Read below about anal itching, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your anal itching from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having anal itching

Take Quiz

Anal Itching Symptoms

No one likes to talk about it. But when it happens, you can't ignore it. Anal itching, also known as pruritus ani [9], never strikes at a convenient time. Sometimes, it's just a normal itch. But if you find yourself reaching to scratch on a regular basis, there could be a more serious cause to consider and treat.

Common anal itching symptoms include:

  • Itching around the anus
  • Burning
  • Pain from traumatized skin
  • Soreness

How is anal itching diagnosed? If you can't determine the cause of yours or it occurs more often than you would like it to, you'll need to schedule an appointment with your doctor. They'll ask you a few questions, such as your anal itching symptoms and personal habits. An examination will also take place.

Your doctor may order a test or two to determine if there's an infection or a presence of parasites. If they still can't find a cause, you may need to see a dermatologist or proctologist [10].

In some cases, the cause of the anal itching is never diagnosed. Instead, different treatment plans are explored until a solution is found. But don't lose hope yet. Start by exploring your anal itching symptoms and doing your best to determine the cause of your persistent anal itching.

Anal Itching Causes Overview

There are almost 100 different causes for anal itching.

Skin conditions:

  • Dermatitis: There are several skin conditions that can cause itchy skin anywhere on the body, including the anus. If you've already been diagnosed with dermatitis or psoriasis, this is the most probable cause of your itching [1].
  • Hygiene: If you wash too much, you could be drying out the skin, leading to itching. If you're not washing enough, fecal buildup can also cause itching.

Infection:

  • Parasitic: There are a variety of parasitic infections that can cause anal itching symptoms, such as pinworms, a common intestinal parasite [2].
  • Sexually transmitted: Certain sexually transmitted infections and diseases can lead to anal itching. Genital warts is one [3].

Conditions:

  • Diabetes: Candidiasis is linked to diabetes, which can cause itching. Patients with diabetes can also experience anal itching without candidiasis [4].
  • Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome: The causes of inflammatory bowel syndrome and anal itching are sometimes the same.

Diet:

  • Irritants: Certain foods, like dairy products, spicy foods, and nuts, can irritate skin during bowel movements, leading to itching as the skin heals.
  • Eating habits: Poor eating habits can lead to constipation. Hemorrhoids can develop as a result with itching being one of the main associated symptoms [5].

With so many potential causes, getting to the "bottom" of your anal itching symptoms might take the assistance of a doctor and a few medical tests.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Anal Itching

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced anal itching. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids are a very common condition that affects more 50% of the population, typically after the age of 30. Hemorrhoids are enlarged, bulging blood vessels in the anus that can bleed or clot.

    Chronic and can worsen with time. But, 90% of people are successfully managed with non-surgical treatments.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    constipation, rectal pain, rectal bleeding, pain when passing stools, anal itching
    Symptoms that never occur with hemorrhoids:
    unintentional weight loss
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  2. 2.Chronic or Recurrent Hemorrhoids

    Hemorrhoids are a very common condition that affects more 50% of the population, typically after the age of 30. Hemorrhoids are the "varicose veins of the anus and rectum" - enlarged, bulging blood vessels in the anus that can bleed or clot.

    Chronic hemorrhoids can worsen with time. But, 90% of people are successfully managed with non-surgical treatments.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    rectal bleeding, rectal pain, pain when passing stools, anal itching, painless rectal bleeding
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic or recurrent hemorrhoids:
    unintentional weight loss
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Butt

    Allergic contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed following physical contact with an allergen. Common products known to cause allergic dermatitis include plants, metals, soap, fragrance, and cosmetics.

    1-2 days

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    butt itch, butt redness, scabbed area of the butt
    Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the butt:
    butt redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Anal Itching Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having anal itching.

    Take Quiz
  4. 4.Pinworm Infection

    Pinworm infection, also known as Enterobiasis, is the most common worm infection in the United States. It can be passed from one person to another if contaminated fecal matter is ingested. The most common symptom of this infection is itching around the anus, especially at night.

    With prescription medication and proper hygiene, the infection can be eliminated in a matter of weeks. However, if members of the household continue to pass the infection back-and-forth it could take up to a year to completely remove the Pinworm infection.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    anal itching, constant but weak urination stream
    Symptoms that never occur with pinworm infection:
    constant but weak urination stream
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  5. 5.Dermatofibroma

    Dermatofibroma (superficial benign fibrous histiocytoma) is a common cutaneous nodule of unknown etiology that occurs more often in women. Dermatofibroma frequently develops on the extremities (mostly the lower legs) and is usually asymptomatic, although pruritus and tenderness can be present

    Resolves with treatment

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    small facial lump, pink or red facial bump, face itch, skin-colored facial bump, painful facial bump
    Urgency:
    Wait and watch
  6. 6.Yeast Infection

    Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called "Candida." Candida is the scientific name for yeast that lives almost everywhere, including in the human body. Typically, our immune system keeps it under control, but if you take antibiotics or gets sick, the fungus can multiply and cause an infection. In this case, it is happening in the vagina.

    50% of women have relapses within 2 months, and 9% have more than 4 episodes per year. For those, maintenance therapy is possible.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, white/gray vaginal discharge, thick vaginal discharge, vaginal pain, vulvovaginal redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  7. 7.Anal Cancer

    Anal cancer is a highly (75%-90%) curable cancer of the opening of the anus.

    Varies by severity of tumor

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    abdominal pain (stomach ache), stool changes, constipation, diarrhea, pain when passing stools
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Anal Itching Treatments and Relief

For most people, anal itching is nothing more than an embarrassing nuisance. But for those who have a persistent case medical intervention may be necessary.

Schedule an appointment sooner than later if you're experiencing any of the following along with anal itching.

  • Anal bleeding
  • Signs of infection or severe pain
  • Persistent itching with no obvious cause
  • Intense swelling or dark bruising around the area

There are several combinations of treatments and preventative measures you can try at home for relief for anal itching.

  • Thorough cleansing: After bowel movements, use water to cleanse the area instead of toilet paper, which can further irritate broken skin. Make sure to dry thoroughly using a clean towel.
  • Don't scratch: Scratching can make the anal itching worse as it irritates the skin. If you need relief, press a cold compress to the area.
  • Wear cotton: Wearing cotton undergarments and loose clothing will help to keep the area dry and avoid irritation [11].
  • Ointments: You can apply thin layers of zinc oxide ointments [12] to keep the skin dry and protected. If you're suffering from hemorrhoids, coconut oil is a natural topical that can speed up healing.

With so many potential anal itching causes, the symptom is common. But this doesn't mean you have to live with it. Finding a treatment that keeps the itch at bay is possible.

FAQs About Anal Itching

Here are some frequently asked questions about anal itching.

Why does my anus itch after a bowel movement?

Anal itching can be caused by many things. Liquid stool or incontinence that stays on the skin of the anus can cause itching. Hemorrhoids, as they heal after a bowel movement, can also cause itching. Anal fissures [6] that are partially healed can itch, and pinworms, a parasite affecting children from consumption of unsanitary food, can all cause itchiness.

Why is my anus itchy and burning?

Itchiness and burning is typical of an external hemorrhoid and an anal fissure. In both of these conditions, an injury to the tissue around the anus can cause burning as one defecates and then itching after the area is cleaned. Profuse diarrhea can also irritate and create microabrasions in the anus. Burning and itching may also be a sign of a sexually transmitted illness. There are many other causes; if the itching and burning continues, seek medical evaluation.

Why is my anus itchy and bleeding?

An itchy and bleeding anus may be a sign of an anal fissure. This is a small tear in the skin of the anus when a hard impacted stool overstretched the anus. It may cause blood on the stool, in the toilet bowl, or on the toilet paper. There are many other causes of itchiness and bleeding of the anus, and if you are experiencing anal (or rectal) bleeding with no known cause, you should seek medical evaluation.

Can eczema cause an itchy anus?

Yes, atopic dermatitis or eczema can cause skin thickening and scratched raised bumps around the anus as well as itchiness of the anus. It is most common in children 5 to 7 years of age, and usually occurs in the flexing areas of the elbows and knees but can also occur in the gluteal region around the anus [7].

Does my anus itch because of an infection?

Yes, it is possible for both a sexually transmitted disease [8] and a parasite to cause itchiness around the anus. Parasites are much more common among young children and sexually transmitted diseases are almost exclusively found in adults. If you suspect either cause of infection, you should seek medical evaluation.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Anal Itching

  • Q.Have you had any changes in your weight?
  • Q.Do you have a rash?
  • Q.Do you have a history of constipation?
  • Q.Do your symptoms worsen when sitting?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our anal itching symptom checker to find out more.

Take Quiz

Anal Itching Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced anal itching have also experienced:

    • 16% Vaginal Itch or Burning
    • 7% Vaginal Discharge
    • 4% Rectal Pain
  • People who have experienced anal itching had symptoms persist for:

    • 32% Less Than a Day
    • 28% Over a Month
    • 20% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced anal itching were most often matched with:

    • 33% Hemorrhoids
    • 33% Chronic or Recurrent Hemorrhoids
    • 33% Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Butt
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having anal itching

Take Quiz

References

  1. Dermatitis. Wikipedia. Updated Sept, 2018. Wikipedia Link.
  2. Pinworms. National Library of Medicine: MedLinePlus. Published March 6, 2018. MedLinePlus Link.
  3. Genital Warts. Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood Link.
  4. Candidiasis. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published August 7, 2017. CDC Link.
  5. Hemorrhoids and What To Do About Them. Harvard Medical School: Harvard Health Publishing. Published July 16, 2018. Harvard Health Link.
  6. Anal Fissure. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. ASCRS.
  7. Starr O. Atopic Eczema. Patient. Published April 18, 2018. Patient Link.
  8. Samuel P. STD Symptoms. STD. Published August, 2017. STD-gov Link.
  9. Pruritis Ani Expanded Version. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. ASCRS.
  10. Proctologist. Wiktionary. Published May 14, 2017. Wiktionary Link.
  11. Vorvick LJ, Zieve D, Conaway B, et al. Anal Itching - Self-Care. National Library of Medicine: MedLinePlus. Published May 14, 2017. MedLinePlus Link.
  12. Zinc Oxide Topical. Drugs.com. Published April 19, 2017. Drugs.com Link.