Like bloating and gas, anal itching may be just an annoyance or it can take center light and be a real pain in the ….neck. It can become overwhelming and dominate your life. The skin about the anal opening is wrinkled and ridged and easily becomes irritated and inflamed.
Again there are many reasons why this is so. It is hard to keep the area clean and dry. The little wrinkles trap moisture from sweat and particles of feces. For women it may also remain moist because of vaginal lubrication or discharged.
Unfortunately when it becomes irritated we scratch. But in doing that we cause further problems and we get on the itch/scratch merry-go-round. Putting ointments or creams onto the irritation may only cause more dampness and more irritation.
The good news is, that though the problem is unpleasant and usually embarrassing it seldom means anything serious.
Causes of Anal Itching
Anal Fissure-or Fistula-An anal fissure is a tear in the lining of the lower rectum (anus) that causes pain during bowel movements.
Dry skin. As you age, skin in and around your anus is more prone to dryness. Dry skin can cause persistent, intense anal itching.
Too much moisture. Moisture around your anus from excessive sweating or from moist, sticky stools can be irritating.
Frequent diarrhea or the escape of small amounts of stool (fecal incontinence).
Pre-moistened feminine tissues can cause anal itching. It is believed the reason is either the preservative,the perfume or the alcohol in the wipe.
Hemorrhoids are engorged veins located just under the membrane that lines the lowest part of your rectum and anus. can sometimes be itchy, partly because of the slimy discharge they produce.
Overuse of laxatives. Excessive or improper use of laxatives can lead to chronic diarrhea and the risk of anal irritation and itching.
Anal tumors. Rarely, benign or cancerous tumors in or around the anus may be a cause of anal itching.
Anal Papillae (Abnormal local growth of anal skin)
Antibiotics can cause diarrhea and thus anal itching.
Fungal infections, yeast infections, (candida) similar to thrush or athlete’s foot and diaper rash are another common cause. Fungi love warm, damp and damaged skin, so if you have an itchy anus for any reason and then damage the skin by scratching, fungi can take hold and make it worse.
Washing too much or not enough. Poor hygiene can be responsible for anal itching, but so can excessive cleaning.
You may be sensitive or allergic to something you are using. The culprit may be soap, bubble bath, ointments(never use more for more than one week)creams or even scented toilet paper
Chemical irritants. Certain laundry soaps, colognes, douches and birth control products contain chemicals that can irritate skin in and around your anus.
Skin conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema, can affect the skin round the anus and cause itching.
Sexually transmitted infections can cause itching, though they are rarely the cause. Genital warts (vulva or penis), caused by papillomavirus, thrive in warm, moist conditions such as the skin near the anus and can be very itchy. Genital herpes (caused by herpes virus) can also infect the anus, and causes itching just before the sores appear and also during the healing stage.
Thread worms or better known as pin worms can truly irritate and cause amazing anal itching. They are however very common-it is estimated that in the USA alone there are 40 million cases. They are small at 13 mm long and live in the lower part of your bowel. The female worms creep out of the anus at night – how they know it is night, and why they come out only at night, is a mystery. They lay thousands of eggs on the skin of the anus, which even while sleeping causes severe itching at night. When you scratch, the eggs lodge under your fingernails, and it is easy to transfer them to your mouth and reinfect your gut by swallowing the eggs.
Certain foods can irritate the anus during defecation. Beer and curry are obvious examples. Some people find that citrus fruits, grapes, tomatoes, salsa, peppers, coffee or tea can cause problems.
Some foods may directly or indirectly irritate your anus as they exit your colon. Common culprits include chocolate, fruits, tomatoes, nuts and popcorn.
Being anxious makes your brain and body hyper alert to sensations and therefore the symptom of itching that did not bother you yesterday now seems magnified and it makes the problem worse.
The last cause of anal itching may seem odd to you, but some people without really knowing it, enjoy the pleasure of it. They get an erotic reaction to the act of scratching and thus keeps the problem going.