Pruritus (itching) at the anus

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Itching at anus is a very common symptom, almost 1 out of 20 people report that they had an itching sensation at their back passage during their life. Itching is often caused due to lack of cleanliness but also due to excessive hygiene. When stools, even if in a minimal quantity, come into contact with  skin, are very irritating. On the contrary, the excessive cleansing of perianal skin with soap and paper can be disastrous. The overstressed wiping damage the sensitive skin, which can later be infected easily because  its surface is disrupted. Furthermore, the contact with the stools becomes irritating. Cleaning with baby wipes is not innocent, because they also contain chemical substances that can cause allergy and inflammation at the perianal skin.

Other less common causes of itching are the consumption of spicy foods and spices, the hairs, the excessive sweat, parasites (pinworms-in younger age) and fungal infections. Fluid discharge from hemorrhoids or fistulas can also cause significant irritation. Infection with HPV as well as warts is typically causing a lot of itching. Rarely generalized conditions such as diabetes, renal failure and even hyperthyroidism may additionally cause itching in the anus. Moreover, certain substances in the diet can cause allergic reaction at the skin around anus. Frequently though, no specific cause is found. Last but not least, even psychological factors have been involved at itching of the anus.

In order to treat pruritus, it is necessary to avoid excessive cleaning with soap and toilet paper. Cleaning with the use of plenty of lukewarm water is far from enough. Wiping should be done gently and with the use a soft towel. In difficult situations, such as when we need to use a bathroom outside our house, cleanliness can be done with a cloth or gauze. We should not utilize local disinfectants or alcohol-based products at the area around anus. Itching, during nighttime can be due to the presence of a very small amount of faeces. Once this is noticed, immediate washing with plain water and wiping with a napkin eliminates itching. In any case, scratching should be avoided. Also, if other conditions, such as hemorrhoids and fistulas coexist, their treatment may relieve itching.

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