Anus Itching, Treatment for Anal Itch (Pruritus ani)


Itchy anus or anal itching can not only be annoying but can also be quite an embarrassing hurdle in your social life. The skin around the anus is delicate and can easily be inflamed. The skin in that area is crinkly and can be infested with fecal particles. It is also tough to keep the anus clean and dry most of the time, because it can become moist due to vaginal and/or anal discharge. Besides it is prone to sweat and humidity. So, scratching the anal area is a natural reaction but since the itch scratch cycle has never helped anyone, it only deteriorates the condition.

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Causes  of anal itching (Pruritus ani):

Anal itching is seldom serious but we definitely have to know the causes for this problem, some of them are mentioned as under:

1.       Poor hygiene as well as excessive clean primarily by harsh, chemicals soap or brush

2.       Not washing the anus properly after the motions

3.       Pre-moistened toilet tissues (wipes) can also be the reason, especially if there  is preservative, alcohol or perfume in those wipes

4.       Perfumed soaps and bubble baths can also trigger allergies

5.       Ointments and creams are a major cause for anal itching.  People tend to buy an anesthetic gel for the anal area, as they are recommended by chemists. But then people who take them should know that they may be for the benefit of hemorrhoids, and contain ingredients like pramocaine or benzocaine, tetracaine, cinchocaine, lignocaine etc. Though the itchy sensation may go, it returns because your skin becomes sensitive to the cream or ointment. So as a rule, if you are using it, do not extend the anal itch treatment cream for more than one week.

6.       Piles are also a reason, specially due to the slimy discharge that is produced

7.       Skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis can also cause anus itching

8.        Fungal infections are also a common cause for anal itch. Conditions like thrust or athlete’s feet are common. Fungi actually love warm and damaged skin and if you tend to scratch it, the fungi can take over and exacerbate the condition.

9.        Genital warts of the vulva or penis that manifests due to papillomavirus, can thrive in moist, warm areas like the skin near the anus and cause itching

10.   Herpes of the genitals can also infect the area and cause itching.

11.   Anxiety and stress can also increase your tendency to itch

12.   Certain foods can aggravate the anus during defecation. Beer, masala-spicy foods and curry are clear examples. Some people find that coffee or tea, tomatoes and citrus fruits can cause problems.

Apart from the above 12 reasons, one should also know about the pinworms or threadworms little 12 mm long worms that thrive in the lower part of the bowel. Quite uncannily, these female worms come out of the anus at night, and lay thousands of eggs on the anal skin, causing severe itching in the night. So, if you scratch, the eggs can be struck under your finger nails and if you transfer them to your mouth, the gut is infected again, triggering the whole cyclical effect.

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Treatment for itchy anus

Here is how you can treat anal itch:

1.       Wash the anal area properly after a bowel movement but see that you use non-scented soap and water.  Your doctor may also ask you apply aqueous cream as a cleanser. After applying the cream, massage it gently over the area and rinse it off. You can also use wet tissues if you are in place where you cannot wash. Make suer that you rinse shower gel properly, so that none of them stick in the anal crack.

2.        You can use a cotton-wool ball, dusted with powder against the anus, inside your underwear. You can also use baby powder to dust it, and make sure you change it every time you wash

3.       Avoid bubble baths, do not put any disinfectant or perfumed product on the skin or bath water, this can irritate the skin.

4.       Whenever you wipe the anus with a towel, make sure you dab gently and not rub. If you cannot dry it properly, then use a hairdryer on a cool setting.

5.       Wash your underwear, skirts or pants only with detergent labeled for sensitive skin. Do not use enzyme washing powders or fragrant fabric softeners.

6.        People tend to put greasy creams like Vaseline but they can make the problem worse, keeping the skin soggy.  Instead go for zinc oxide cream to soothe the inflamed skin.

7.       Wear loose cotton underwear.  Avoid clothes that stick to the buttocks or encourage sweating in the anal area.

8.        If you are using over-the-counter ointments for anal itch, then make sure that you use them only for a week or less. Do not go for steroid creams outright unless the doctor advises you so. Steroids may relieve the itch on a short-term basis but also make the skin thin. You may use the cream only for a week or as per the doctor’s advice.

9.        Resist your urge to scratch. If you have to, pinch the skin near the anus between your forefinger and thumb through your clothing, this is less harmful than actual scratching. People tend to scratch more while sleeping and do not realize so. If this is happening in your case, inform the doctor who may give you an antihistamine and also keep your fingernails short.  The doctor may also look for threadworms. ). They appear like small threads of slow-moving white cotton. These can be treated with mebendazole or piperazine. The treatment has to done again after 14 days, because the eggs can last t for this length of time in the environment

10.   In this period, avoid foods that are spicy or cause excessive flatulence. Find out foods that cause excessive flatulence.

11.   In case, your anal itch is not cured, then your doctor may give you an injection that comprises a chemical known as methylene blue into the anal area. So far, this line of treatment is still under research, but the anal itching has completely disappeared in 50 percent of the patients while others are showing dramatic improvement.

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