A persistent desire to scratch the anus is known as anal itching. Several factors are responsible for this embarrassing problem. Scratching the itchy anus might worsen the problem by injuring the anal area. Anal scratching is usually a symptom of an underlying health disorder. It subsides naturally after the disease responsible for the itchy anus is cured.
Anal Itching – Causes and Treatment
Anal itching is a common symptom of pinworm infection. Pinworms, also known as threadworms or seatworms are small white colored parasites that might enter the body when a person accidentally swallows pinworm eggs. The ingested eggs, hatch into pinworm larva in the small intestine.
The larva travels into the large intestine where they mature and mate. While a person with pinworm infection sleeps, the female parasite enters the anus and deposits eggs in the anal area. Presence of the pinworm eggs on the anus skin causes intense irritation and itching. Scratching the anus, transports the eggs to the fingernails, from where the eggs spread to other objects, bedding and other humans.
Pinworm Infection Treatment
Treating the pinworm infection will provide relief from anal itching. To eliminate the parasites from the intestines, people diagnosed with pinworm infections should take pinworm medications as recommended by physicians for about nine weeks. The medications are taken at specific intervals, usually once every three weeks or as recommended by the physician. To get rid of the worms, along with the prescribed medications, you can eat two to three cloves of fresh garlic daily. Grapefruit seed extract is often recommended for treating pinworm infection. Add five to ten drops of grapefruit seed extract to a cup of water and drink it two to three times a day, for up to a week. Pinworm infestation can also be treated with black walnut tincture and wormwood.
In people with hemorrhoids, stool and mucus leak into the anal area, leading to anal itching. However, anal itching is not a common symptom of hemorrhoids. Treating the hemorrhoid could reduce anal itching. Hemorrhoids are treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications and/or surgeries. A fiber rich diet and consuming fiber supplements might ease bowel movement and reduce the symptoms of hemorrhoids.
Your diet might be responsible for anal itching. Consuming hot peppery foods is a common cause of anal irritation and itching. In some people, anal itching might develop after consuming chocolates, nuts, caffeine, dairy and beer. Certain chemicals present in these foods might irritate the anus while they are flashed out of the body through the feces. Eliminating these foods from the diet might prevent chronic anal itching.
Anal itching could be a symptom of an allergic reaction. Exposure to perfumed toilet papers and soaps and certain chemicals in detergents used for washing the underwear might trigger itching in the anus.
Exposure to moisture
Repeated exposure to moisture irritates the anus, triggering anal itching. Excessive perspiration and diarrhea might cause itching. Small amount of stool and mucus might leak into the anal area in people with fecal incontinence.
Exposure to moisture for a prolonged period creates a favorable environment for yeast growth in the anal region. Yeast infection or overgrowth of yeast is a common cause of anal itching. The risk of yeast infection is especially higher in diabetics and people with weakened immune system. Antibiotics taken for treating bacterial infections might kill the beneficial bacteria in the body along with the harmful bacteria, disrupting the normal balance of the bacterial flora that prevents yeast overgrowth.
Anal itching caused by yeast infection subsides naturally once the infection is cured. Anti fungal medications and ointments are recommended for treating the yeast infection. To prevent yeast overgrowth and to restore the microbial balance in your body, you should follow a diet designed for treating yeast infection. Add probiotics and prebiotics in your diet. Limit consumption of sugary foods and foods containing yeasts.
Anal Itching Treatment Options
To reduce anal itching, the anus should be clean and dry. After bowel movements, clean the anus with moist toilet papers or cleansing wipes. Gently clean the area. People suffering from stool incontinence or excess sweating, should wipe the anus with wipes in between bowel movements. Avoid using heavily scented soaps for cleaning the anal area. Do not use a perfumed detergent for washing undergarments. Thoroughly wash the underwear so that traces of detergent do not remain on the fabric. To reduce the anal irritation wear cotton underwear. Anal itching could be reduced by applying over-the-counter ointments and gels to the anal region. Severe itching might be treated with local aesthetics. Inflammation, pain and itching might be treated with medications known as vasoconstrictors.
To reduce the itching, you can apply protectants to the itchy anus. Protectants form a natural barrier over the skin, shielding the anal region from mucus and stool that irritate it. Common protectants include glycerin, mineral oil, lanolin, white petrolatum, aluminum hydroxide gel, cocoa butter, kaolin, zinc oxide and starch. You can even apply cod liver oil to the itchy anus to reduce the irritation. Anal itching could also be treated with witch hazel. Witch hazel acts as an astringent, and helps to dry the anal skin, reducing the itchiness. You can even use calamine for treating the anal discomfort. Besides acting as a protectant, calamine also acts as an astringent.
Applying a cold compress or ice pack might reduce the burning and itching sensation in the anus. Cold compress is especially beneficial for people with hemorrhoids. You can even alleviate the anal discomfort with a warm sitz bath. To find instant relief from anal itching, add oatmeal to the sitz bath. Accumulation of moisture in the anal area is a common cause of anal itching. Applying a little cornstarch or unscented powder to the anal area might keep the area dry for a long time. To reduce the itching and irritation, you can apply small amount of tea tree oil to the itchy anus. Olive oil blended with aloe vera gel might provide relief from the bothersome condition.