Pruritus ani can be caused by many things, including:
- Infections, such as pinworms, fungus, streptococcal skin infections, or sexually transmitted diseases
- Skin disorders, such as contact dermatitis or psoriasis
- Hemorrhoids , anal fissures , anal fistula , proctitis, or skin tags
- Certain foods, such as caffeinated drinks, alcohol, peanuts, tomatoes
- Too much moisture around rectum
- Certain medications, such as laxatives
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes or liver disease
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Ideally, the cause of the problem will be identified and treated. For example, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat a bacterial infection. Treatment for the itching and irritation may include:
- Gently cleanse the area with water when bathing
- Take a sitz bath
- Dry thoroughly
- Use cotton, gauze, or cornstarch to absorb moisture
- Don’t scratch
- Use unbleached, unscented toilet paper
- Wear loose cotton clothing and underwear
- Avoid irritants (such as bubble baths, certain foods)
- Over-the-counter or prescription cream or ointment containing hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids to reduce itching and provide protection
- Zinc oxide ointment—to provide protection
- Topical capsaicin—to reduce itching
- Certain medications to treat infection if this is thought to be the cause of your itching
To help reduce your chance of pruritis ani:
- Avoid tight-fitting, synthetic clothing
- Try to keep the area clean and dry
- Use barrier ointments
- Avoid scratching at the area
- Avoid using perfumes, dyes, and any other irritants on the area
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid certain medications (such as opioids or laxatives)
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Anal Itching)
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Pruritus ani. American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.fascrs.org/patients/conditions/pruritus%5Fani. Updated October 2012. Accessed December 4, 2012.
Pruritus ani. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116635/Pruritus-ani . Updated June 13, 2012. Accessed December 4, 2012.
Siddiqi S, Vijay V, et al. Pruritus ani. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2008;90(6): 457–463.