Anal itching is a common condition. The itch in or around the anus is often intense and can be embarrassing and uncomfortable.
Anal itching, also called pruritus ani (proo-RIE-tus A-nie), has several possible causes. They include infections, hemorrhoids and ongoing diarrhea. Skin inflammation, also called dermatitis, is another cause.
If the symptoms don't clear up with self-care, talk with your health care provider. With treatment, most people get complete relief.
Symptoms of anal itching may include intense itching, inflammation, burning and soreness. The itching and irritation may be short lived or more persistent, depending on the cause. Anal itching often is worse at bedtime or in hot, humid weather.
When to see a doctor
Medical care isn't needed for most anal itching. But see your health care provider if:
- Anal itching is severe or constant
- You have anal bleeding or stool leakage
- The anal area seems to be infected
- You can't figure out what's causing a constant itch
Possible causes of anal itching include:
- Irritants. Fecal incontinence and long-term diarrhea can irritate the skin. Or your skin care routine may include products or behaviors that irritate the skin. Examples include using harsh soaps or wiping too hard and too often.
- Infections. These include sexually transmitted infections, pinworm infections and yeast infections.
- Skin conditions. Sometimes anal itching is the result of a specific skin condition, such as dry skin, psoriasis or contact dermatitis.
- Other medical conditions. These include diabetes, thyroid disease and hemorrhoids.
Often the cause of anal itching isn't known.