What is Anal Pruritus?
This is also known as anal itch, pruritus ani, as well as itchy bottom or Itchy bum
It is very distressing as you have the constant urge to scratch your bottom specifically just round the anus. However the relief felt is short lived and the more you scratch the more damage is caused to the tender skin and further itching occurs
The itching can be exacerbated under certain circumstances:-
- After you have had your bowels open
- Faecal leakage
- Whilst you are sleeping
- Heat, moisture in the air
- By wearing nylon underwear
The skin can become very irritated and sore due to scratching and is at risk of becoming infected. It primarily appears to affect men between 40 – 60 years old but it does affect woman and children.
Causes of itching
Often the causes of itching is unknown, and is referred to as Idiopathic Pruritus. Anal pruritus can be attributed to thread worms, eczema, or allergic reactions to substances such as soap, ointments, even toilet paper. If you are suffering from idiopathic pruritus is would be a good idea to change your soap to a mild, none perfumed variety.
You may suffer from an infection which is causing the pruritus such as a fungal infection like thrush (Candida albicans)
Scabies, genital warts, herpes and other STI’s (sexually transmitted) diseases also cause itching, if you feel that you may be suffering from an STI it would be a good idea to visit your local department of Genitourinary medicine.
Treatment for Pruritus
You will probably need to visit your doctor if the itching does not resolve on its own after three or four days. The causes for the itching are many and varied therefore you may require investigation and treatment.
Self-help for Pruritus
Hygiene is paramount – wash your anal area after you have evacuated your bowels using either, a non- perfumed simple soap and water or just water.
Dry your bottom, patting not rubbing the area – do not apply any talc to ensure dryness – this is counterproductive – if you sweat a lot consider wearing a discreet absorbent pad
Wear cotton underwear not nylon, and change daily
Scratching makes it worse, sometimes referred to as the itch, scratch, itch syndrome. Wearing cotton mits at night can help you to stop inadvertently scratching.