Anal itch, also known as pruritus ani, is an irritating, itchy sensation around the anus the opening through which stool passes out of the body. Anal itch is a symptom, not an illness, and it can have many different causes. In most cases, a person with anal itch does not have a disease of the anus or rectum. Instead, the itchy sensation is a sign that one or more of the following has irritated the skin in the area:. Less often, anal itch is a symptom of some illness or condition that either affects the anal area alone, or involves larger areas of the digestive tract or skin.
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Your doctor may be able to diagnose the cause of your itching simply by asking you questions about your symptoms, medical history and personal care habits. If pinworms are suspected, your doctor may suggest doing a test for pinworms. You may also need a physical exam, including a digital rectal exam. If the cause of your itching isn't obvious or it doesn't respond to initial treatment, your doctor may refer you to a skin specialist dermatologist. It's possible the cause of the itching may never be identified. Treatment of anal itching depends on the cause of the problem.
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Anal itching, or pruritus ani, is a common symptom of a variety of conditions. Most cases of anal itching can be treated at home without needing to see a doctor. We go over the possible causes, along with at-home remedies to relieve itching. The causes of anal itching are often related to skin or internal medical issues. Skin-related causes of an itchy anus include:. Other causes include taking laxatives or other medications that cause diarrhea.
The itching may become worse at night or after a bowel movement. Scratching the area results in further irritation and makes the itching worse instead of relieving it. Scratching with the fingernails may result in skin damage or an infection. If the itch-scratch cycle persists, it can lead to extreme discomfort, soreness, and burning.