What causes anal/Rectal itching?
The most common cause of anal/rectal itching (pruritus ani) is from a fungus/yeast infection. Enlarged or swollen hemorrhoids cause the leakage or moisture, stool, and fungus. Repeatedly wiping, cleaning or scratching make the itching worse. Anal/Rectal itching is typically worse at night.
Other possible causes of anal/rectal itching are poor hygiene, leakage of stool and mucous, diarrhea, over cleaning, prolapsed hemorrhoids, inflamed internal hemorrhoids, anal/rectal fissures, anal/rectal fistula, dry skin, Chron's disease, rectal warts, pinworms, psoriasis, eczema, seborrhea, lichen planus, scabies, STIs, anal cancer, HPV, sweating, erythrasma, contact dermatitis, neroderamatitis, amebiasis, or proctitis. Diabetes mellitus can increase infections and itching as well. Liver failure and anxiety or stress may also cause itching.
Diagnosing and Treating Anal/Rectal Itching
If the anal/rectal itching is mild you may be able to stop the itching through improved hygiene. Gently clean the area with soap and water and dry with soft paper. Decrease the amount of refined carbohydrates you eat to reduce the amount of yeast in your diet. Increase your fiber intake to reduce leakage.
Certain scented products, topical medications, or home remedies can cause dermatitis and itching. Witch hazel or alcohol-based cleansing pads, harsh soap, formaldehyde-impregnated tissue, or harsh rubbing can all irritate the area. Antibiotics, mineral oils and caffeine may also increase leakage and irritation. Keep the irritated area clean with warm water (gently drying the area afterward). Scratching breaks the skin and aggravates the infection so resist the urge to scratch! Avoid wearing tight clothes that will rub up on the area and wear cotton underwear. Stay away from fabric softeners or harsh soaps. Try a free and clear detergent on your clothing. Oral antibiotics for other conditions can cause a yeast infection. We will discuss which medications you take and what you can do to prevent a yeast infection during your office visit.
Avoid rectal intercourse and keep the anus clean with a mild unscented soap gently drying the area afterward. Apply Balneol lotion after bowl movements, using cotton balls to absorb moisture. Do not use any products that contain cornstarch and limit your intake of alcohol, coffee, tea, or any carbonated beverages. Cut out tomatoes, chocolate, milk products, Vitamin C, or any citrus juices. Stay away from spicy foods, and do your best to keep your stress at a manageable level.
Hydrocortisone is safe for anal itching, however, we do not recommend the use of steroids/creams by themselves as it will only provide minimal and temporary relief. In some cases, it can actually worsen the underlying skin infection. Over-the-counter anti-fungal creams are not to be used to anal/rectal itching. The above measures may only help the symptoms but not address the underlying problem. A proper diagnosis and treatment for anal/rectal itching requires an examination by a qualified physician. Call our specialist today to schedule your exam.
HRC Treatment for Anal/Rectal Itching Caused by Hemorrhoids
If your exam shows that your anal/rectal itching is due to enlarged hemorrhoids, we will remove the hemorrhoids with our non-surgical banding procedure.