Medical Definition of Itching, anal

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Itching, anal: Irritation of the skin at the exit of the rectum, accompanied by the desire to scratch. The intensity of anal itching is increased by moisture, pressure, and abrasion caused by clothing and sitting. It may be caused by irritating chemicals in food (as in spices, hot sauces, and peppers); irritation due to frequent liquid stools, as in diarrhea; diseases, such as diabetes mellitus or HIV infection, that increase the possibility of yeast infections; and psoriasis. Other causes of anal itching include hemorrhoids, anal fissures, abnormal local growth of anal skin (anal papillae), and skin tags. Treatment is directed first toward relieving the burning and soreness, including cleaning and drying the anus thoroughly, avoiding leaving soap in the anal area, showering gently without directly rubbing or irritating the skin, and using moist pads rather than toilet paper to clean the anus after bowel movements. Local application of cortisone cream may help. Also known as pruritus ani.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018