What is anal itching, and what are the symptoms
Anal itching, or pruritus ani, is a common and often uncomfortable condition. Anal itching can be caused by many factors, such as skin problems, lifestyle habits, or other conditions. Symptoms of anal itching include burning, soreness, irritation, and a strong urge to scratch the skin around your anus. Anal itching may be accompanied by redness and swelling in the area and may be more intense at night or after going to the bathroom. Diagnosing the cause of the problem is important for successful treatment; your doctor may suggest varying treatments depending on the underlying cause.
What are the causes of anal itching
Internal hemorrhoids are one of the primary causes of anal itching. These are swollen veins located inside the rectum that can often cause a feeling of discomfort and itching around the rectal area. Internal hemorrhoids, as well as external ones, may also lead to bleeding due to scratching and further irritation caused by clothing rubbing against them. Additional common causes of anal itching include diet changes, skin irritations, and certain infections, such as bacterial or fungal infections of the skin in the anus region.
How to treat anal itching
To reduce anal itching, the first step is to practice good anal hygiene, which includes cleansing gently with unscented soap and warm water after bowel movements. Additionally, be sure to change out damp clothing or bathing suits promptly, as moisture can cause anal irritation. Other tips include avoiding perfumed soaps, toilet tissue, and other products such as bubble baths and scented laundry detergents. If needed, doctor-prescribed creams may help relieve anal itching temporarily, and some dietary changes may prove helpful for long-term control.
When to see a doctor about anal itching
It is important to recognize when it is time to see a doctor about anal itching. Internal hemorrhoids, rectal area infections, and skin irritations can all be causes of itchy skin in the anal area. If you have persistent itching for more than three weeks that does not go away with over-the-counter treatments, or if you experience swelling, heavy bleeding, or pain, it is time to book an appointment with your doctor. Also, if itching starts interfering with daily activities, then it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. When symptoms persist even after OTC medications, your doctor will be able to provide diagnosis and treatment recommendations to help make life more comfortable again.
If anal itching doesn’t get better with home treatment or if it’s severe, you should see your doctor. In some cases, an underlying medical condition may be the cause and needs to be identified and treated. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, perform a physical exam and possibly order other tests to diagnose the problem.