Anal itching is a common condition. The itch, situated in or 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 possible causes, such as skin problems, hemorrhoids, and washing too much or not enough.
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 be associated with redness, 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. 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, medical history and personal habits. If pinworms are suspected, your doctor may suggest doing a test for pinworms. He or she may also give you a physical exam, including a digital rectal exam.
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). He or she may do other tests, such as proctoscopy or colonoscopy to view more of the digestive tract. But it's possible the cause of the itching may never be identified.
Prevention of anal itching mainly involves washing properly, keeping the area clean, cool and dry, and avoiding irritants. If you already have anal itching, try these self-care measures:
Cleanse gently. After bowel movements, clean the area with plain water or mild soap. It may help to use moist cotton balls or a small squeeze bottle of water. Don't scrub. The goal is to keep the area clean without further irritating the skin.
When traveling by air, take an empty squeeze bottle that you can readily fill with water in bathrooms.