Anal Itching Causes and Pain Relief
Anal itch is something that happens quite commonly but yet too embarrassing to consult your friend or even doctor about. It can be due to something very simple and harmless to something that may require medical attention. Let me go through what could be the common causes and how to manage them?
What are the 5 Common Causes of Anal Itch?
1.) Non medical:
Simple non medical causes include anal perspiration, frequent liquid stools, diarrhea, residual stool deposits, or the escape of small amounts of stool as a result of incontinence or flatulence. If your itch resolves after cleaning with water or wet wipes, then most likely could be due to one of the above causes. Very simple to treat and solve. It is advisable to use wet wipes or water to clean after going to the toilet in order to prevent anal irritation from residual faeces.
2.) Fungal infection:
Another cause is a yeast infection or candidiasis. This usually occur in people with medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus or HIV infection.
If you are taking antibiotics, this can disturb the natural balance of intestinal flora, and lead to perianal thrush, a yeast infection affecting the anus. Fungal infection will have to be treated with antifungal medication.
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3.) Physical causes:
Abnormal passageways called anal Fistulas from the small intestine or colon to the skin surrounding the anus can form. This may allow leakage of irritating fluids to the anal area and lead to itching. Anal fistulas may need surgical repair.
Another common cause for anal itch is hemorrhoids, which is enlarged or swollen veins in your rectal or anal region. This is usually caused by constipation or prolonged sitting on the toilet. This can be resolved by improving your diet with more fibre and fluids or taking medication to soften your stools.
Tears of the anal skin near the mucocutaneous junction called anal fissures can also cause itch. Fissures are is usually caused by hard stools, constipation, childbirth.
4.) Worm infestation:
Ingestion of helminth or worm Enterobius vermicularis (also called pinworm, or threadworm) eggs leads to enterobiasis. Severe itching around the anus is indicative of migration of gravid females from the bowel to the anal region. Severe cases of enterobiasis may result in hemorrhage and eczema. Treatment will involve taking anti-worm medicine.
5.) Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs):
STIs or STDs are also notoriously known to cause anal itch. The following STDs can potentially affect the anal region and cause itch. Most commonly due to anal intercourse, be it in MSM ( men who have sex with men) or between heterosexual couples between man and a woman.
a.) Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV): Usually present as vesicles which can be very itchy and/or painful.
c.) Chlamydia/ Gonorrhea: This is a common STD that usually cause abnormal penile discharge or abnormal vaginal discharge and painful urination. When the anus or rectum is infected with Chlamydia, it may cause diarrhea, itch. It could even be symptomless. If you perform unprotected anal intercourse, you should get regular rectal swabs to test for the presence of chlamydia/gonorrhoea.
Whatever the cause may be, if you do have a persistent that doesn’t go away, do see a doctor to get examined. You are welcome to see any of the doctors at DTAP and discuss openly your symptoms or condition. We will be able to advise you on what is the best treatment for you.