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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Skin Disorders Anal itch

Anal itch

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Anal itch also called Purities ani. Purities ani is a chronic itching of the skin around the anus. The skin of the peri rectal area is exposed to irritating digestive products in the stool; this may lead to an itchy rash, especially when stools are frequent. Often the rash is worsened by vigorous use of toilet tissue or scrubbing with soap and water.

Causes

  • Anal itching is usually an isolated skin complaint in otherwise healthy people, but in some it's part of a disorder involving other areas of the skin.  
  • You may find that alcohol, coffee, tea and spicy foods make Purities ani worse 
  • Purities ani usually occurs in men. The reason is unknown 
  • Sometimes hemorrhoids will start off as anal itching 
  • Pinworms can cause severe anal itching and should be thought of if several members of the family have this problem 

Treatment

  • Treatment is intended to reduce irritation of the anal skin. Careful, thorough, gentle cleansing after bowel movements is very important
  • Moisten toilet paper with lukewarm water, as dry toilet paper doesn't cleanse as well as wet and also irritates your skin 
  • Never use soap on the anal area. Cleansing with plain water, in either the shower or bathtub, will do the job 
  • Lotrimin cream mixed with hydrocortisone 1% cream applied daily. Both of these are available over the counter at your local drug store
  • A mild alpha hydroxyacid applied each day 
  • Plain Vaseline applied each day to the anal area 
  • Purities ani is frequently stubborn and requires months of local medication and gentle skin care 
  • Some people need to continue the medication once or twice daily indefinitely since the itching returns whenever they stop