Anal itching is often a very uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing condition. While some people might think of it as a simple annoyance, there can actually be some pretty serious underlying causes for this condition. If you find yourself suffering from anal itching, it’s important to understand what the potential causes are and when you need to see a doctor about the problem.
The medical term for anal itching is pruritus ani. This refers to a condition where an itching occurs around the anus, which is the canal that is the outlet for the rectum. The itch may occur in the anus, on the skin immediately surrounding the anus or both. Sometimes anal itching is mild, while others have anal itching that is severe and is accompanied by a strong urge to scratch. The itching may be accompanied by other symptoms, such as a burning feeling, soreness or pain.
Certain environmental factors may cause anal itching to become more intense. One example is moisture, which may occur when a person sweats or is in a humid environment. Some people find that the rubbing of their clothing in the affected area can make the itching worse, sometimes depending on the type of material the clothing is made from. Still others find that the pressure on the area that occurs while sitting intensifies the itching.
There are several possible causes for anal itching, including:
In many cases, anal itching is mild and does not require medical treatment. In these situations, the itching usually clears up on its own after a few days. However, you should see a doctor if you find that your anal itching is severe. For example, if the itching sensation makes you unable to focus or you feel an irresistible urge to scratch, you may be experiencing severe anal itching. Even if you have only mild anal itching, you still need to see a doctor if the condition is persistent. If the anal itching continues for more than a few weeks, see a doctor regardless of how intense the itching may be.
Another situation that requires medical attention for anal itching is if you are bleeding from the rectum. This may be a sign that the itching is being caused by something serious or hazardous to your health, so it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible. In cases where medical attention is necessary, treatment is geared towards finding and treating the underlying cause.
For the mild, non-persistent cases of anal itching, it is often possible to treat the condition at home. There are several options for at-home treatment of anal itching, including: