Anal itching, or pruritus ani, is an intense itching and irritation around the external opening of the rectum, called the anus. Anal itching is a common problem that has many causes. According to Drug Information Online, common causes of anal itching include bowel diseases, skin conditions, infections, haemorrhoids, rectal trauma, certain medications, and skin care. Anal itching may be accompanied by bleeding, stinging, and burning inside the anus or around the skin of the anus. The skin around the anus may also become scaly and inflamed, causing pain and discomfort. There are home remedies to help calm an itching rectum.
Self-Care and Remedies
The type of remedies you can use to treat anal itching will vary based on the cause of the problem. The most common course of treatment is self-care, over-the-counter creams and ointments, or changes to your diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. When properly treated, anal itching usually goes away in about a week. Washing thoroughly and avoiding things that may cause the anus to become irritated can prevent anal itching.
To treat an itching anus or rectum, wash the area several times a day, including after each bowel movement. Gently clean the area with baby wipes or warm water and a clean washcloth. Avoid using deodorant soap and body wash. Always dry the area with a clean towel or rag to eliminate moisture. After washing and drying your anus and rectum, apply petroleum jelly to the area for temporary relief. Petroleum jelly will immediately calm and soothe itching and irritation.
Changing the type of bathroom tissue that you use may also help anal itching, says the Mayo Clinic. Often, bathroom tissue may be too abrasive for the anus. Switch to a bathroom tissue that's soft, unscented, and contains no dyes. Instead of using dry bathroom tissue, wet your tissue with warm water to clean your anus after using the bathroom. Alternately, moistened baby or bathroom wipes may also be used on sensitive skin.
Avoid wearing tight clothing, underwear, and pantyhose that can retain moisture. Always wear loose, cotton underwear when you're experiencing anal itching. Cotton is a breathable fabric that wont trap moisture near the rectum.
Try to limit or avoid alcohol, soda pop, spicy foods, and foods and beverages rich in vitamin C. These things can further irritate the anus. Also, avoid foods that may give you diarrhoea or cause you to have excessive bowel movements.
Don't scratch your rectum or anus when it itches. The Mayo Clinic says, "Scratching further irritates your skin and leads to persistent inflammation." Instead of scratching the area, use a clean, wet cloth to relieve the itching. Taking a warm bath is also effective.
Drug Information Online suggests using a "beaded or mesh cushion" when you plan to sit for an extended period of time. These cushions can help decrease anal sweating and moisture, preventing further irritation.
With the exception of petroleum jelly, creams and ointments purchased over-the-counter should not be used to treat anal itching unless prescribed by a doctor. If itching of the anus and rectum persists for several weeks or worsens, you may need to seek medical care to determine if there is a more serious underlining problem.