Anal Itching is surely an embarrassing problem. It's also very common. It occurs more often in men than women. Often, it's hard to identify its cause. It usually occurs around and near the anus, the opening for bowels.
There are certain factors that can put you at greater risk for this problem. These include:
- fecal soilage
- use of antibiotics
- profuse sweating
- chronic dry skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrhea
The main cause of anal itching is the irritation of the skin around the anus. Irritants can be:
- toilet paper dyes that trigger an allergic response to moisture from sweat or diarrhea
Some foods can also irritate the anus during the bowel movement. Examples of these are:
- dairy products
- spicy food
Other than that, it can also be caused by infections and conditions like:
- yeast infections
- genital warts
- cancer (in rare cases)
Itching is the most common symptom of this problem. It usually occurs at night or after a bowel movement. It's also common to have rashes, skin breakdown, or discharge in the affected area.
Relief and Prevention
One way to avoid this problem is to clean the area with water gently. This helps the rash heal more quickly. Don't scrub it with soap as this may only irritate the skin even more.
It would also be a good idea to change to a plain and unscented toilet paper. Opt for one that is made of softer material to minimize irritation of the skin. If you've bought soft toilet paper and you still feel it's too abrasive, try using unscented baby wipes or cotton dipped in mineral oil. Don't forget to dry the area using dry cotton to remove any moisture residue.
The right clothes can help. Avoid those that are too restricting. Prefer loose-fitting cotton clothes especially for underwear. This would help the sweat to evaporate more easily. Stay away from panty hose as much as possible.
For instant relief, make use of over-the-counter medications like hydrocortisone creams or zinc oxide ointments. Apply sparingly and be sure to inform your health care provider before using any of these.
As for the diet, avoid the food irritants mentioned above. Always go for a high-fiber diet to promote smooth digestion and bowel movement. Sometimes, the itchiness can be due to the breaking of the skin that occurs when you strain to release hard stools.
If in case the anal itching is accompanied by any type of rash, discharge, lump, bleeding or fever, it's a must to call your doctor right away. You'll be needing a prescription medicine that can treat this condition. Immediate medical attention should also be in order for children who have trouble sleeping at night due to intense itching, as this can be a sign of pinworm infection.