Pruritus Ani

Pruritus ani is otherwise known as anal itching and presents with significant burning and itching around the anal opening.

It is commonly caused by excessive cleaning of the skin around the anal opening. Moisture around the anus caused either by mucus discharge from internal hemorrhoids or by excessive sweating is known to exacerbate the condition. Certain foods are known to irritate the anal skin, namely coffee, beer, and popcorn. In addition, fungal infection, pinworm infection as well as skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can also result in pruritus.

The treatment consists of avoiding further injury to the area by switching to wet wipes or Tucks®and dabbing gently. Overzealous cleaning of the anal region is to be avoided. Do not apply soap to the area. Moisture can be controlled with either dusting the area with cornstarch powder or placing a ball of cotton wool near the anal opening to soak up any secretions. The itching is alleviated by using diaper rash cream or zinc oxide ointment. On occasion prescription medication may be needed.

Read more about pruritus ani at the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons website.