How to Deal With Pruritus Ani
Tips for Dealing With Itchy Anus
What Can You Do About an Embarrassing Anus Itch?
Whatever you want to call it—itchy butt, anal itching, or by the medically correct term, pruritus ani—more people deal with itching around the anus than you may think. Most people, however, try to deal with the issue on their own without seeking professional medical attention because, well, it is often viewed as embarrassing. While many cases of anal itching will clear up on their own or with some simple home remedies, excessive and recurring itching could be an indication of a much more serious problem.
At Northeastern Gastroenterology Associates, our team of Honesdale gastroenterologists can help diagnose a wide variety of gastrointestinal problems in patients. With the nature of the condition, we understand why people may be hesitant to let others know they are dealing with an itchy anus, even if they are medical professionals. If you’re wondering how to relieve anal itching, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading for some helpful information on how to deal with an itchy anus.
Things to Know About Anal Itching According to NCBI
1–5% of the population is affected by pruritus ani
The condition is four times more common in men
Anal itching is most common in adults around 40 to 60 years of age
Symptoms can range from mild to severe
Experts warn that depression may result when symptoms are severe and persistent
There are nearly 100 different reported causes of the condition
Treatment varies dependent upon the severity of the symptoms
Understanding Pruritus Ani
Pruritus ani is the medical term for itching around the anorectum, both inside and outside. Most often, however, the itching is triggered by irritation of the skin at the opening of the anal canal through which stool exits the body that leads to itching. It’s a fairly common symptom that can be associated with a wide variety of conditions. In many cases, itching around the anus is not dangerous and can often be treated at home. Sometimes, however, anal itching could be a sign of a more serious medical condition and require professional medical attention to find relief.
The intensity of anal itching and the amount of irritation and inflammation increases with the direct scratching and the presence of moisture. At its most intense, anal itching causes unbearable discomfort that often is described as burning and soreness and can increase one’s sense of embarrassment.
Common Causes An Itchy Anus
Dietary factors account for the majority of people experiencing anal pruritus. Certain foods and drinks, such as alcohol, chocolate, dairy products, coffee, and spicy foods, are known to trigger irritation during bowel movements.
Bathroom habits can sometimes be the cause of anus itching. From wiping too hard to not wiping thoroughly enough to using rough toilet paper, there are different bathroom habits that can cause irritation to the skin in the anal area.
Believe it or not, certain lifestyle choices can result in embarrassing itching down there. The soaps you use in the shower, perfumed sprays, and even the type of undergarments you wear could be the cause of irritation and itching.
The causes of anal itching can sometimes be associated with skin or internal medical conditions. Hemorrhoids, diarrhea, anal fissures, and skin tags are common medical conditions that can all cause anal itching.
A fungus, like the one that causes most vaginal yeast infections, can also cause anal itching. Certain kinds of bacteria can cause itching as well. Pinworms, yeast, and genital warts are known infections known to cause itching.
There are nearly 100 different causes of pruritus ani. Therefore, if you are consistently experiencing these symptoms without knowing the cause, it’s best to schedule a medical examination with your primary care doctor.
At-Home Remedies for Anal Itch
Fortunately, most people who experience an itchy anus can treat the troublesome symptom with at-home remedies. Practicing good anal hygiene as well as being wary of using soap and other products that might have irritating chemical components is a good start. Changing to a plain, soft, and unscented toilet paper and wearing loose-fitting cotton underwear can help relieve anal itching symptoms. Additionally, avoiding food irritants, such as coffee or spicy foods, and eating a high-fiber diet can help reduce or treat anal itch.
If at-home remedies don’t provide relief, there is a wide variety of products available at grocery stores and pharmacies. Over-the-counter medicines such as creams and ointments containing hydrocortisone or zinc oxide can provide some relief; however, these products should be used sparingly. For the best results, people experiencing anal itch should apply creams and ointments as directed. Typically, it is best to apply these products when the irritated area is clean and dry at night, in the morning, and after bowel movements.
Anal itching is a common ailment that generally isn’t a cause for alarm. However, if the itching persists for longer than a week or two and at-home remedies and over-the-counter products are not helping, or if you are experiencing an itchy anus and blood in your stool, it may be time to make an appointment to investigate what underlying condition could be the cause of the irritation. Your primary care physician can help identify the cause, but depending on the severity of the symptoms, they may refer you to a gastroenterologist or proctologist for further examination and testing.
How To Prevent Anal Itching
If you have experienced a mild to severe case of anal itching, that was probably more than enough to take the necessary measures to prevent it from happening again. The best way to prevent anal itching is to practice good hygiene. Preventing pruritus ani is often possible by keeping your backside clean and ensuring you are getting everything dry after you bathe. The most important thing to remember is to be gentle and not overdo it. While you want to keep things down below as clean as possible, too much cleaning can cause the sensitive skin around the anus to become irritated.
Practicing good hygiene overall will help reduce the possibility of fungal or yeast infections that cause anal itch, and managing your diet if you have any known food allergies or digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease are all ways to help prevent the need to scratch at your behind. Additionally, exercise and attention to your diet can help improve overall gastrointestinal health, which can help you avoid issues that cause an itchy anus.
Practice Good Hygiene
Avoid Food Irritants
Wear Comfy Clothing
Consult Your Doctor
Still Itching for Relief?
An itchy anus, itchy butthole, itchy butt… whatever you want to call it, it's certainly not a pleasant experience. If you are unable to relieve anal itching, it’s best to consult a medical professional to determine if there is an underlying issue or condition. At Northeastern Gastroenterology Associates, our gastroenterologists and medical staff are here to help you understand the difference between a condition that is annoying or potentially embarrassing and one that could be more serious. Our focus on and experience in dealing with gastrointestinal conditions and diseases help us to quickly identify the cause of your discomfort and provide effective relief solutions.
If you are concerned about prolonged itching around your anus that is not responding to treatment, and especially if you are experiencing an itchy anus and blood when wiping or notice blood in your stool, it is definitely worth making an appointment with Northeastern Gastroenterology Associates. You can rely on our experts to help you sort through the potential causes and point you in the right direction, no matter how serious your condition might be.