itching include: pinworms, hemorrhoids, tears of the anal skin (fissures), and abnormal local growth of anal skin called skin tags.

Diagnosis and Treatment

There are several measures you can take to relieve anal itching. It is important to keep the anal area clean by washing and drying carefully after a bowel movement. Avoid using soaps that irritate the skin, and use loose underclothes made of natural fibers.

For pruritus ani of unknown cause treatment typically begins with measures to reduce irritation and trauma to the perianal area. Stool softeners can help prevent constipation. If this is not effective topical steroids, capsaicin, or injected methylene blue may be tried.


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