Anal itching can be a painful and embarrassing health condition, which can occur at any age. However, there’s nothing to worry as there are several home remedies and possible treatments that can provide patients with some relief. Anal itching is basically an intense itching that occurs in the area around the anus. The itching follows an equally intense desire to scratch the affected region. It is also called Pruritus ani. This condition is more common in men than women, although the reasons for it have not been identified yet. A report in the Journal of the Korean Society of Coloproctology stated that around 1 % to 5% of the population may contract this condition.
Home Remedies for Anal Itching
The most popular home remedies for anal itching include the application of petroleum jelly, using damp toilet paper, & avoiding food allergens.
Avoid Food Allergens
If you are suffering from anal itching, you should avoid soda, liquor, beer, and beverages rich in vitamin C. You should also skip spicy foods and those also high in vitamin C content. Avoid them for at least two weeks, and then reintroduce these food items gradually. If and when you start consuming these foods again, pay attention to its repercussions. See if the item you’ve consumed recently is causing you any kind of discomfort. If you find out that a particular food item is causing you a flare-up, chances are that you could be allergic to it. This way you will be aware of it and will avoid these food items or at least be cautious of them.
Natural Food Remedies
Wipe Yourself Clean
If you only wipe your anus after bowel movements, the skin can become delicate and it may lead to irritation, so regularly wipe the area to build tougher skin. After a bowel movement, make sure that there are traces of stool on the toilet paper. If you don’t wipe yourself well, it may lead to severe itching and reddening of the anus. Also, leaving any fecal matter on the skin can result in infection or bad odor. A good tip is to wipe yourself after showering as well as after bowel movements, to build up the toughness or durability of that sensitive skin so it is less prone to inflammation.
Use Damp Toilet Paper
It is not possible to clean off all of the stool after a bowel movement with dry toilet paper. Dampen it slightly before you use it to clean your anal area. Many times, there will be some sticky stool residue remaining in the area that may not get cleaned off, even though you have wiped it multiple times. In such cases, damp toilet paper is far better and effectively reduces the chances of developing anal itching. After using damp toilet paper, however, be sure to wipe it for the final time with a dry paper to reduce excess moisture in the area since that can be another cause of anal itching.
Dry Your Bottom Well
Always make sure that you dry your bottom well. A wet bottom can also irritate the anus. You can also use baby powder to keep it dry, or even dry it with a throwaway cotton ball. A wet bottom may lead to skin irritation, which will soon result in anal itching.
Itching and scratching will only exacerbate the condition, so avoid this at all costs, despite the temporary relief that this can cause. Sitting on a cold compress or taking a cold shower to rinse the area thoroughly is often a good way to relieve the inflammation that leads to an undeniable itchy sensation.
The layer of fabric between the harsher material of your pants and your anal area is important. Underwear is designed to be soft and non-irritating, so be sure to always wear this item of clothing to reduce the chances of developing anal itching.
No Scented Soaps
Soaps that are perfumed or deodorized should not be used. In most cases, they directly cause irritation to sensitive skin. To have an itch-free rectum, unscented soaps are always a good choice. The sensitive skin of that area is much more susceptible to adverse reactions to processed and chemically altered soaps, which have a good fragrance.
No Steroid Cream
Steroid creams should not be used in sensitive areas of the skin because it can actually do more damage than good. These creams thin out the skin, which can lead to breakage. Without a doctor’s recommendation, hydrocortisone cream should not be used for more than seven to ten days. Never apply steroid creams to young children under two years of age without a doctor’s prescription. It may also be hazardous to the child’s health. Broken skin or open wounds near the anal area are prime locations for infections and additional severe inflammation that can be very irritating and itchy. If the issue becomes more serious, be sure to consult a doctor in order to keep yourself healthy.
This is the quickest way to pacify itching and is widely accepted by leading gastroenterologists. However, this is not reliable for a permanent relief. When you have a flare-up of irritation, apply the petroleum jelly carefully to the area and experience almost immediate relief. This will create a lubricating layer between the cheeks of your buttocks, which will reduce friction and irritation, and will create a cooling sensation for the feeling of burning that often accompanies anal itching.
Relieving or managing your stress is one of the best and easiest ways to overcome anal itching. It not only relieves itching but also gives you mental rest. Stress and chronic anxiety can affect the hormones all over your body, which can impact your nerve endings in a variety of ways. Although the exact mechanism of stress in terms of anal itching is not necessarily known, the two have been indirectly associated.
Constant pressure in the area can result in a natural build-up of moisture or sweat in the anal area, and when combined with the pressure of sitting for hours at a time, it can cause clothes to stick to the area and the skin to get inflamed or irritated. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, get up every few hours to walk around, move the area around so the skin near the anal area can get more blood flow to it, and also take this opportunity to wipe yourself dry in the bathroom.
Treatments for Anal Itching
Regular treatment of anal itching differs from person to person depending on the cause of the problem. The most common treatments include adopting self-care measures, changing your diet, and treatment of any underlying infections or conditions. Specific medications like the following are also a vital component of the treatment plan:
- OTC ointments: These usually contain Preparation H and Cortaid.
- Zinc oxide: Ointments with zinc oxide are used to relieve itchy or irritated skin.
While the aforementioned home remedies and treatment methods are some of the sure shot ways to deal with, and in most cases overcome, the problem, we suggest you seek a medical supervisor’s advice nonetheless. According to a report in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, evaluating anal itching is extremely important from the point of view of determining whether the patient’s itching is due to a dermatological or systemic disease, or is it due to other causes. Normally, a thorough history and physical evaluation are undertaken, which includes the examination of the skin, lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, as well as pelvic and rectal areas. This way one can find out the nature of the disease. This then makes the diagnosis and treatment much easier.