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Anal Itching

Anal Itching Quick Overview

  • Anal itching (and perianal itching) occurs around and near the anus, which is the opening for the bowels.
  • Anal itching occurs more often in men, and, most of the time, no cause can be identified.
  • Factors that put people most at risk for anal itching are
    • Dietary factors
    • Fecal soilage (for example, fecal matter leaking on underwear or other underclothing)
    • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
    • Recent antibiotic use
    • Chronic dry skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrhea
    • Profuse sweating
  • Treatment for anal itching includes home remedies and some medications.
  • Depending on the cause anal itching can be prevented by changing toilet tissue, wearing loose underwear and avoiding known food irritants.

Anal Itching Causes

When a cause can be found, the itching is usually due to irritation of the skin around the anus.

Some of the most common irritants include the following:

  • Perfumes, chemicals, or dye on toilet paper can cause an allergic reaction.
  • Moisture from sweat or diarrhea may cause itching. If the anal skin stays wet, the skin begins to break down.
  • Some foods irritate the anus when they are expelled during a bowel movement. The most common culprits are
    • caffeine,
    • chocolate,
    • beer,
    • nuts,
    • dairy products, and
    • spicy food.
  • Infections such as pinworms, yeast, and genital warts can cause itching.
  • Hemorrhoids, which cause painful swelling of blood vessels in the anal area, can cause itching.
  • Cancer, in rare instances, may be a cause of anal itching.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/3/2015
Medical Editor:

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Pinworms »

Enterobius vermicularis (pinworm) is the most common intestinal parasite in the United States. Despite primarily living in the gut, themost common chief complaint is anal itching (pruritus).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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