Why does my anus itch ?

Anal itching strikes anytime and anyone and this makes one wonder, why does my anus itch? Itchiness in the anal area could be due to a variety of reasons, from simple irritation caused by food and certain medications to something serious like underlying bowel problems. Anal itching causes intense itchiness around the anus and could sometimes come with bleeding. The discomfort is sometimes unbearable that medical advice is sought.

Many people shy away from visiting the doctor due to the embarrassment associated with an itchy anus. However, this is a relatively common complaint, especially among men and older people, although women and children could be affected as well. Constant and intense scratching can damage the affected skin which is why it should be treated accordingly.

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Causes of Anal Itching

Itchiness on the anus and surrounding area is medically referred to as pruritus ani which is categorized into idiopathic and secondary. Idiopathic pruritus ani is anal itching with no known cause, while secondary pruritus ani is itchiness of the anus due to an identified cause. Among the possible reasons for having an itchy anus are:

  • Intestinal worms and hemorrhoids

These are quite common especially among children. Anal itching is remarkable at night during which the intestinal worms go down the anus to lay their eggs. Hemorrhoids cause the anus to itch as well.

  • Irritant dermatitis

The irritation of the skin on the anal area could be due to certain substances found in food, like pepper, spices and hot sauces. It could also be attributed to excessive cleaning or wiping of the anus with toilet paper, as the dye contained in the toilet paper could irritate the skin. In addition, having plenty of hair on the anal area, perfumed soaps, creams and ointments applied to the skin, could be a source of irritation as well.

  • Anal fissures

A small fissure in the skin of the anus causes it to become itchy due to an extended ulcer. This usually occurs when passing hard stools, thus, causing tears on the anal lining.

  • Infections and antibiotics

Bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms flourish in moist areas of the body, like the anus, which then become irritated and itchy. Among the infections that could lead to itchy anus are STDs, scabies, herpes and anal warts. Having watery stool, stool incontinence and diarrhea also introduces moisture in the anus and therefore makes it conducive for growth of these microorganisms. People treated with antibiotics, such as HIV patients and diabetics, are at risk of getting yeast infection which could irritate the anus.

  • Bowel problems

Crohn’s disease causes fistulas to form and produce fluids that irritate the anus.

Remedies for Itchy Anus

Treatment for anal itching is aimed towards providing relief and comfort. The itchiness may be addressed with dietary modifications, medications or it may resolve on its own. The following can aid in dealing with anal itching.

  • Proper hygiene

This involves taking a bath daily and keeping the anal area dry. Also, it should be cleaned or wiped gently using unscented toilet paper.

  • Wearing loose clothing

This avoids irritating the anal area due to moisture. It is likewise best to choose underwear made with cotton.

  • Avoid offending foods

Nuts, caffeine and spicy foods should be avoided to prevent irritating the anus when passing stool.

  • Medications

There are a number of drugs used to ease anal itchiness. These may come in the form of suppositories, pads, gels, creams and ointments.

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