• Pruritus Ani

    (Anal Itching)

    Definition

    Pruritus ani is an intense itching in and around the anus. This can cause you to feel the need to scratch. Anal itching is a common problem that many people experience at one point or another.
    The Anus
    si1229 96472 1
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Causes

    Pruritus ani can be caused by many things, including:
    • Infections (eg, pinworms, fungus, streptococcuss skin infections)
    • Skin disorders (eg, contact dermatitis, psoriasis)
    • Hemorrhoids
    • Certain foods, such as caffeinated drinks, alcohol, peanuts, tomatoes
    • Too much moisture
    • Certain medications, such as laxatives

    Risk Factors

    There are no common risk factors associated with anal itching.

    Symptoms

    The irritation in and around your anus can be a temporary condition or it may continue to bother you. Pruritus ani produces itching, soreness, and burning.

    Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will try to determine the cause of your condition.

    Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Ideally, the cause of the problem will be identified and treated. For example, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat an infection. Treatment for the itching and irritation may include:

    Self-care

    • Gently cleanse the area with water when bathing
    • Take a sitz bath
    • Dry thoroughly
    • Use cotton, gauze, or cornstarch to absorb moisture
    • Don’t scratch
    • Use unbleached, unscented toilet paper
    • Wear loose cotton clothing and underwear
    • Avoid irritants (eg, bubble baths, certain foods)

    Medication

    • Over-the-counter or prescription cream or ointment containing hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids to reduce itching and provide protection
    • Zinc oxide ointment—to provide protection
    • Topical capsaicin—to reduce itching
    • Certain medicines to treat infection if this is thought to be the cause of your itching

    Prevention

    • Avoid tight-fitting, synthetic clothing
    • Try to keep the area clean and dry
    • Avoid scratching at the area
    • Avoid using perfumes, dyes, and any other irritants on the area
    • Eat a healthy diet
    • Exercise regularly
    • Avoid certain medications (eg, narcotics, laxatives)

    RESOURCES

    American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org

    American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca/

    Dermatologists.ca http://www.dermatologists.ca

    References

    Pruritus ani. American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.fascrs.org/patients/conditions/pruritus%5Fani/. Updated October 2012. Accessed December 4, 2012.

    Pruritus ani. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 13, 2012. Accessed December 4, 2012.

    Siddiqi S, Vijay V, Ward M, et al. Pruritus ani. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2008 September; 90(6): 457–463.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.