Many people develop Pruritus Ani (also called anal itching, itchy bottom, or itchy anus). It is difficult to keep the skin around the rectum clean. The most common factors that can cause this condition are moisture and leakage. The skin becomes irritated causing itchiness.
The urge to scratch often leads to additional skin damage and irritation. Different conditions like allergies, diabetes, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fistulas, chronic diarrhea, constipation, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, dermatitis, and infections (such as pinworms, candida, and scabies) may cause anal itching. Also, there are certain foods and beverages that could cause anal itching – like for example tea, caffeinated beverages, spicy foods, tomatoes, and citrus.
What are the symptoms of Pruritus Ani?
The most common symptoms of the itchy bottom are itchiness, redness, soreness, and occasional bleeding (due to the scratching). Sometimes, the urge to scratch is out of control. A big change in your life and stress could make the condition even worse.
This is a pretty common condition. So don’t be embarrassed about seeing a doctor. Your physician will examine your anus internally and externally. Sometimes scraping of the skin near the anus are taken for additional examination.
The most important thing to do is to keep the anus area clean and dry. Surgery is unnecessary. Your doctor may prescribe you medications (usually topical) that reduce the itch. Pruritus Ani is a recurrent condition. Read here some simple tips you could follow to manage it:
- Clean the anus area with soft and unscented toilet paper after a bowel movement. You could even use small moistened cotton wool pads rather than toilet paper.
- To completely remove fecal residue, it is better to shower with warm water.
- Avoid rubbing with soap – this may increase irritation.
- Make sure that the skin around the rectum is dry. After washing, pat dry the area with a towel or cotton wool.
- You may apply baby powder or drying powder.
- Use ointments and creams to relieve the soreness, pain, and itchiness.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing and such made of synthetic materials. Instead, choose cotton underwear that fits you properly.
- It is important to have regular bowels. If you don’t, just add more fiber to your diet. You have to consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily. To do that, eat more fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, grains, oatmeal, and cereal. If for any reason you can’t get enough of it through food, consider taking fiber supplements (but first ask your doctor).
- Avoid spicy foods and carbonated beverages – those might promote itching.
- Avoid perfumed cosmetics that may cause irritation to the area.
If the condition doesn’t disappear after a certain time, make sure to visit your doctor. Remember that it is important to keep the area around the anus clean and dry. Also, keep everything that could cause irritation, away from your bottom and don’t scratch it. If you do all that, you will soon be better.