Anal itching, medically known as pruritus ani, is a situation in which the skin around the anus gets irritated and leads to itching around and just inside the anus.
Anal itching is common in both men and women although it’s more prevalent in men. It can also happen at any age. However, it is most common in people between the ages of 30 to 50.
Anal itching can be caused by a skin condition or by internal medical issues;
- Skin-related causes of anal itching include; psoriasis, sweat or moisture around the anus, atopic dermatitis, excess friction in the anal area, improper wiping after a bowel movement, as well as scents or dyes in toilet papers and soaps.
- Medical-related causes of anal itching include; hemorrhoids, fecal incontinence, diarrhea, constipation, anal fissures, anal tumors, food allergies, yeast and other fungal infections, as well as sexually transmitted infections.
The main symptom of anal itching is itching of the anal area which could be severe and cause an urge to scratch. Other symptoms of anal itching include; dryness, soreness, rash in and around the anal region, as well as redness and swelling around the region.
Here are some tips and good practices, to consider, if you are dealing with anal itching;
- Avoid the urge to scratch the anal region as this could exacerbate the condition.
- Avoid using scented toilet papers as this could exacerbate the condition.
- Ensure you clean and dry your buttocks properly after a bowel movement.
- If the anal itching is caused by excessive perspiration, you could apply talcum powder around your anal region to help absorb moisture. Avoid using cornstarch as this could exacerbate the condition.
- Avoid sitting down for long as this could lead to moisture buildup in the anal region which could lead to anal itching.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting underwears. Also, opt for underwears made of cotton as opposed to those made of synthetic fabrics.
- Stress could trigger anal itching. As such avoid negative stress and stressful situations. You could opt for yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to help relieve stress.
Below are home remedies and natural treatments for anal itching;
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV is a powerful antibiotic that helps to control fungal and yeast infections that cause anal itching. Additionally, ACV balances the body’s pH and has strong parasite cleansing properties. To reduce the irritation and itching, mix two tbsp of unfiltered vinegar in a cup of water and drink two times daily. You can also use it externally by adding a half cup of ACV in your water bath and then soak in for 30 minutes. Although this may sting a bit initially, it would feel soothing within a few seconds. For fast relief, use apple cider vinegar the first thing in the morning and when going to bed.
2. Avoid Sitting For Long Hours
Lifestyle changes, like avoiding prolonged sitting, allow more blood to flow to the anal region. When you sit for long hours, moisture may accumulate in the anal region resulting in skin irritation. That’s why most drivers and people who spend lots of hours seated in the office are at a higher risk of experiencing anal itching. If your job demands that you sit for many hours, take frequent breaks in between.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is one of the most reliable self-care methods for anal itching. It works as a natural antibacterial agent by treating infections in the problem area. To curb anal itching, dip a cotton pad in fresh lemon juice and apply on the anal region. Use this remedy on a daily basis until you get some relief.
4. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is useful in treating numerous skin ailments including cold sores, dry skin, and anal itching. It has antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties which make it effective in treating infections that come with anal itching. When taken internally, it aids in the elimination of intestinal worms. To alleviate anal itching, all you need to do is consume 2-3 tbsp of coconut oil once a day. Alternatively, dab some coconut oil in the anal region several times a day to reduce the itching.
Garlic has antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial qualities which help to eradicate the infection that causes anal itching. Another reason why you should add garlic to your food list is that it aids in the elimination of intestinal worms. To keep the anal itching at bay, eat 2-3 garlic cloves every day. You may also want to make an infusion by boiling two garlic cloves in a cup of milk and drinking it on an empty stomach.
6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil has potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties that aid in soothing an anal itch. When taken internally, it destroys the pathogens that cause infections. To relieve itching and burning, all you have to do is to apply 2-3 tbsp of organic olive oil to the affected area 2-3 times a day. You can also add 2-3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to your foods every day.
Being a rich source of good bacteria (probiotics), yogurt can control the growth of an infection that may cause anal itching. Yogurt also has amazing soothing and moisturizing effect on the skin. Since not all kinds of yogurt are made equally, you should use unsweetened probiotic yogurt. To treat anal itching, rub yogurt on the affected region and allow it to stay for 20-30 minutes. Wash off with warm water and dry thoroughly thereafter. You can also accelerate the healing process by consuming up to three cups of yogurt every day.
8. Psyllium Husks
Psyllium husks help to combat constipation which is one of the causes of itchy sensation around the anal area. Secondly, Psyllium husk inhibits the harmful bacteria that comes with the stool, thus reducing the burning sensation and itching. To get rid of constipation, add 1-2 tablespoons of psyllium husks in a cup of milk and drink two times every day. Apart from preventing anal itching, this solution would provide some relief from diarrhea.
Oatmeal has soothing qualities that aid in the healing of the irritated and itchy skin. While there are many ways of using this remedy, an oatmeal bath is the most effective. Simply prepare the bath by adding 1-2 cups of unprocessed oat flour (colloidal oatmeal) in your water bath and soak in it for 20 minutes. If you want to see significant results, take a bath up to three times a day.
This herb has antioxidants and anti-allergic properties that inhibit the cause of skin infections and allergic reactions. To treat anal itching, boil fresh lemon grass leaves in a pot of water, and use the solution to wash your body. When used on a daily basis, you’ll not only treat the infection but also get a smooth skin.
11. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt helps to treat numerous skin disorders including eczema and psoriasis, which are some of the contributing factors to anal itching. Because it contains magnesium sulfate, it’s able to relieve pain that comes with the infection. To treat anal itching, add 1 cup of Epsom salt in your water tub and then soak the anal region for 20 minutes. After that, rinse with warm water and air dry. Avoid patting or rubbing the area because it may cause inflammation. You could also use sea salt if Epsom salt is not readily available. Don’t use this remedy if you have diabetes or kidney problems.
12. Manage Stress
While it may sound a bit surprising to many, being under stress may cause some people to experience anal itching. It’s believed that anxiety has some effect on hormones which affects the nerve endings. So, if you’re scratching the area, try to relax especially before bedtime.
13. Eat More Vegetables
Fresh vegetables supply the body with essential vitamins and fiber which prevent constipation. Besides that, vegetables lower the risk of developing anal itching. You should consume lots of cabbages, lettuce, spinach, and broccoli.
14. Licorice Root
This herb is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating numerous skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis which are linked to anal itching. Other than that, licorice root relieves redness, irritation, and itching. All you need to do is roast equal amounts of licorice, cardamom, and chebulic myrobalan. Next, grind them and store the powder in an airtight container. To treat anal itching, add a quarter tsp of the powder in a glass of water and then add some honey. Drink daily to you notice an improvement. You can also purchase licorice cream and apply on the affected area.
15. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has soothing properties that help to reduce soreness and inflammation. This home remedy also proves effective in treating hemorrhoids which can cause anal itching. To use this remedy, remove the thorny edges of a succulent aloe leaf, extract the gel and then apply around the anal region. Apply this home remedy every four hours until you get satisfactory results.
16. Use A Damp Toilet Paper
A dry toilet paper may not wipe all traces of stool after a bowel movement. That’s why you should use a damp toilet paper to get rid of the sticky residues. Although this would not get rid of the infection, it would reduce the irritation. Having said all that, you should wipe again with a dry toilet paper to ensure there is no moisture left that can encourage the growth of bacteria or fungus.
17. Increase Fiber Intake
If you have insufficient fiber intake into your body, you may experience some itching or unpleasant sensation on the anal region due to your increased susceptibility to constipation. Ideally, eating fiber in moderation helps in the passage of stool by decreasing the risk of constipation. As such, you should eat fiber-rich foods like brown rice, potatoes, pumpkin seed, broccoli, fresh fruits, and green leafy vegetables. Alternatively, take fiber-rich supplements as directed by your healthcare provider.
18. Increase Your Water Intake
Taking water, alongside your meals, would help to flush out toxins from your gastrointestinal tract. Also, water would provide some relief from the burning and itching of the infected area. Make sure you take more than two liters of water on a daily basis. Apart from that, you should wash the anal area with warm water after passing stool to ensure there are no traces of bacteria.
19. Avoid Food Allergens
While there are some foods that can treat anal itching, others can worsen the problem. To begin with, you should avoid citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. Secondly, stay away from peppers, jalapenos, and chilies. You should also avoid drinks such as coffee, tea, cocoa and alcoholic beverages. Since we cannot do without these foods, you should avoid taking them for 2-3 weeks and then reintroduce them gradually. Also, when you start consuming them make sure you pay attention to any new itching.
20. Keep Your Anal Area Dry
It’s crucial that you wipe your anal region properly after a bowel movement. This way, you make the skin tougher, thus, reducing itching and irritation. You may also want to consider applying some baby powder to your anal region to help keep the area dry. Most experts recommend that you use talc powder because it inhibits bacteria growth. Another way of reducing the itching is by placing a dry cotton ball on the anal region to absorb the moisture.
21. Petroleum Jelly
To get rid of itching and inflammation on the anal region, you should lubricate the area with petroleum jelly especially before a bowel movement. Although petroleum jelly does not have any antibacterial effect on the skin, it would provide some instant relief from itching. When you form a lubricating layer on your buttock cheeks you not only reduce friction but also create a cooling sensation. If you’re experiencing some irritation, apply some petroleum jelly on the problem area 2-3 times a day.
22. Avoid Scented Soaps
The anal region can become irritated through regular use of perfumed or deodorized soap. Most of these soaps have harsh chemicals that may be too harsh for the skin. So, if you want an itch-free rectum, unscented soaps can be a good choice.
23. Ice Packs
An ice pack is a natural remedy that helps to reduce pain, itching, and inflammation around the anal area. This method is especially effective in the treatment of hemorrhoids which is one of the contributing factors to anal itching. Ice packs also numb the itching sensation. To numb the affected area, place some ice cubes on the anal region for twenty minutes. While this remedy may not cure the problem, they provide some temporary relief from inflammation.
24. Avoid Steroid Cream
When most people have an itchy bottom, they run for steroid creams. These products often cause tearing and breakage of skin leading to infections. As such, you should avoid using hydrocortisone cream for one week. Furthermore, before you use it on infants under the age of two years be sure to consult your healthcare provider.
25. Avoid Scratching
When you experience anal itching, scratching could worsen the problem by exacerbating the inflamed region. Although the itching may temporarily go away when you scratch, it would not identify the root cause of the irritation. If you feel the urge to scratch, take a cold shower. However, in case you have to absolutely scratch that region, be gentle on the surrounding areas. You also need to trim your nails to ensure you don’t scratch when sleeping.
26. Wear Underwear
Trousers and jeans are made of a rough material, so if you don’t wear underwear while wearing jeans or a pair of trousers, you might feel some itching and discomfort. At the same time, you should avoid wearing pantyhose and tight-fitting clothes. Also, opt for underwears that are made of moisture-absorbing fabric such as cotton. Don’t wear underwears that are made of synthetic fabrics.2
27. Diet Control
If you want to keep anal itching at bay, you should take foods rich in fiber such as oats, barley, nuts, whole bread, apples, and green leafy vegetables. When choosing animal products, take chicken or oily fish like salmon and sardines. Avoid acidic foods, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and caffeinated drinks. While its hard to avoid some of these foods, you should take precaution when consuming them.
Ghee has powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties that calm and soothe irritated membranes. It not only takes care of the infection, causing the anal itching but also reduces inflammation around that region. All you need to do is warm one tbsp of ghee and apply on the anal region using your finger. Then, wash your hands with mild soap and water. Reapply every few hours until you get some relief.
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