/SiteAssets/Images/FMOLHSBlankBanner.png

Health Information

Anal itching - self-care
Bookmarks

Anal itching - self-care

Print-Friendly  

Pruritus ani - self-care

Anal itching occurs when the skin around your anus becomes irritated. You may feel intense itching around and just inside the anus.

I Would Like to Learn About:

  • Causes

    Anal itching may be caused by:

    • Spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, and other irritating foods and beverages
    • Scents or dyes in toilet paper or soap
    • Diarrhea
    • Hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in or around your anus
    • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
    • Taking antibiotics
    • Yeast infections
    • Parasites, such as pinworms, which more commonly occur in children
  • Self-care at home

    To treat anal itching at home, you should keep the area as clean and dry as possible.

    • Clean the anus gently after bowel movements, without scrubbing. Use a squeeze bottle of water, unscented baby wipes, a wet washcloth, or wet unscented toilet paper.
    • Avoid soaps with dyes or fragrances.
    • Pat dry with a clean, soft towel or unscented toilet paper. Do not rub the area.
    • Try over-the-counter creams, ointments, or gels with hydrocortisone or zinc oxide, made to soothe anal itching. Be sure to follow the directions for use on the package.
    • Wear loose clothing and cotton underwear to help keep the area dry.
    • Try not to scratch the area. This can cause swelling and irritation, and make itching worse.
    • Avoid foods and beverages that can cause loose stools or irritate the skin around the anus. This includes spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol.
    • Use fiber supplements, if needed, to help you have regular bowel movements.
  • When to call the doctor

    You should call your doctor if you have:

    • A rash or lump in or around the anus
    • Bleeding or discharge from the anus
    • Fever

    Also, call your doctor if self-care doesn't help within 2 or 3 weeks.

Related Information

References

James WD, Berger TG, Elston, DM. Pruritus and neurocutaneous dermatoses. In: James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM. Andrews' Diseases of the Skin: Clinical Dermatology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 4.

Marcello PW. Diseases of the anorectum. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 125.

BACK TO TOP 

Review Date: 6/9/2013  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

adam.com

 
A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and Google Chrome browser.