Anal itching is an unpleasant symptom associated with many illnesses. It generally occurs due to some kind of irritation of the anus, the external opening of the rectum. The irritation develops as a consequence of many factors or a combination of two or several factors. Itching may cause a person to scratch the affected area and this eventually leads to additional problems.
Causes of Anal Itching
One explanation why anal itching occurs is connected to the food we consume. Namely, different food products may contain irritating chemicals and once they pass the anal canal as a part of feces they cause irritation and itching sensation. This particularly refers to spicy food, hot sauces and food that contains chilly peppers.
Anal itching also affects people whose anal area is irritated by frequent liquid stools (diarrhea) or those suffering from fecal incontinence. Excess of moisture and frequent irritation caused by wiping result in damage of the superficial layers of the skin and itching sensation.
The anal area may be irritated by yeast infection. The condition usually affects HIV patients and other immunocompromised individuals.
Furthermore, the problem may affect people suffering from psoriasis (if it affects the anal area), those with anal fistulas and people infested with certain parasites such as pinworms. Fissures, hemorrhoids and skin tags are several more causes of itchy sensation in the anal area.
Treatment for Anal Itching
The goal of anal itching treatment is elimination of the underlying cause and alleviation of burning and itching sensations as well as soreness of the anal area. It is essential to maintain proper hygiene of the anal area and clean and dry the anus thoroughly. There is no need for vigorous rubbing since it may cause even more intensive irritation. After the process of defecation instead of toilet paper one may use moist pads such as baby wipes, flushable moist wipes and flushable anal cleansing wipes which cause less irritation.
There are many over-the-counter medications available to people suffering from anal itching. They come in different forms (ointments, creams, gels, suppositories, foams, pads etc.). Still, prior to using any of them a person should consult his/her health care provider who will identify the actual cause of anal itching and choose the most convenient treatment modality.
Medications prescribed to people suffering from anal itching vary a lot and some of them are local anesthetics, Vasoconstrictors, protectants, astringents, antiseptics, keratolytics and analgesics. Patients may be prescribed even with a combination of drugs. And finally, surgical treatment is required for some conditions associated with anal itching such as anal fistulas.