Having an occasional anal itch is usually no big deal, but when persistent itchiness develops, it may be a sign of a bigger issue. A constantly itchy butt, referred to as pruritus ani by medical professionals, could be due to one of 5 common causes. If you’re wondering why your butt itches, read on.
Top 5 Causes of Anal Itching
1. Allergic Reaction to Flushable Wipes
Most flushable wipes are treated with a chemical preservative called MI (methylisothiazolinone) which causes an allergic reaction is many people. The result is ofter itchiness, redness, rashes, and other unpleasant symptoms. Gary Goldenberg, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says, “Many patients may be allergic to wet wipes they try to use in this area.” If you currently use flushable wipes, either stop using them altogether or switch to a hypoallergenic, scent-free, methylisothiazolinone-free brand. If your itchiness was caused by het methylisothiazolinone, your symptoms within 3-6 weeks after you stop using the wipes.
You naturally have some Candida fungus present in your gastrointestinal tract and other areas of your body, but if it becomes overgrown, it develops into an anal yeast infection. Symptoms include itchiness, a burning sensation, irritated skin, redness, and soreness around the area. Luckily, it can be easily treated with most over-the-counter yeast infection ointments or creams such as Monistat, Gynazole, or Lotrimin. Talk to a pharmacist before using the creams. There’s also a prescription drug Nystatin that might help.
Hemorrhoids occur when veins around the rectum become swollen, inflamed, and painful. Kyle Staller, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that these unpleasant irritants can also cause small leakages of stool that may further irritate the skin. “In general, your body is quite happy having stool in it but when it’s on the skin part, that’s when you start to get irritation,” Staller explains. Hemorrhoids will usually go away on their own, but eating a high-fiber diet, using stool softeners, and treating them with over-the-counter hemorrhoid cream can relieve your symptoms in the meantime.
According to the Mayo Clinic, an itchy butt can be due to dermatological issues such as psoriasis, contact dermatitis, eczema, or other common conditions. To avoid further irritating the skin, it’s recommended to keep the area dry, wear breathable cotton underwear, and forgo spicy or heavily-seasoned foods until it heals. If your symptoms continue, you can visit your doctor to see if a corticosteroid or antihistamines may offer you some relief.
Although you’re far more likely to be afflicted with one of the causes listed above, pinworms may be the perpetrator if you have an irritated, itchy bum. These tiny parasites can live inside the colon and rectum, but they exit through the anus at night to lay their eggs on the skin of their host. Pinworms can be spread quickly and easily, so see a doctor if you believe you might be an unwilling host. Sometimes, people can find pinworm eggs on their skin by using a clear piece of tape… or you can ask a (very) close friend to use a flashlight to see if any worms try to come out at night!
How to get relief from anal itching
While you are waiting to see your doctor, you can take these measures to help calm the itch and avoid making it worse.
Clean gently. When in the shower or bath, clean gently with mild soap. Don’t scrub!
Avoid scratching. Scratching only irritates your skin and makes the problem worse. Some people trim their nails and wear cotton gloves while sleeping to prevent scratching.
Keep the area dry. Avoid tight-fitting garments and dry off after you sweat.
Avoid irritants. Use white, unscented toilet paper, bamboo toilet paper is a good option. Stop using moistened wipes. If you need that clean feeling just hop in the shower for two minutes and clean out the area with running water.
Try cream. Sooth the affected with a small amount of zinc oxide ointment (Desitin, Balmex) or vaseline. And you can relieve the itch hydrocortisone 1% cream (use it two to three times a day for up to a week to relieve symptoms.)
Take fiber. If hard stools are part of the problem take daily fiber supplements such as Metamucil and Citrucel also may help