Anal itching is one of four common anorectal cardinal symptoms in the office visit in Minnesota, other symptoms are rectal pain, bleeding and bulging out. Anal itching may resolve spontaneously or with topical medications, but the initial relief of the itching does not necessarily mean the problem goes away. Continuous scratching or excessive cleaning of the anal area may further harm the sensitive tissues and worsen symptoms. The peri-anal dermatitis with or without yeast infection can complicate the problem. In addition, the area can be highly sensitive to perfumes, soaps, fabrics, dietary intake and superficial trauma. When chronic itching occurs, the perianal area becomes white with fine fissures.
Possible causes of anal itching include:
• Skin irritation: Moisture and friction can irritate the skin in the peri-anal area. Some products such as soap and toilet paper may also trigger irritation.
• Hemorrhoids: Anal itching can be a symptom of hemorrhoids.
• Digestive problems: Diarrhea or fecal leakage or mucus discharge can cause anal irritation and itching.
• Skin disease: Anal itching could be related to a specific skin disease, such as psoriasis or contact dermatitis
• Infections. STD, yeast infections, and the parasite may also involve the anus and can cause anal itching.
• Anal tumors: Rarely, a cause of anal itching.
Mild anal itching can be easily relieved with Sitz bath and topical OTC hemorrhoid cream. If Pruritic Ani with chronic itching occurs, cyclic urge to scratch must be broken. Treatments for intensive and cyclic anal itching include wearing mitten and taking antihistamine as a sedative prior to sleeping to prevent the patient from unconsciously scratching, or using a topical corticosteroid to alleviate the itching. Underlying disorders such as hemorrhoids or infections must be considered and treated when diagnosing and treating anal itching.