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eMed previously Babylon Health

Anal Itching

Edited by Dr Claudia Pastides, 25th April 2019

Persistent anal itching (also known as pruritis ani) can be embarrassing - but it can also be irritating and even painful for sufferers. Though most people will experience occasional periods of anal itching that subside within hours, there are some who suffer from it regularly, with the problem affecting their ability to go about their everyday activities.

Itching can occur all over the body, and it’s mostly harmless. But if you’re suffering from a persistently itchy bottom, there may be an underlying cause that needs to be addressed. Speak to a GP today to discuss your symptoms and diagnose or manage your anal itching. If there’s a treatment option which will provide some relief and help clear up the problem, our specialists are able to prescribe it to you.

Causes of anal itching

Everyone experiences mild itching from time to time, but if the problem is persistent, and localised around your bottom, it might be caused by another condition. Some of the most common causes of anal itching include:

  • An infection. Whether it’s bacterial or fungal, an infection can cause severe itching around the anus. There are plenty of naturally occurring bacteria in this area, but if they grow out of control, it can cause irritation and itching. If you’ve had a recent course of antibiotics which have killed off these bacteria, it can also clear the way for a fungal infection to set in.
  • Piles. Also known as haemorrhoids, piles are caused by swollen blood vessels. If you’ve recently strained as a result of constipation, or if you regularly sit down for long periods of time, you could have developed piles.
  • Skin conditions. Eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions can occur anywhere on the body, even around the anus. This can cause discomfort, and can be tricky to treat because of its location.

Treatment for anal itching

In most cases, anal itching will simply clear up on its own within days, or even hours. But if there’s an infection or another condition causing the itching, treatment will be required. If you’ve had anal itching for more than a few days, speak to a GP. They can investigate the area for you and prescribe any medications (oral or topical) which could help clear up the underlying cause of your itching and provide much-needed relief.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.