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Itching and irritation of skin near the exit of the rectum (anus) is referred to as anal itching.

Scratching and picking at the skin causes an increase in the intensity of irritation as well as the extent of inflammation.

At its worst, anal itching may become a source of unbearable discomfort, often causing symptoms of soreness and intense burning in the area.

Causes Of Anal Itching

Anal itching is most often a reaction to certain substances in the stool. However, there are some other reasons that may also cause this embarrassing condition.

  • Fecal Incontinence

Fecal or bowel incontinence, also known as anal leakage, causes an inability to control the release of feces from the bowel. This results in the loss of stool (liquid or solid) or gas from the anus. The continuous presence of small amounts of feces around the anal area causes irritation and itching, as a reaction to the various substances present in the feces. Almost half of the people who complain of anal itching suffer from fecal incontinence. It is important to manage ones diet in order to avoid developing anal leakage.

  • Diet

Foods such as caffeinated drinks, figs, prunes, etc, contain natural laxatives, which make the feces lose and may cause fecal incontinence along with anal itching. Consuming additional doses of certain vitamins and minerals may also have similar effects. Moreover, certain foods may irritate the anus during defecation. These commonly include citrus foods, caffeine, chocolate, nuts, probiotics and spicy foods. It is thus essential to manage and plan ones dietary intake.

  • Certain Products and Medications

Allergies or sensitivities to chemicals found in cosmetics or other beauty products may also cause itching if exposed to the anal area. These include bubble baths, scented toilet paper, and perfumed soaps.

Topical medication, such as creams and ointments may also result in anal itching. Be sure to consult a dermatologist before using any such product, especially if you have sensitive skin or are sensitive to a particular chemical ingredient. At times, itching may develop in response to an anesthetic gel that you may be using for the anal area. This might be due to sudden sensitivity to a particular ingredient or since the area remains continuously moist. Do not use such products for more than a week.

  • Parasitic Infections

Fungal infections, such as those caused by Candida species, of the anal area may also cause extreme itching and burning. An itchy anus that is further irritated by scratching, results in skin damage and soreness. This, along with the dampness of the anal area, favors the growth of fungus, resulting in aggravated infections.

  • Skin Conditions

Another cause of anal itching could be a generalized skin condition. This includes eczema and psoriasis. These autoimmune conditions usually have genetic and environmental causes, and are not contagious. Eczema causes the skin to become dry and flaky, resulting in itching. This condition is usually associated with sensitive skin that reacts to substances and chemicals in various products as well. If bacteria infect the areas of eczema, weeping and crusted sores may form.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition. It produces thick, scaling plaques on the skin because of rapid growth of skin cells triggered by an attack of immune cells. It usually affects the elbows, knees and scalp and causes excessive itching.

Anal itching a disorder that should not be treated with over-the-counter medication. This is because it is imperative to get to the root of this problem.

Treating it temporarily with or without medication may result in the recurrence.

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