Why Does My Anus Itch featured image.jpg

Why Does My Anus Itch?

An itchy bottom can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. If you have an anal itch, it may be difficult to restrain yourself from scratching — which would only make it itch worse. There is no end to embarrassing gastrointestinal problems. Even compared to other embarrassing conditions such as leaks and gas to diarrhea and sudden urges, itchy anus is one of the more embarrassing gastrointestinal issues to be suffering from in public. There is nothing quite like being stuck in public and needing to deal with an itchy anus.

If you are suffering from an chronic itchy anus, it could be caused by a number of different things. In this article, we go over some of the most common causes of anal itch. If you are in Honesdale, Blakey, or Dingmans Ferry and would like to schedule an appointment with a gastroenterologist, contact Northeastern Gastroenterology Associates today.

What is Anal Itch?

Also known as pruritus ani, anal itch is a symptom of a number of different illnesses. Most of the time, anal itch is not a sign of a disease of the anus or rectum, but is a sign that something has irritated the skin. Oftentimes, this symptom can be treated in simple ways such as avoiding spicy food or stopping using inadequate toilet paper. Some of the common reasons your anus might itch include:

10 Common Causes of Anal Itch

#1: Inadequate Bathroom Habits

If you don’t wipe after you poop or, conversely, you wipe with too much friction, you can cause irritation to the skin in the anal area. If you are experiencing anal itch, be sure to be as thorough as you can in cleaning the area with a wet piece of dye-free, unscented toilet paper or wet wipes, and pat dry with a soft cloth.

#2: Infections

A number of infections and medical conditions can also be at fault. From yeast infections and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to bacterial infections and parasites (such as pinworms), any number of things could be causing your symptom(s). That is why, if symptoms persist for an extended period of time, we always recommend you visit your local gastroenterologist for an examination.

The same kind of bacteria that can cause strep throat can also cause a red, itchy rash around the anus. This kind of infection is more common in children than in adults. More common in adults is a yeast infection.

#3: Your Diet

What you eat and drink may cause anal itching, for example, coffee can loosen your anal muscles, causing stool to leak out, triggering itch. Common dietary culprits of anal itch include:

  • Spicy foods

  • Dairy

  • Chocolate

  • Nuts

  • Energy drinks

  • Alcohol

  • Soda

  • Citrus fruit

#4: Stool Problems

If you are suffering from watery or bloody stool, the amount of irritation caused by that and wiping can lead to an irritated, itchy anus.

#5: Your Underwear

Another potential cause of anal intching is your underwear. If your underwear is made of synthetic fibers, it could lead to too much moisture down below, which can cause chafing and other problems. Switch to a fiber such as cotton or wool, as they absorb better. Also, make sure you change your underwear every day and wash them with fragrance-free detergent.

#6: Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are a common cause of anal itching, causing a burning pain sensation around your anus as well. Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in your anus and lower rectum that three out of four adults experience from time to time. They are known to have a number of causes, though often the cause is unknown. Causes may include:

  • Straining too much during bowel movements

  • Pregnancy

  • Regular heavy lifting

  • Obesity

  • Sitting for long periods on the toilet

  • Chronic diarrhea or constipation

Hemorrhoids can be prevented by:

  • Eating foods high in fiber

  • Staying well-hydrated

  • Not holding it in

  • Exercise

  • Reducing time spent sitting for long periods

  • Stop straining

If you notice blood in your stool or suffer pain during a bowel movement, schedule an appointment with your doctor so they can rule out other, more serious conditions.

#7: Anal Fissures

Anal fissures are tiny sores or cuts (i.e., fissures) that can open up in your anus causing itchiness and pain. The most common cause of anal fissures is constipation, though long-term diarhea and Crohn’s disease can also cause them to occur.

#8: Warts

Anal warts can cause itching, and can be caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) — a sexually transmitted disease. Anal warts grow inside and around an anus and can spread also to your genitals. Itching is a common symptom of this illness. Without treatment, warts can grow larger and become more frequent, so be sure to get treated before the condition becomes worse. Untreated anal warts also increase your chances of getting anal cancer.

#9: Pinworms

Pinworms are small worms that can get in your digestive system through contaminated foods, bed linens, and other places that can cause itching at night. This is more common in children. Pinworms look like tiny pieces of white thread in one’s stool. If a child in your family gets pinworms, the whole family may need to be treated for them.

#10: Psoriasis

People who suffer from psoriasis, it’s possible to get this around one’s anus as well. Psoriasis around the anus can be extremely itchy, and can cause pain during bowel movements. Other skin conditions such as seborrhea and eczema can also cause anal itch.

Other Causes

There are plenty of other causes of anal itch. Those may include:

  • Antibiotics that cause diarrhea

  • Anxiety

  • Anemia

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Leukemia

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • And more

If you have a persistent, hard to eliminate anal itch, we recommend you get medical attention. Depending on the cause, your doctor may prescribe anti-fungal or antibiotic cream, or refer you to a gastroenterologist for further analysis.

How to Prevent Anal Itch

The best way to avoid anal itch is to keep your anus clean. Treating or preventing pruritus often simply entails taking more baths and drying carefully. Maintaining a good diet and exercising can also help keep things below the beltline under control as well. However, in situations where conservative home remedies aren’t providing relief, and when even over-the-counter medication designed to reduce inflammation and itching aren’t working, it’s definitely time to get professional medical help. Significant amounts of blood in your stool is also a major sign to get medical help. Rectal bleeding can be a sign that something serious may have gone wrong in your gastrointestinal tract, and should be diagnosed promptly.

At Northeastern Gastroenterology Associates, we understand the difference between an annoying condition and a life-threatening one. We are focused on addressing gastrointestinal disease accurately and swiftly, to eliminate your discomfort and get you back on the road to healing.

Most causes of anal itching aren’t cause for major concern. However, sometimes it can be a sign of a serious, or even life-threatening condition. If you are seeing large amounts of blood in your stool, make an appointment with Northeastern Gastroenterology Associates in Honesdale, Blakey, or Dingmans Ferry today.