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.
Anal itching may be caused by:
- Spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, and other irritating foods and beverages
- Scents or dyes in toilet paper or soap
- 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
Call your health care provider if you have:
- A rash or lump in or around the anus
- Bleeding or discharge from the anus
Also, call your provider if self-care does not help within 2 or 3 weeks.
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Coates WC. Disorders of the anorectum. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 86.
Davis B. The management of pruritus ani. In: Cameron JL, Cameron AM, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:295-298.