Anal itching is a common condition. The itch, situated in or around your anus, is often intense and may be accompanied by a strong urge to scratch. You may find anal itching to be embarrassing and uncomfortable.
Also called pruritus ani (proo-RIE-tus A-nie), anal itching has many possible causes, such as skin problems, hemorrhoids, and washing too much or not enough.
If anal itching is persistent, talk with your doctor. With proper treatment and self-care, most people get complete relief from anal itching.
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Anal itching may be associated with redness, burning and soreness. The itching and irritation may be temporary or more persistent, depending on the cause.
When to see a doctor
Most anal itching doesn't require medical care. See your doctor if:
- Anal itching is severe or persistent
- You have anal bleeding or stool leakage
- The anal area seems to be infected
- You can't figure out what's causing a persistent itch
Persistent anal itching may be related to a skin condition or other health problem that requires medical treatment.
Sometimes the cause of anal itching isn't identifiable. Possible causes of anal itching include:
Irritants. Fecal incontinence and long-term (chronic) diarrhea can irritate the skin. Or your skin care routine may include products or behaviors that irritate the skin, such as using harsh soaps or moist wipes and washing too aggressively.
Infections. These include sexually transmitted infections, pinworms, and yeast infections.
Skin conditions. Sometimes anal itching is the result of a specific skin condition, such as psoriasis or contact dermatitis.
Other medical conditions. These include diabetes, thyroid disease, hemorrhoids, anal tumors.
Sept. 29, 2018
- Breen E, et al. Approach to the patient with anal pruritus. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Sept. 5, 2018.
- Bope ET, et al. General principles of treatment. In: Conn's Current Therapy 2018. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 5, 2018.
- AskMayoExpert. Pruritus ani. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2018.
- Nasseri Y, et al. Pruritus ani: Diagnosis and treatment. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. 2013;42:801.
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