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Why do some people get anal itch?

It can be surprisingly difficult to find the exact cause of an anal itch.  When an itch first appears a vicious cycle is often started by the person aggrevating the situation by scatching the skin with their fingers.  Yes, we know - it can be impossible to resist scratching at that itch and it actually feels better for å while after having scratched it thoroughly.  

Some patients have hemorrhoids which irritate the anal area and after a while itching appears. There are many theories for what causes anal itching otherwise.  Some theories focus on the cause being intestinal content irritating the anal skin.  Others hypothesize that an irritation of the sweat glands surrounding the anus are the source of the itch. Some people have an anal opening that is more prone to be moist, In some cases it can be dietary factors, fungal infections or systemic diseases. We discuss some of the underlying causes below. In our experience in most cases the cause of the itch is multifactorial and can be surprisingly difficult to pinpoint. 

When should I go see a doctor about my anal itch problem?

If you have been having frequent episodes with anal itching we advise you to get this checked by a doctor.  In some (rare) cases a more serious condition can be the cause of the itch. Most people will understandably find it somewhat embarrassing to seek medical help for this condition especially since it also involves having to expose your anal area for inspection and usually also a rectal examination.  However, you have to keep in mind that your doctor will find nothing strange about you seeking medical help for this as he/she will know how disabilitating anal itch really is.  An examination of the anal area is one of the most routine procedures for a doctor and to them it is just a normal part of the daily job.. 


Can the use of soaps and other hygiene products lead to or aggrevate anal  itching?

Yes. Do not use regular soaps or shampoos around the anal area as these tend to dry out or irritate the skin.  This can also cause the sweat glands to be more active.  Soap residues can cause further irritation.


If you are already suffering from anal itching then good anal hygiene is obviously essential but water alone will achieve this. If you absolutely feel the need for a soap like product in the anal area then you should purchase a product that is designed for specifically washing the anal area. Make sure to rinse the area well afterwards. Do not use too warm water for this - water with body temperature is best here. 

In many cases residues of stool after toilet visits will aggrevate anal itching.  It is therefore especially important that you clean the anal area well after each visit to the toilet.  Using regular toilet paper can make the problem much worse.  If you can use a bidet - this is obviously an ideal choice to wash the anal area after toilet visits. Just pat the anal area dry afterwards with toilet paper - do not rub!  If you cant wash your behind with water after toilet visits we advise you to use pre-moistened skin wipes          (such as used in baby care)- make sure to use the mildest type available and that the product is without perfume.  Do not rub the anal area vigorously- wipe it carefully making sure to also clean a little way up the anal opening in the end of the procedure.   After this apply a small amount of AnuCura around the anal area.


Can some food types aggrevate anal itch?

Yes.  Some type of foods like orange juice or coffee can make the itch worse for some people while others are unaffected by these foods. In some cases a high consume of sugar free chewing gum that contains xylitol can cause anal itching.  On the internet you will find many dietary advices in relation to anal itching.  Some advise for a gluten-free diet, others advise to cut out citrus fruit or chocolate.  We know many patients that have tried all sorts of dietary changes without experiencing any improvement of their condition. Before you make major dietary changes to relieve you of your anal itch we advise you to make an appointment with your doctor. 

Are there any other products that can help with anal itching?

Many patients are prescribed creams containing steroids to deal with anal itching.  Cortisone can initially be quite effective in providing relief against itching but when used for longer than 10 days it can cause the anal skin to get thinner and can actually aggrevate the problem in the long run.  In milder cases a thick zinc paste applied at least twice daily may provide relief.  Other itch -relief creams and ointments that we kbnow of will in most cases not provide long lasting relief.  Products containing local anesthesia ingredients like lidocaine will only provide short relief - usually the effect weras ofter after only a few hours.  Many patients feel that the itching gets worse after having used lidocaine products for several days.  Creams/ointments containing capsaicine ( chili extract) can burn intensely when applied and can irritate the  skin further. 

If you itch mostly at night ( and if worms have been ruled out as the cause of the itch) then antihistamine tablets can give some relief at night. But why would you want to use tablets with possible side-effects when you can use AnuCura?


Are there surgical procedures that can be used to treat anal itching?

If the cause of the itch are hemorrhoids then the itch often will disappear after the hemorrhoids are treated surgically.  However, some patients first got anal itch after a surgical procedure for hemorrhoids - where the itch starts in the scar tissue after the surgery.  So as you will appreciate - anal itch is quite complicated.


In the last years Botox® is used increasingly - injected beneath the skin around the anus-   to relieve anal itching .Botox®  is the same substance that is injected in the skin to reduce wrinkles in the face in the cosmetic industry.  In most cases the injections have to be repeated to provide long lasting relief from itching and not all patients have the desired results. In our experience the patients who benefit well of this method are those that have very active sweat glands in the anal area.  If you are wondering if you could be a good candidate for Botox® injections to relieve you of your anal itch - talk to your doctor about it.  

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