Prevention of anal itching mainly involves washing properly and avoiding irritants. If you already have anal itching, try these self-care measures:
Oct. 09, 2012
- Cleanse gently. Wash the area immediately after bowel movements. Don't scrub and avoid using soap. Instead, use a wet washcloth, wet unscented toilet paper or a small squeeze bottle of water to cleanse the area.
- Dry thoroughly. After cleansing, pat the area dry with toilet paper or a towel or use a hair dryer. Cornstarch powder can help keep the area dry.
- Don't scratch. Scratching further irritates your skin and leads to persistent inflammation. If you can't tolerate the itching, apply a cold compress to the area or take a lukewarm bath to find some immediate relief.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing. This helps keep the area dry. Avoid wearing pantyhose and other tightfitting garments because these can trap moisture.
- Avoid irritants. Avoid bubble baths and genital deodorants. Cut back or avoid beverages, such as coffee or cola, and foods that you know might cause diarrhea. Avoid overuse of laxatives.
- Maintain regular, firm bowel movements. If soft stools or frequent bowel movements are a problem, gradually adding fiber to your diet may help. Fiber supplements, such a Metamucil or Citrucel, also may help.
- Breen E, et al. Approach to the patient with anal pruritus. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed Aug. 10, 2012.
- Markell KW, et al. Pruritus ani: Etiology and management. Surgical Clinics of North America 2010;90:125.
- McPhee SJ, et al., eds. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=747. Accessed Aug. 9, 2012.
- Pruritis ani. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal_disorders/anorectal_disorders/pruritus_ani.html?qt=Pruritus%20Ani&sc=&alt=sh. Assessed Aug. 9, 2012.
- MacLean J, et al. Pruritis ani. Australian Family Physician. 2010;39:366.
- Stermer E, et al. Pruritus ani: An approach to an itching condition. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2009;48:513.
- Pruritus ani. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. http://www.fascrs.org/patients/conditions/pruritus_ani/. Accessed Aug. 10, 2012.
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