Anal itching, also called anal pruritus is a common symptom in the office visit in Minnesota. The symptom often fluctuates over time. 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. 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 and thick with fine fissures.
Possible causes of anal itching include:
Hemorrhoids: Anal itching can be an initial symptom of hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids usually cause local inflammation. The skin folds, anal tags and external hemorrhoids make cleansing difficult.
Skin irritation: The local inflammation caused by hemorrhoids and anal leakage cause moisture around anus, and moisture and friction can irritate the skin in the peri-anal area. Some products such as soap and toilet paper may also trigger irritation.
Digestive problems: Diarrhea or fecal leakage 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.
Treatments for anal itching include:
1. Keep the peri-anal area dry and clean
2. Avoid scratching skin
3. Taking antihistamine as a sedative prior to sleeping to prevent the patient from unconsciously scratching
4. Using a topical cream such as Preparation H cream or corticosteroid cream to alleviate the itching.
5. Treat the underlying disorders such as hemorrhoids after thorough evaluation.