An itchy bottom pruritus ani is a persistent itch around the anus.
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There are many different causes but the cause is not clear in many cases. Treatment usually works well. Pruritus ani is the medical term for a persistent chronic itchy feeling around the anus.
The main symptom is an urge to scratch your anus, which is difficult to resist. The urge to scratch may occur at any time. However, it tends to be more common after you have been to the toilet to pass a bowel motion and at night particularly just before falling asleep. The itch may be made worse by:. Persistent scratching of the anal skin can damage the skin and make it more likely to develop a skin infection in that area.
Also, chronic itching of the anal area may lead to feelings of embarrassment. Both your mood and sleep can be affected. An itchy bottom pruritus ani is a common problem but the exact of people who develop an itchy bottom is unknown. Some sources suggest around 1 to 5 out of every people have an itchy bottom.
It seems to be more common in men than in women. It most commonly affects people between the ages of However, it can affect people of any age, including children.
Book a private appointment with a local pharmacist today to discover treatment options. An itchy bottom pruritus ani is a symptom, not a final diagnosis. Various conditions may cause an itchy bottom. When the cause is another condition which has been identified, this is known as secondary pruritus ani. However, in many cases the cause is not clear.
This is called 'idiopathic pruritus ani' which means 'itchy anus of unknown cause'.
There are lots of possible causes. See the separate leaflets linked to each condition below for more detail. These are just some of the possible causes:. Skin conditions There are a of skin conditions which may affect the skin around the anus and cause itch.
For example:. Threadworm infections, although relatively harmless, can be both irritating and distressing - bu Some diseases Generalised itch, which may seem more intense around the anus at times, may be caused by some diseases. Some foods When certain foods are not fully digested, they may irritate the skin around the anus after you have gone to the toilet to pass stools.
These include:. In many cases, the cause is not clear.
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In some people, it may be that something is irritating your skin. This may be an ointment that you are using, or your sweat, or the toilet tissue that you use but you cannot pinpoint the cause exactly. In other people, it is thought to be caused by a small amount of stool leaking from the anus and irritating the nearby skin, causing itching.
Also, an itchy bottom may affect some people with problems such as depression. However, the cause can sometimes remain a complete mystery. A 'vicious circle' itch-scratch cycle sometimes develops. The more you scratch, the more irritated the skin becomes and the more it itches.
Various factors can keep this cycle going.
For example, you may have a mild itch around your anus. You may then clean your anus with a scented soap. This may contain an ingredient which irritates your skin. You then develop a worse itch. You may think the itch means the anus needs more cleaning.
Therefore, you clean it even more with the scented soap - which makes things worse and so on. Another example of a 'vicious circle' is: you may buy an ointment if you have a small pile haemorrhoid. This may contain an ingredient that your skin is sensitive to, particularly if your skin is already a little inflamed.
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It may sensitise the skin even more and the itch becomes worse. You may think that the haemorrhoid has become worse, so you put on more ointment. But, in fact it is the ointment itself making the itch worse and so on. Most creams and ointments do not irritate the skin in most people. However, be aware that there are many preparations with various ingredients and you may become anal to one of them. If the itch is persistent and you are not sure of the cause, it is best to see a doctor. As there are a of possible causes listed aboveit is best to be examined and checked out by a doctor to diagnose or rule out known causes.
Hot depends on the cause. The above measures will usually stop the itch. If symptoms persist for three or four weeks after doing the above then your doctor may refer you to a specialist. This may be a skin specialist a dermatologist or a colorectal surgeon who specialises in problems affecting the colon and anus.
Tests may sweaty needed to make sure a known cause has not been missed.
Other possible treatments for an itchy bottom pruritus ani are currently being researched. One such treatment is capsaicin cream. The theory is that capsaicin blocks a chemical in the skin that is involved in sensations of pain and itch. Another treatment involves injecting a chemical called methylthioninium chloride methylene blue into and beneath the skin of the anus.
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Further research is needed to clarify the place of these new treatments. If a cause for the itchy bottom pruritus ani can be identified, it is easier to treat and relieve your symptoms.
Most people respond well to treatment for an itchy bottom. However, in some people it can become a persistent chronic problem. Also, if you have had an itchy bottom in the past, you are more likely to develop it again at some point in the future. The following symptoms are not symptoms of a straightforward itchy bottom pruritus ani. See a doctor if any of these symptoms develop:. Ansari P ; Pruritus Ani. Clin Colon Rectal Surg. Am Fam Physician. Aust Fam Physician.
My Story Sorry if It gets graphic, I think its important to give you the full detail, and like many of you I have gone past the point of caring what people think in order to overcome this horrible Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Egton Medical Information Systems Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy.
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Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions. In this series. In this series: Threadworms Worm Medicines Anthelmintics. In this series Threadworms Worm Medicines Anthelmintics. In this article What is pruritus ani?