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How do I Treat Anal Itching?

By Marco Sumayao
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

In order to get proper treatment for anal itching, one has to first determine the precise cause of the irritation. In most cases, the application of a topical cream is sufficient. When the itching is caused by more serious conditions, such as a yeast infection, antibiotics combined with other treatments are recommended. The range of anal itching treatment options includes anesthetics, antiseptics, and corticosteroids. Vasoconstrictors, keratolytics, and diet changes may also help.

The most common forms of anal itching may be treated with local anesthetics. These include over-the-counter hemorrhoid and anti-itch creams and gels, such as benzocaine and pramoxine. When applied to the anal area, anesthetics numb any nearby nerve endings. This provides relief that lasts long enough for the irritation to subside on its own.

If the cause of anal itching is bacterial, it might be necessary to use antiseptic products. Boric acid, benzethonium chloride, and phenol are examples of antiseptics strong enough to end a bout of anal itching. Antiseptics are meant to be used when the bacterial infection cannot be eliminated through regular washing with soap and water.

Corticosteroids are used when the itching is the result of an allergic reaction. These medications help reduce the inflammation of the anus, which is often the cause of discomfort. Corticosteroids are generally used as a last resort, however, as frequent use of the powerful products might cause skin damage.

A safer alternative to corticosteroids involves vasoconstrictors. When applied to the anus, these cause the blood vessels in the affected area to contract, reducing both inflammation and irritation. Vasoconstrictors come as either creams or anal suppositories. Examples of vasoconstrictors that provide relief for anal itching include ephedrine sulfate and phenylephrine.

When regular treatment seems to have little to no effect, individuals suffering from anal itching may choose to supplement with keratolytics. These break down the outer layer of skin, allowing for the easier absorption of other medications. Given the potential harm these might cause the skin, however, it is recommended that keratolytics be used under the supervision of a trained health professional.

It is highly possible that no medication is necessary for the treatment of anal itching. Certain foods, such as peppers and spicy sauces, contain chemicals that irritate the anus. Simply reducing the amount of these foods in one's diet can effectively treat anal itching. While altering one's diet might not provide immediate relief, it is certainly the most cost-effective treatment for the problem.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon989372 — On Mar 03, 2015

Cured! Fibers from my cotton underwear caused my anal itching for 10 years. I finally realized this and switched to a polyester/spandex blend and it stopped after 1 day! Hope this helps others.

By serenesurface — On Jun 11, 2013

@donasmrs-- It sounds like a pinworm infection. It's not possible to treat pinworms at home. A medication called mebendazole has to be taken.

By SarahGen — On Jun 10, 2013

@donasmrs-- If there was a rash, I would have said that it could be an allergic reaction or a fungal infection.

I'm allergic to detergents and synthetic fabrics. I've had allergic rashes with itching in my buttocks and vaginal area several times. I can only use hypo-allergenic laundry detergent and 100% cotton underwear.

Fungal infections can also cause anal itching and that requires treatment with anti-fungal ointments.

By donasmrs — On Jun 09, 2013

My daughter is six years old. For the past few days, she has been complaining of an itchy bum. I see her itching herself over her pants all the time. She says it's itching a lot. I took a look at it and there is no redness or rash. What could be the cause?

I wiped the area with a soapy cloth and applied witch hazel this morning. This helped for a little bit, but the itching came back.

I'm going to take her to the doctor if it doesn't resolve in the next few days. Is there anything I can do meanwhile to relieve the itching?

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