Everything You Need to Know About Anal Itching
You probably haven’t heard anyone talking about anal itching. After all, it isn’t exactly the best dinner table conversation. However, the interesting thing is that many people have suffered from it. In fact, it’s more common than you think.
Below we’ll tell you a little more about this condition, its causes, and what you can do to fight it properly.
Anal itching is an itch that occurs in the anal region and surrounding areas. This usually causes reddening, swelling, and, of course, excessive itching.
Both men and women can be affected by this annoying condition at some point in their lives, for various reasons, such as not cleaning themselves properly after going to the bathroom or having eaten a very spicy food.
Although it’s true that it can be a temporary discomfort and easy to alleviate with some very simple measures, when it remains constant over time, it’s best to consult a doctor.
The causes of anal itching
According to Mayo Clinic experts, anal itching can be caused by irritants, infections, skin diseases or other diseases (such as diabetes, hemorrhoids, among others).
Here are some other common causes.
Irritation or a chemical allergy
There are a large number of irritants that can cause anal itching. Most of them contain various chemicals. In spite of this, various personal hygiene products often include such components in their manufacture, which can cause allergic reactions in skin tissues.
These could be possible examples:
- Toilet paper
- Medical powders
- Soaps (for intimate areas and traditional ones)
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Cleaning yourself with too much force
Hygiene is a fundamental human factor, especially when it comes to the anal area. The anal area tends to get very dirty when going to the bathroom to have a bowel movement. In this regard, the ideal is to clean yourself perfectly. The problem is that, sometimes, the exaggeration is such that hygiene ends up being harmful to the skin.
In this regard, using hands and toilet paper exerts too much force, which can lead to injury and irritation due to friction, culminating in anal itching. In contrast, washing the area in the bidet and then gently drying it with a little toilet paper usually doesn’t cause any discomfort.
Having bad anal cleaning habits can cause several problems. Thus, you must make sure to always properly remove excess fecal matter from that area. However, be careful not to scrub with too much pressure. You can use lukewarm water to remove everything more easily, so there’s no need to rub or make any kind of sudden movement with the paper.
Otherwise, if fecal matter isn’t completely removed, it stays in your anal opening and can cause itching almost immediately. This problem usually shows up stronger when you have liquid bowel movements.
There are some foods that aren’t very good for your body. However, these depend on the individual, as not everyone is affected in the same way. However, the anus can be irritated by some products regardless of the individual’s condition.
For instance, some of the foods that might cause irritation, resulting in anal itching, are the following:
- Spicy or acidic foods (cayenne pepper, chili peppers, citrus, or tomatoes)
- Drinks with caffeine (soft drinks, coffee, or tea)
On the other hand, some types of bacteria, fungi (fungal infections), or parasites can cause anal itching. Also, lesions that cause excessive moisture in the anus, such as hemorrhoids, fissures, and in the worst cases, cancer of the anus or lower rectum, among others.
If itching and other discomfort persist over time and intensify, seek medical advice as soon as possible. In addition, it’s important to pay attention to the following signs and symptoms:
- Secretory fistula
- Bloody diarrhea
- Perianal fecal leakage
- Large external hemorrhoids
- Opaque or thickened perianal skin
- Prolapsed internal hemorrhoids
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How to relieve anal itching?
Most of the time, improving eating habits and hygiene is enough. However, in other cases it may also be advisable to wash gently, with warm water and neutral soap, change toilet paper (to a softer, unscented one) and use cotton underwear that is not too tight.
It’s not advisable to apply gels or any other product in the anal area without a doctor’s authorization, since instead of providing relief, it could increase the intensity of the discomfort.