Top on the list of the most embarrassing things that could happen to an individual is having an itch around the anal region. Imagine walking through a crowded mall and having the most uncomfortable itch around your ‘region’. This is more common than most would expect however, as anal itching is experienced by quite a number of people. The itch most times is located around the anal region and often presents a very strong urge to scratch the region. This condition is not only uncomfortable but also embarrassing. It may also be referred to as ‘pruritus ani’ and may occur as a result of a number of reasons including inadequate washing of anal areas, skin problems and hemorrhoids. It is advised that one consults a doctor once anal itching is found to be persistent. It is however possible to get complete and total relief from this condition.
The main symptom is an urge to scratch your anus, which is difficult to resist
Itching around the anal regions may be accompanied with redness and burning. Anal regions may also be sore after scratching. The soreness will create avenue for more infection and scratching and a vicious cycle is created. It is often temporary but may last longer if the root cause is not identified. Also, topical treatments for itching and infection may be sensitizing, causing further itching. It is however recommended that a physician be consulted if anal itching is persistent and includes anal bleeding or infection. Once it is discovered to be persistent, an individual should seek medical attention.
Too little cleansing leaves irritating stool and sweat residue on the anal skin. Too much cleansing, often with sanitary wipes and strong soaps, can be drying or irritating or occasionally cause a contact hypersensitivity reaction. A number of reasons are responsible for anal itching. These include unknown causes, personal care habits, which could be practiced with products that may irritate the skin. Some bath gels or wipes used around the anal region may cause a skin irritation and would cause itching around the anal region. Also, infections such as sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes involving the anus may cause anal itching. Yeast infections common in females can also cause itching. Some specific skin conditions are also responsible for this itching such as contact dermatitis.
Other conditions that may cause anal itching include scabies, persistent diarrhea, food allergies, soap/detergent allergies, worm infestation in children, hemorrhoids, stress and anxiety, and even diabetes. Large external hemorrhoids can make cleaning the anus very difficult because you won’t know where to clean, and large internal hemorrhoids can cause mucus drainage or fecal soilage of underwear and consequent irritation. Fecal and urinary incontinence predisposes to local irritation and secondary fungal infections.
Prevention & Home Therapy
Treat the primary cause, if any foods or medicines could be causing the itch, try avoiding for a while. Try not to scratch. Treat hemorrhoids, fungal infection, control blood sugar. Change underwear daily, wash and pat dry butt, do not put on underwear until your anus is fully dry. If you sweat and moisture gathers around your anus, put a cotton tissue in your underwear to absorb the moisture and change as frequently as it gets wet.
A number of home therapy routines are available that can provide relief from this condition. It can be prevented through proper hygiene. It is also advised that individuals do not sit on the toilet for too long when passing out waste and wash thoroughly afterwards. If itching occurs, simply cleanse the anal areas gently with warm water and dry thoroughly. Also wear loose underwear that promotes airing of the area. Avoid any potential irritants: stop using scented soaps, talcum powder, bubble bath, perfume, etc, near your anus; use plain, non-colored toilet tissue.
If the cause of itching isn’t clear but remains persistent, a specialist may be needed such as a proctologist or dermatologist. A proctoscopy/colonoscopy may be performed to understand the root cause of the itch so see a doctor if any of these symptoms develop:
- Bleeding from the bottom.
- Mucous discharge.
- Lumps around the anus.
- Changes in your regular bowel habit.
Treatment & Medication
Treatment often times depends on the cause of the problem. This includes self-care routines such as application of anti-itching cream. Also, oral antihistamines may be recommended if symptoms are worse at night.
Anal itching can be quite embarrassing especially when not taken care of properly. This problem however can come as easily as it goes. Simply improve personal hygiene and wash gently around anal regions. This would provide fast and effective relief.