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Anal Itching

It’s a common and embarrassing problem. But anal itching can very often be cured by a little home detective work. Find out more about anal itching and when it’s time to see your doctor.

There are numerous causes for this embarrassing problem but fortunately most have a simple cure.

Skin Irritants

Too much moisture or dryness can lead to irritation. Possible causes are washing the area but not rinsing properly. Washing too often or using irritants such as perfumed soaps, scented bleached tissues or bubble bath products. Some clothing detergents can cause itching if the rinse is insufficient.

Excessive sweating, fecal or urinary incontinence may mean you need to use a barrier cream to stop irritation. Use creams that are used for babies as they are mild and will not contain damaging chemicals or drugs such as hydrocortisone. Try not to scratch, it will just cause damage to the skin.

Foods

Some foods can be an irritant to your digestive system as well as the anus. Heavily spiced foods, some vegetables, tomatoes, oranges, chocolate or excessive amounts of fiber can all lead to irritation. Some people have food intolerances that cause irritation and/or diarrhea. Try omitting one possible cause at a time so you can work out what type of food is the cause, then cut it out of your diet or restrict your intake. You may need to seek advice from a doctor who can refer you to a dietician if there is no disease underlying the cause of your problem.

Laxatives

Over use of laxatives causes irritation, especially as some laxatives are very powerful. If you are young and have no medical condition you should not need to use them at all. Make changes to your diet and add more fiber. Similarly, older people should look towards increasing their fiber intake.

Clothing

Cotton underwear or natural fibres can be healthier as they have a certain amount of absorbency. Synthetic material can cause sweating which can cause itching.

Medical Conditions

Hemorrhoids (Piles)

Piles are a common cause of anal itching. There are many soothing creams and lotions available.

Anal abrasions

Scratching, rubbing or trauma, can result in severe itching. Treat the area gently and keep it clean. If you keep damaging the area it will not get the chance to heal.

Medication

Many medications, such as antibiotics, come with side effects that can cause anal itching, often because they also cause diarrhea. If the long term medication you are on is causing any side effects always go see your doctor.

Skin Conditions

Psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, any skin disease requires the attention of your doctor. A specialist dermatologist may be the best person to treat the skin condition that is affecting your anal area causing itching. The creams and lotions used to sort out the problem usually contain cortisone which needs to be prescribed and monitored to avoid side effects that can cause long term problems.

Yeast Infections

Some diseases and medications cause yeast infections. HIV, diabetes and antibiotics for example.

Anal Tumors

In rare cases anal itching can be the result of anal tumours. Although some will not be cancerous it is important to seek an accurate diagnosis to get the appropriate treatment.

Anal Fissures and Tearing

Often caused by stretchig the muscle around the anal opening during defecation, anal tearing and fissures can be very painful. They require medical attention.

Parasitic Infestations

More common in children, parasites such as pinworms can cause anal itching.

Psychological Problems

Stress can cause changes to your digestive system that can in turn cause anal itching.

General Advice

Always see your doctor if you experience blood loss, unexplained weight loss, or if your anal itch is not going away.

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