Often, you won't need to see a doctor about anal itching. If the itching is persistent, bring it up with your primary care doctor. Depending on the cause of your anal itching, your primary care doctor may refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist) or a doctor who specializes in treating rectal and anal problems (proctologist).
Here's some information to help you prepare for your initial appointment.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions for your doctor will help you make the most of your time together. For anal itching, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need?
- Is this problem temporary?
- What treatments are available? Which do you recommend?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or do they come and go?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Have you had recent changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or loose bowel movements?
- What type of soap or other cleansers do you use on your body?
- Does anything seem to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, worsens your symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
Cleanse the area gently immediately after bowel movements and dry thoroughly. Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing. Try not to scratch.
Oct. 09, 2012
- 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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