Pruritus Ani is Latin for “itchy anus”, and is a bothersome irritation of the skin around the anus. Numerous factors can cause anal itch, and it is treatable. Factors that can put you more at risk include dietary factors, fecal matter on underwear, diabetes, antibiotic use, skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrhea, and excessive sweating. It could also be your hemorrhoids itching!
When you scratch, you irritate the skin even more. So, what can you do to stop the embarrassing itchy anus?
Is it what I’m eating? Sure, it may play a role with pruritus ani. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, citrus fruits, spicy food, beer, dairy products, and nuts can contribute. That’s because certain foods can make your stool irritating. Try eliminating one of these at a time for several weeks, and see if it helps.
Is it what I’m using down there? Yes, scented toilet paper, soaps and creams, and detergents can contribute to your problem. Avoid soaps to anal area, use plain white toilet paper, and keep the area dry. Check with your doctor about over-the-counter ointments and creams—the wrong one can make the itch worse!
Is my chronic diarrhea causing the itch? Good question, because stool is very irritating and a common cause of pruritus ani. Keep the area clean—plain water rinses are good—and gently wipe and dry after every bowel movement. Do not scrub, and avoid scratching as much as possible. Cool compresses can be soothing, too.
What other conditions can cause itchy anal itching? Sexually transmitted diseases, fungal and yeast infections, parasites, precancerous lesions, and tumors can be primary to your itching. That’s why it is so important to be examined and treated by a board certified colon & rectal surgeon. Don’t be embarrassed, and please don’t wait!
Contact Dr. Lisa A. Perryman, a board certified colon & rectal surgeon in Denver at (303)840-8822, or request an appointment at www.ColoradoColon.com.