Anal itching is a common condition. The itch, situated in your anus or on the skin just around your anus, is often intense and may be accompanied by a strong urge to scratch. You may find anal itching to be embarrassing and uncomfortable.
Also called pruritus ani (proo-RIE-tus A-nie), anal itching has many causes, such as skin problems, excessive washing or hemorrhoids.
If anal itching is persistent, talk with your doctor. With proper treatment and self-care measures, most people get complete relief from anal itching.
Anal itching may also be associated with burning and soreness. The itching and irritation may be temporary or more persistent, depending on the cause.
Most anal itching doesn't require medical care. However, see your doctor if:
Persistent anal itching may be related to a skin condition or other health problem that requires medical treatment.
Possible causes of anal itching include:
Your doctor may be able to diagnose the cause of your itching simply by asking you questions about your symptoms.
If the cause of your itching isn't obvious, your doctor may refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist) or a doctor who specializes in treating rectal and anal problems (proctologist) for further evaluation. A rectal exam may be all that's required for you to get an answer — and a solution — to a very uncomfortable problem.
Other tests, such as proctoscopy or colonoscopy to view more of the digestive tract, are sometimes needed to identify an underlying cause of anal itching. However, the precise cause of the itching may never be identified.
Prevention of anal itching mainly involves washing properly and avoiding irritants. If you already have anal itching, try these self-care measures: