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This is itching or irritation of the perianal area and it occurs as a symptom of many conditions. The itching and irritation in and around your anus may be a temporary condition, or it may be a more persistent and bothersome problem. Excessive Washing : Excessive wiping with dry, harsh toilet paper or excessive scrubbing with harsh soaps and a washcloth can cause or aggravate anal itch.
Chemical Irritants : Certain laundry soaps, colognes, douches and birth control products contain chemicals that can irritate skin in and around your anus.
Food Irritants : Anal itch may be due to irritating chemicals in some foods, such as are found in spices and hot sauces.
Medications : Anal itch may be a side effect of certain medications, such as some antibiotics, that can cause frequent diarrhea.
Overuse of Laxatives : Excessive or improper use of laxatives can lead to chronic diarrhea and the risk of anal irritation and itch. Hemorrhoids : Hemorrhoids (also called piles) are clusters of veins located just under the membrane that lines the lowest part of your rectum and anus.
Bacteria : Faeces in contact with the perianal skin causes irritation because the bacteria in it produce chemicals that are highly irritant. Perianal Conditions : Up to 40% of cases of Pruritus ani cases are caused by perianal conditions (such as fistula, Crohn's disease, hemorrhoids and very rarely cancers) with only 5 % caused by generalized skin diseases. Inadequate Cleaning : Inadequate cleaning of the perianal region after defaecation is the commonest cause, aggravated by anal skin tags, or prolapsed piles.
When a doctor sees a patient with this complaint he will want to know if there is any itching, skin irritation or rashes anywhere else, or any mucus discharge, prolapsing piles, perianal pain, or any diarrhoea. Worms : It is also important to know whether any other members of the family are affected as worms that can cause this symptom often affect more than one member of the family. Pinworms : In children, a common cause of persistent anal itching is infestation with the parasite that causes pinworms. Skin Disorders : Common skin problems - such as psoriasis, seborrhea and eczema - can involve and irritate the area in and around your anus.
Yeast Infections : Certain diseases, such as diabetes or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, as well as treatment with antibiotics can lead to a yeast infection that irritates your genital and anal areas. Anal Abrasions and Fissures : An anal abrasion is a small tear in your anus, usually caused by forced bowel movements though a tight anus. Anal Tumors : Rarely, benign or cancerous tumors in or around the anus may be a cause of anal itch.
Your doctor may be able to pinpoint the cause of your itching simply by asking you questions about your symptoms. If the cause of your itch isn't obvious, your doctor may refer you to a doctor who specializes in treating rectal and anal problems (proctologist) or a dermatologist for further evaluation. Sometimes other tests, such as a colonoscopy to view more of the digestive tract, are needed in addition to a physical exam to identify an underlying cause of anal itch. Treatment of anal itch may include self-care measures, changes to your diet, treatment of infections or, rarely, surgery to correct an underlying problem. Cleanse Gently : Wash the area in the morning, at night and immediately after bowel movements. Use over-the-counter treatments sparingly : An OTC cream or ointment containing hydrocortisone (Cortaid, Hytone) applied sparingly to the affected area once or twice a day may reduce inflammation and itching.
Don't Scratch : Scratching further irritates your skin and leads to persistent inflammation. Switch Tissue : The skin around your anus may be sensitive to bathroom tissue that contains dyes or perfumes. TweetThere are many types of skin diseases that can affect a person irrespective of their HIV status.
Dermatomycosis or dermatophytosis is a common skin infection seen in HIV patients and is caused by fungi.
Impetigo is an infection of the skin primarily caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes after a break in the skin or with micro-tears formed during scratching. A viral infection caused by the Herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2) and has a tendency to affect the mouth or genitals.
Varicella zoster is a virus that causes chickenpox but reactivation later in life results in herpes zoster (shingles).
Scabies arises from an allergic reaction to the mite Sarcoptes scabiei which burrows into the skin. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria, Treponema pallidum, which presents with painless sores (chancre) on the genitals, rectum or mouth (primary syphilis).
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin infection that causes small raised lesions (papules) particularly on the face, neck, scalp and genitals. Ask a Doctor Online Now!Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis.


Topical corticosteroids, or topical steroids, are creams, gels or ointments containing corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are hormones that can reduce inflammation (redness and swelling), suppress the immune system and narrow the blood vessels in the skin. See the separate topic on corticosteroids for information about oral (tablets and capsules), inhaled and injected corticosteroids. Topical corticosteroids are available in different strengths, which are determined by the amount of corticosteroid they contain.
Mild corticosteroids can often be bought over the counter from pharmacies, while stronger types are only available on prescription.
Some topical corticosteroids are available combined with other substances, such as antibiotics or antifungals to treat infected areas of skin.
Unless instructed otherwise by your doctor, follow the directions on the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication. Topical corticosteroids usually only need to be used once or twice a day for a few days or weeks at a time and should only be applied directly to the affected areas of skin.
Occasionally, your doctor may suggest using a topical corticosteroid less frequently but over a longer period of time, to help prevent periods where your symptoms worsen. Serious side effects, such as thinning of the skin and changes in skin colour, usually only occur if too much potent or very potent topical corticosteroids are used for a long period.
Topical corticosteroids are safe for most people to use, but there are some circumstances where they are not recommended. Read more about things to consider before taking topical corticosteroids and the possible side effects of topical corticosteroids.
The steroids contained in topical corticosteroids shouldn't be confused with the type of steroids sometimes used (illegally) by bodybuilders and athletes. Anabolic steroids contain a type of hormone that helps stimulate tissue growth, particularly muscle tissue.
Atopic eczemaAtopic eczema is a condition where the skin becomes itchy, red, dry and cracked.
With an account you can keep track of pages on the site and save them to this tab, which you can access on every page when you are logged in. Circular muscles called the external sphincter ani form the wall of the anus and hold it closed. A plate-like band of muscles, called the levator ani muscles, surround the anus and form the floor of the pelvis. External hemorrhoids: Blood vessels that swell near the opening of the anus or bulge outside. Anal warts: Infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV) can lead to warts in and around the anus.
Anal fistula: An abnormal channel developing between the anus and the skin of the buttocks. Proctalgia fugax: Sudden, severe pain in the area of the anus and rectum, lasting seconds or minutes, then disappearing. Constipation: Difficulty passing stools is common, and can cause anus pain, anal fissures, and bleeding from hemorrhoids.
Anal bleeding: Bright red blood from the anus is sometimes from hemorrhoids, but requires evaluation to rule out a more serious cause. Numerous factors may cause anal itch to be more intense - including moisture, the abrasion caused by your clothing, and the pressure of sitting. For some people, the irritation is so intense that the urge to scratch is irresistible - and a source of embarrassment. Moisture around your anus from excessive sweating or from moist, sticky stools can be irritating. Similarly, some foods may directly or indirectly irritate your anus as they exit your digestive system. Sometimes, often as a result of straining during a bowel movement, these veins may become swollen and form hemorrhoids. Moisture from sweat or mucus softens the skin and the chemicals produced by the faecal bacteria irritate.
The doctor will want to look at the skin of the whole body and will then examine the anus, both with a gloved finger and with a telescope to see if he can find any obvious cause of the irritation. However, if anal itching is severe or prolonged or if it can't be easily explained, see your doctor.
A rectal exam may be all that's required for you to get an answer - and a solution - to a very uncomfortable problem. An over-the-counter (OTC) cream or ointment containing hydrocortisone (Cortaid, Hytone), applied sparingly to the affected area once or twice a day, for up to 2 to 3 weeks, may reduce inflammation and itching.
If you can't tolerate the itch, apply a cold compress to the area or take a lukewarm bath to find some immediate relief.


Similarly, HIV-positive patients are prone to various skin diseases that are unrelated to HIV infection. While a number of molds or yeasts may be responsible, Malassezia furfur (Pitysporum ovale) is one of the more prevalent fungi.
Also known as cold sores (herpes labialis) or genital herpes, it can also affect other areas, most notably the perianal region (around the anus). Chickenpox is a common childhood infection but immunization or contracting the disease early in life offers immunity against infection. In HIV infection, extensive anogenital warts are persistent and patients may commonly report warts on other areas of the body as well, especially the fingers.
The most common side effect is a burning or stinging sensation when the medication is applied, but this usually improves as your skin gets used to the treatment. For example, very potent topical corticosteroids should be avoided if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and shouldn't be used to treat young children. If used correctly, topical corticosteroids don't have any effect on muscle growth or development. The anus starts at the bottom of the rectum, the last portion of the colon (large intestine). Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV), anal sex, and multiple sexual partners increase the risk. Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis) or previous surgery are common causes. Antibiotics and surgical drainage may be required to effectively treat an abscess of the anus.
The itch, located in your anus or on the skin just around your anus, may be accompanied by a strong urge to scratch. Anal itch is usually most noticeable and bothersome at night or right after a bowel movement.
Anal itch especially can be caused by frequent diarrhea or the escape of small amounts of stool (fecal incontinence), particularly if you don't practice good anal hygiene. It may be necessary to send some scrapings of the skin around the anus to a microbiologist to look for infection with fungus. Persistent anal itching may be related to a skin condition or other health problem that requires medical treatment.
Doctors treat pinworm infection and other parasitic infections with prescription oral medications to relieve anal itch. Instead, use a wet washcloth, wet bathroom tissue, cotton balls moistened with water, unscented baby wipes or a small squeeze bottle of water to cleanse the area.
For some people, the creams or ointments may cause more irritation, and they may mask a persistent problem. Avoid overuse of laxatives that increase diarrhea and the risk of anal irritation and itch. However, there are number of HIV-related skin diseases that have to be considered as these conditions are more likely to arise with the immune deficiency associated with HIV infection. Distribution may be anywhere on the body but the hands, legs, face and chest are more commonly affected.
With HIV infection, it may spread to the anus and rectum or occur within the oral cavity (mucocutaneous herpes).
In the backdrop of HIV infection however, chickenpox and shingles may be frequently seen in adults and the extremely contagious nature of chickenpox often leads to outbreaks. The hands and feet, areas between the fingers and toes, abdominal area and buttocks are typically affected. Consuming certain beverages - possibly milk or caffeinated drinks - may cause some people to experience diarrhea followed by anal itch.
In addition, the natural tendency in response to an irritation is to wash the area frequently with soap and a washcloth. These diseases are not isolated only to different infections of the skin and underlying tissue but may involve non-infectious disease processes that have a tendency to arise in HIV-positive patients.
It may also be responsible for folliculitis and secondary infections in seborrheic dermatitis. However, excessive washing almost always makes the problem worse by further damaging your skin and removing protective oils.



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