Anal Pruritus

Anal pruritus is an itching of the anus, which is often due to increased moisture of the skin around the anus. Moisture may be due to sweating or a small amount of remaining stool. The itching and scratching can cause further skin damage.

CAUSES

  • Poor hygiene.

  • Excessive moisture from sweating or residual stool in the anal area.

  • Perfumed soaps and sprays and colored toilet paper.

  • Chemicals in the foods you eat.

  • Dietary factors such as caffeine, beer, milk products, chocolate, nuts, citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy seasonings, jalapeno peppers, and salsa.

  • Hemorrhoids, infections, and other anal diseases.

  • Excessive washing.

  • Overuse of laxatives.

  • Skin disorders (psoriasis, eczema, or seborrhea).

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Practice good hygiene.

  • Clean the anal area gently with wet toilet paper, baby wipes, or a wet washcloth after every bowel movement and at bedtime. Avoid using soaps on the anal area. Dry the area thoroughly. Pat the area dry with toilet paper or a towel.

  • Do not scrub the anal area with anything, even toilet paper.

  • Try not to scratch the itchy area. Scratching produces more damage, which makes the itching worse.

  • Take sitz baths in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes, 2 to 3 times a day. Pat the area dry with a soft cloth after each bath.

  • Zinc oxide ointment or a moisture barrier cream can be applied several times daily to protect the skin.

  • Only take medicines as directed by your caregiver.

  • Talk to your caregiver about fiber supplements. These are helpful in normalizing the stool if you have frequent loose stools.

  • Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing.

  • Do not use irritants such as bubble baths, scented toilet paper, or genital deodorants.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Itching does not improve in several days or gets worse.

  • You have a fever.

  • There are problems with increased pain, swelling, or redness.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.