Anal itching generally occurs around and close to the anus. It often occurs among men and there is no known cause in most cases.
What are the usual causes?
If a cause is determined, the itchiness is usually due to skin irritation around the anus. Some of the usual irritants include:
- Chemicals, perfumes or dye in toilet paper can trigger an allergic reaction.
- Moisture from sweat or even diarrhea can trigger anal itching. Once the anal skin remains wet or moist for prolonged periods, the skin starts to break down.
- Certain foods that can irritate the anus once eliminated during bowel movement such as beer, caffeine, nuts, chocolate, spicy foods and dairy products.
- Infections such as yeast, pinworms and genital warts
- Cancer in rare instances
- Hemorrhoids that cause sore swelling of the blood vessels in the anal region can also trigger itchiness.
What are the signs?
- Itchiness at night time and after a bowel movement
- Rashes in the anal region with skin damage or weeping drainage
Management of anal itching
Skin irritation must be avoided especially scrubbing the area with soap. This can cause further irritation and itchiness. Gently cleanse the site using water.
Other self-care measures include:
- Use plain, unscented soft toilet paper
- If the toilet paper used is abrasive, clean the site using fragrance-free baby wipes or cotton dampened with mineral oil.
- Use loose cotton underwear that allows the evaporation of sweat
- Over-the-counter medications such as creams or ointments that include zinc oxide or hydrocortisone can provide relief.
- Avoid any irritating foods and eat a diet rich in fiber.