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Pruritis Ani

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Puritus ani is intense itching around the anal resulting in a compelling urge to scratch.


Pruritis ani is often a symptom of other common anal conditions including hemorrhoids and anal fissures. The underlying condition can be made worse by scratching, vigorous cleansing of the area, or overuse of topical treatments.

Pruritis ani may be a temporary condition, or it can be more persistent and bothersome. If your symptoms are interfering with daily life you should talk to your doctor. Other symptoms that require medical attention:

  • Severe itching or itching that lasts longer than a few weeks
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • You can't figure out what's causing the itch

Persistent anal itching may be related to a skin condition or other health problem that requires medical treatment.

Causes and Risk Factors

Pruritis ani has many causes, but there are also numerous factors can cause anal itching to intensify, including moisture or dry skin, rubbing of your clothing, and pressure of sitting.

Pruritus ani may also be caused by eating certain foods, smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages, especially beer and wine. Food items that have been associated with pruritus ani include:

  • Coffee, Tea
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Milk products
  • Tomatoes and tomato products such as Ketchup
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts

Most cases of anal itching are caused by a harmless problem. Occasionally, however, anal itching can be a sign of more serious medical issues. Possible causes of anal itching include:

  • Fecal incontinence
  • Overuse of laxatives
  • Skin disorders
  • Yeast infections
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Anal abrasions, fissures and fistulas
  • Infections including sexually transmitted diseases and parasites
  • Anal tumors

Diagnostic Tests

Many people have experienced anal itching. Don't be embarrassed to talk with your doctor about this condition.

Your doctor may be able to diagnose the cause of your itching simply by asking you questions about your symptoms.

If the cause of your itching isn't obvious, your doctor may recommend other tests including proctoscopy or colonoscopy to view more of the digestive tract and find the underlying cause of anal itching.

Treatment and Procedures

Proper treatment can usually completely relieve anal itching.

Treatment of anal itching depends on the cause of the problem. It may include:

  • Self-care measures including over-the-counter creams
  • Changes to your diet
  • Treatment of infections or parasites

In rare instances, surgery may be required to correct an underlying problem.

Your health is our greatest concern. Please contact the Center for Colon & Rectal Surgery at 407.303.2615for a private consultation today.