Overview

Anal itching is a common condition. The itch, situated in or around your anus, is often intense and may be accompanied by a strong urge to scratch. You may find anal itching to be embarrassing and uncomfortable.

Also called pruritus ani (proo-RIE-tus A-nie), anal itching has many possible causes, such as skin problems, hemorrhoids, and washing too much or not enough.

If anal itching is persistent, talk with your doctor. With proper treatment and self-care measures, most people get complete relief from anal itching.

Symptoms

Anal itching may be associated with redness, burning and soreness. The itching and irritation may be temporary or more persistent, depending on the cause.

When to see a doctor

Most anal itching doesn't require medical care. See your doctor if:

  • Anal itching is severe or persistent
  • You have anal bleeding
  • The anal area seems to be infected
  • You can't figure out what's causing a persistent itch

Persistent anal itching may be related to a skin condition or other health problem that requires medical treatment.

Causes

Possible causes of anal itching include:

  • Personal care habits. Your skin care routine may include products or behaviors that irritate the skin. These include washing too much, washing too little, and using soap, moist wipes or toilet paper with dyes and perfumes.
  • Infections. Sexually transmitted infections may involve the anus and cause anal itching. Pinworms can cause persistent anal itching. Other parasites may cause similar itching. Yeast infections, which usually affect women, can also cause itching in the anal area.
  • Skin conditions. Sometimes anal itching is the result of a specific skin condition, such as psoriasis or contact dermatitis.
  • Other medical conditions. These include chronic diarrhea, hemorrhoids, anal tumors and diseases that affect the whole body, such as diabetes.
Oct. 09, 2015
References
  1. Breen E, et al. Approach to the patient with anal pruritus. www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 7, 2015.
  2. Bope ET, et al. Diseases of the skin. In: Conn's Current Therapy 2015. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 7, 2015.
  3. AskMayoExpert. Pruritus ani. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
  4. Klein JW. Common anal problems. Medical Clinics of North America. 2014;98:609.
  5. Nasseri Y, et al. Pruritus ani: Diagnosis and treatment. Gastroenterology Clinics of North America. 2013;42:801.
  6. Pruritus ani. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. http://www.fascrs.org/patients/conditions/pruritus_ani/. Accessed Aug. 7, 2015.
  7. Markell KW, et al. Pruritus ani: Etiology and management. Surgical Clinics of North America 2010;90:125.
  8. Fargo MV, et al. Evaluation and management of common anorectal conditions. American Family Physician. 2012;85:624.
  9. Ferri FF. Pruritus ani. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2016. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 19, 2015.