Itchy Rectum and Anus – Symptoms, Causes, Pictures, Treatment

The anus is the small opening of the large intestine through which urine is passed. The rectum is about 12 cm long and lies between colon and anal canal. The itchy feeling in anus and rectum area can be due to many causes. Poor hygiene practice like accumulating dried feces, not removing dried skin cells can cause itching sensation in rectum and anus. Dry skin is one of the major causes for itchy anus and is more in elderly people.

Taking spicy foods like chilly, hot spices, coffee and eating milk products, lots of nuts and drinking too much of citrus juices can also cause itching. It is also caused by seborrheic dermatitis a type of skin inflammation that is caused due to excess secretion of sebaceous oil. Formation of varicose veins in the anus can cause itching. Infrequent bowel movements and diarrhea can cause itching and swelling in rectum. Finally fungal infection may also cause severe itching. Major symptoms of itchy anus and rectum are moderate to severe itching, pain, swelling in anus area, and bleeding in rare case.

Itchy rectum can be treated by using over the counter ointments and creams. Home remedies can cure the inflammation and heal the affected area. Treatment of itchy anus can be done by washing the area by lukewarm water and cleaning regularly by moisturizing tissues. Avoid taking hot showers and changing soaps frequently. Apply moisturizing cream (mild) on the affected area. In case the itchy rectum is due to seborrheic dermatitis, it can be treated by applying mild ointments like ketoconozole, selenium sulfide and corticosteroids. The best way of treatment is to find out the root cause and treat it.

What Is Rectum or Anus ?

Rectum is that region of your body through which feces are expelled out. Many factors can contribute for anal itching which can be in and around the anus/rectum. Itchy rectum is caused by poor personal hygiene or sexually transmitted infections or due to specific skin conditions. Anal itching can be the result of pinworms or allergic food or medications or due to underlying medical issues. It can cause persistent itching and sometimes burning pain while passing stool. The doctor would perform physical exam and use colonoscopy technique to diagnose the cause of anal itching. Treatment is in the form of lifestyle changes combined with medications depending on the cause.

In medical terms itchy anus is known as pruritis ani (pruritus ani). Anal itching occurs due to the irritation of the skin that surrounds the small opening of the anus. It causes an irresistible urge to scratch which can cause inflammation of the skin and soreness which in turn may lead to burning pain.

Symptoms :

Anal itching is related with soreness, inflammation of the skin around the anus. The site can become red and painful and each time you pass stool it may cause burning pain. In severe cases it can cause rectal bleeding. The intensity of itching increases as you scratch the skin surrounding the anus and presence of moisture also considerably increases itching.

Causes :

Itchy rectum can be due to many factors ranging from personal hygiene and infections or specific skin conditions.

  • Poor Hygiene :

Washing too much or washing too little around the anus after passing stool can cause itching. The delicate skin of the anus gets irritated as you use harsh soaps or perfumed soap or toilet paper. Scrubbing the area with toilet tissue roughly can irritate the skin. Some people feel it is good to wash it thoroughly to get rid of feces whereas others wash it very little leaving some fecal particles behind. Both are wrong habits of cleaning the anus.

  • Skin Infection

Itchy rectum can be due to sexually transmitted infections from your partner. It can be bacterial or viral or Candida infection. Pinworms can also cause intense itching of the skin. Yeast infections are more common in women than men which can also cause anal itching.

  • Medical Issues

Certain diseases like hemorrhoids, fistulas, chronic diarrhea or presence of anal tumor can cause itchy rectum or anus. Certain skin conditions like psoriasis or dermatitis can also be the reason for itching. Infections are quite common in people with prolonged diabetes. Taking antibiotics for other causes can also trigger anal itching. Presence of anal skin tags or anal fissures can also cause itchy rectum. If you have persistent itching on the anus, you can consult your family doctor or gastroenterologist in the clinic.

Diagnosis :

The doctor would inspect the anus region in bright lighted table. He may get a closer look by using a proctoscope. A thin short tube is inserted into the anus gently to detect the presence of pinworms eggs. Digital rectal exam would be done using special instruments. Colonoscopy can be done to assess any problems in the digestive tract.

Treatment :

Very often itchy rectum can be resolved with over the counter anti-itch creams. For treating infections the doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral drugs based on the test result. Antihistamines are effective in providing quick relief from persistent itching. You can always try some of the OTC products like ointments or gels or suppositories to manage anal itching. You can apply the cream or gel around the anus as a thin covering. In case you are applying it on the anal canal you can use finger cots or pile pipes so that the medicine can easily pass through the small holes on the sides. Many of these products may contain protectant in combination with anesthetic.

  • Anesthetics

Anesthetics are effective in relieving pain and itching sensation. They act on the nerve endings numbing them temporarily so that you may not feel the pain. It is not wise to use them without consulting your doctor. Anesthetics like benzocaine 5%, dibucaine 0.25%, lidocaine 2%, and tetracaine 0.5% are used for managing the pain and itching.

  • Vasoconstrictors

Chemicals like epinephrine have excellent healing property and they are capable in reducing swelling. Vasoconstrictors like ephedrine sulfate and phenylephrine 0.25% are prescribed for anal itching.

  • Protectants

Protectants are agents that create a barrier on the skin thus restricting the contact of the rough irritated skin and the stool coming from the rectum. Protectants like glycerin, kaolin, mineral oil and zinc oxide are effective in treating itchy rectum or anus.

  • Astringents

Astringents help in clumping of proteins thus facilitating dryness of skin indirectly helping in healing and managing burning pain. Some of the astringents like calamine 5%, zinc oxide 5% and witch hazel 10% can be used for treating itchy rectum.

  • Antiseptics

Antiseptics are effective in preventing the growth of bacteria that causes infection. Boric acid, benzalkonium chloride and cetylpyridinium chloride are some of the good antiseptics. Keratolytics like resorcinol and analgesics like menthol or camphor can be used for controlling itchy rectum and give relief from pain.

  • Corticosteroids

In severe cases your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids containing cream to reduce inflammation and promote healing of the skin.

Pictures of Itchy Rectum and Anus :

Images, Pictures, Pics, and Photos of Itchy Rectum and Anus

Itchy Rectum and Anus Itchy Rectum and Anus Itchy Rectum and Anus Itchy Rectum and Anus

Lifestyle Changes :

  • It is enough if you keep the rectum/anus area clean and moisture-free.
  • After passing the stool, cleanse the rectal area gently with mild soap or plain water. If using the toilet wipes do not scrub the area which can irritate the skin. Choose baby wipes and flushable wipes that are moist instead of paper.
  • After taking bath you should not scrub the rectal area with washcloth or towel but gently pat it dry.
  • Dry the area thoroughly before wearing your trousers.
  • Even if it irritates you, don’t scratch the rectal area since scratching can cause inflammation and painful sores. Apply cold compress on the area to get relief from itching.
  • Wear loose cotton underwear instead of tight-fitting clothing.
  • Avoid using perfumed soaps, bubble baths and other stuffs since they can irritate the soft area of the anus.
  • Reduce the intake of coffee, tea, alcohol and spicy foods.
  • Use petroleum jelly or mild zinc oxide cream like Desitin on the anus to protect it from moisture.
  • Don’t push the stool since it can lead to constipation. Add more of fiber in your diet for getting soft stools.

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