Anal Itching (cont.)

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Vasoconstrictors

Vasoconstrictors are chemicals such as epinephrine, a naturally occurring chemical. Applied to the anus, vasoconstrictors make the blood vessels become smaller, which may reduce swelling. They also may reduce pain and itching due to their mild anesthetic effect.

Vasoconstrictors applied to the perianal area - unlike vasoconstrictors given by injection - have a low likelihood of causing serious side effects, such as high blood pressure, nervousness, tremor, sleeplessness, and aggravation of diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Examples of vasoconstrictors include:

  • ephedrine sulfate 0.1% to 1.25%
  • epinephrine 0.005% to 0.01%
  • phenylephrine 0.25% (Medicone Suppository, Preparation H, Rectocaine)

Protectants

Protectants prevent irritation of the perianal area by forming a physical barrier on the skin that prevents contact of the irritated skin with aggravating liquid or stool from the rectum. This barrier reduces irritation, itching, pain, and burning. There are many products that are themselves protectants or that contain a protectant in addition to other medications.

Examples of protectants include:

  • aluminum hydroxide gel
  • cocoa butter
  • glycerin
  • kaolin
  • lanolin
  • mineral oil (Balneol)
  • white petrolatum
  • starch
  • zinc oxide (Desitin) or calamine (which contains zinc oxide) in concentrations of up to 25%
  • cod liver oil or shark liver oil if the amount of vitamin A is 10,000 USP units/day.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/10/2014


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