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What can cause rectal itching: Why Does My Anus Itch? 15 Causes of Anal Itching

Why Does My Anus Itch? 15 Causes of Anal Itching

Medically Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar, MD on November 02, 2021

An itch around your bottom is uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing. If you have anal itch, it may be hard to fight the urge to scratch. But scratching will only make the problem worse. Doctors can’t always find a reason for it, but some health problems or habits, or your diet, may trigger it.

If you don’t wipe well after you poop, what’s left behind can cause itching and burning. Gently clean the area with a wet piece of dye-free, unscented toilet paper. Pat dry with a soft cloth or toilet paper. If the area is very irritated, use a hair dryer set on low to dry it. (Be sure to hold the dryer a safe distance away.)

Wiping too hard can cause itching or make it worse. Don’t use soap, hot water, medicated powders, perfumed sprays, or deodorants, either. They can destroy the oily skin barrier that protects this sensitive area.

If you drink coffee, you may be more likely to have anal itching. That cup of joe may loosen your anal muscles, and that can let stool leak out, triggering itch. Other things that may cause anal irritation or itching include:

  • Tea and cola
  • Energy drinks and beer
  • Chocolate and nuts
  • Citrus fruits and tomatoes
  • Spicy foods
  • Dairy

If yours are tight or made of synthetic fabrics, you might have a moisture problem down below. Switch to well-fitting all-cotton ones. They absorb better. Change them every day or anytime they get damp, like after exercise. Wash them in fragrance-free detergent.

Passing lots of watery ones and wiping often can irritate the area. You also can itch and have pain if you’re constipated. More fluids and fiber in your diet can help keep you regular. If that doesn’t work, talk with your doctor. They may suggest other diet changes or medications to get things back on track.

These are swollen veins in your rectum or anus that can burn and itch. Straining when you poop or pressure during pregnancy can cause them. Sitting in warm water (a sitz bath) for 15 minutes several times a day may help. Try one after you poop. Drink plenty of water daily and get fiber in your diet so stools are softer. Call your doctor if you notice blood or have pain during a bowel movement so they can rule out more serious conditions.

Tiny cuts or sores (fissures) can open up inside your anus and cause pain and itching. You’re more likely to get these if you’re constipated and a hard or large stool tears the lining. Other causes include long-term diarrhea and an inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn’s disease.

This is a small tunnel that connects the anal canal to an opening in the skin near the anus. Fluids can leak out and irritate the skin, which triggers pain and itch. Crohn’s disease, cancer, trauma, and radiation can raise your chances of infections and fistulas. If you think you may have one, see your doctor.

A fungus, like the one that causes most vaginal yeast infections, can also cause anal itching. And certain kinds of bacteria can, too. For example, a staph skin infection can happen almost anywhere, including the area around your anus. And the same kind of bacteria that causes strep throat can trigger a red, itchy rash around the anus. This is more common in kids than adults.

The human papillomavirus (HPV)  is a sexually transmitted disease that causes anal warts. They grow inside and around your anus and may spread to your genitals. Itching is a common symptom. If you think you have anal warts, see your doctor. Without treatment, they can grow large and more may show up. Untreated warts can make you more likely to get anal cancer, too.

You may not want to know about this one. It happens when you swallow the eggs of tiny worms. They get in your digestive system through contaminated food and things like bed linens, bathroom fixtures, toys, and sandboxes. It’s more common in children. The itching usually happens at night, when a female worm lays eggs around the anus. You may see them in your underwear or in the toilet after a bowel movement. They look like tiny pieces of white thread. If you or your child has pinworms, your whole family may be treated for them.

A tiny mite nicknamed the “human itch mite” causes this rash. The bugs burrow into the top layers of your skin to feed. People usually get scabies from skin-to-skin contact. It spreads quickly where people spend a lot of time close together, like in day-care centers, dormitories, and nursing homes. Sharing clothes, towels, and bedding can spread it, too. Like pinworms, your doctor may suggest treating the family if one member has it.

If you have this skin condition, it’s possible to get patches of it where the sun doesn’t shine. The skin around your anus may be red but not scaly. It can itch like crazy, and you may have pain during bowel movements, too. Other skin conditions, including eczema and seborrhea, can cause anal itch as well.

You may need them to treat an infection, but some can kill the “good” bacteria that live in your bowels. You need those to keep your gut in natural balance, so diarrhea can be a common side effect. You also may be more likely to get a yeast infection while taking antibiotics. Ask your doctor if eating yogurt or taking a probiotic supplement may help.

Conditions that affect your whole body can affect your rear end. These include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Leukemia and lymphoma
  • Kidney failure or liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Anemia (not enough iron in your blood)
  • Anxiety and stress 

If your bottom is bothering you, and the itch doesn’t go away, see your doctor to find out what’s going on.


  1. Thinkstock Photos



American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons: “Pruritis Ani Expanded Version,” “Hemorrhoids: Expanded Version,” “Abscess and Fistula,” “Anal Warts.”

Harvard Medical School: “Anal Itch (Pruritus Ani).”

Cleveland Clinic: “Pruritus Ani (Anal Itching),” “7 Best and Worst Home Remedies for Your Hemorrhoids,” “Anal Fistula.”

National Health Services (UK): “Itchy bottom — Causes,” “How to ease an itchy bottom yourself,” “Anal Fissure.

University of Michigan: “Rectal Problems, ” “Hemorrhoids.”

KidsHealth.org:  “Staph Infections,” “Pinworms.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Scabies.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Scabies.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Genital Psoriasis.”

DermNet New Zealand: “Perianal streptococcal dermatitis.”

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Anal Itching: Causes, Prevention and Treatment Tips

Anal itching may not be something you’re comfortable talking about, although many people experience it occasionally. Most of the time you can stay quiet and treat the problem at home. But if the itching persists and is causing you significant discomfort, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for help, especially if you have pain and bleeding.

An itchy anus happens when the skin around the anus becomes irritated. It’s not always clear what triggers this, but there are many possible causes.

“Anal itching may be temporary or long-lasting depending on the cause. Your doctor can help, especially when itching becomes severe or persistent, or if you have anal bleeding, stool leakage or another symptom that requires treatment,” says Michael Hadley, MD, a family medicine physician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Encinitas.

In addition to itching, symptoms may include burning, soreness, visible redness, swelling, ulcers and a rash around the anus.

Anal itching, also known as pruritus ani, is not a disease, but a symptom related to skin or internal medical issues. Moisture, pressure and sitting can increase the intensity of the itching.

Treatment involves reducing inflammation and allowing the skin to heal. “Avoid rubbing, scratching and obsessive cleansing because that can affect healing,” says Dr. Hadley.

Causes include:

Anal disorders, including hemorrhoids, abscesses, fissures and fistulas, can cause itching, pain and other discomfort.

Numerous skin conditions can trigger anal itching, including psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.

Bacterial, fungal and parasitical infections and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including gonorrhea and anal herpes, can result in anal itching. Anal warts from human papillomavirus (HPV) – the most common STI – are also culprits.

Personal habits, such as what we eat and wear, how we clean ourselves and products we use, can irritate the skin around the anus. Excessive washing, prolonged exposure to moisture from loose stools, perspiration or wearing tight clothes can exacerbate the condition.

Certain foods also can cause irritation when stool is passed, including spicy foods.

Specific health conditions that can aggravate your anus area include:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Leukemia and lymphoma
  • Kidney failure or liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Anemia
  • Anxiety and stress

Scratching can irritate the skin and make itching worse. For relief, apply a moist, room-temperature compress to the area. Keep your nails short and wear cotton gloves while sleeping to help prevent nail scratching.

Any small amount of stool left behind can cause itching and burning. So, clean properly after a bowel movement. Cleaning and wiping should always be gentle.

When wiping, use moistened wipes or toilet paper moistened with water to prevent stool staying on the anal skin.

When washing, clean the area around the anus with plain water or mild soap and a soft washcloth. Pat dry.

Avoid foods and drinks that can irritate the skin around the anus, including coffee, cola, alcohol, citrus fruits, chocolate, spicy foods and tomatoes.

Certain chemicals in foods and medications can cause irritation or allergic reactions. Certain antibiotics, for example, can trigger anal itch.

Avoid using toilet paper with dyes and perfumes. It’s better to buy soft toilet paper.

Tight underwear or any other tight-fitting clothing that can trap moisture. It’s better to wear well-fitting cotton underwear that can help keep the area dry.

Add more fluids and fiber – which can be found in fruits and vegetables – to your diet to help maintain regular, firm bowel movements.

Fiber supplements such as psyllium (Metamucil) and methylcellulose (Citrucel) also may help.

Protect the affected skin from moisture by applying a zinc oxide ointment, such as Desitin and Balmex, or petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline. If needed, apply hydrocortisone cream, such as Cortaid or Preparation H anti-itch, to relieve symptoms.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience bleeding from the rectum or if your itching is getting worse even after self-care treatments.

Be ready to discuss your symptoms and medical history, including medications you may be taking, frequency of bowel movements and personal care habits.

You may also need a physical exam, which may include digital and visual rectum exams. In some cases, your doctor may recommend laboratory tests to check for an infection or diseases.

Anal itching – causes of occurrence, in what diseases it occurs, diagnosis and methods of treatment





04 June

Anal itching: causes of occurrence, in which diseases it occurs, diagnosis and methods of treatment.


Anal itching, or itching of the anogenital, anorectal region, is characterized by an unbearable desire to scratch the skin adjacent to the anus (the lumen of the anal canal). Areas of irritation, scratching and crusts appear on the skin in the anus. More often, itching bothers patients in the late afternoon or at night.

Burning and itching disturb sleep, lead to anxiety, irritability, neurosis.

Varieties of anal itching

It is customary to distinguish between primary (idiopathic) and secondary anal itching.

Possible acute manifestation of itching and chronic course. Acute itching is characterized by a sudden onset. In the chronic course of the process, itching sometimes weakens or stops, but then resumes with the same intensity.

Possible causes of anal itching

Primary (idiopathic) anal itching may be due to poor hygiene of the perineal area, resulting in poor cleansing of the anus, traces of feces irritating the skin. The same situation occurs with the insolvency of the anal sphincter, when the liquid part of the intestinal contents leaks when gases are released and the rectum is stretched.

Secondary anal itching is one of the symptoms of some diseases.

Diabetes mellitus . Skin manifestations in the early stages of diabetes can sometimes serve as signal markers of the disease. Especially often itchy dermatosis is observed in latent and mild forms of diabetes.

In many patients, itching appears six months or more before the diagnosis is made.

In this case, the most common localization of itchy areas are the folds of the abdomen, perineum, intergluteal region.

In patients with psoriasis, allergic and contact dermatitis itchy areas can be located in various areas of the body. The appearance of rashes on the skin of the buttocks and perineum is accompanied by severe, often painful itching.

In contact dermatitis, anal itching may be caused by allergic ingredients in paper and wet tissues, underwear fabrics, or in detergents used for personal hygiene.

Itching at hemorrhoids is caused by the fact that large hemorrhoids prevent the anal sphincter from fully closing, and the liquid part of the stool gets on the skin around the anus, causing it to become irritated. Another factor that leads to itching is the constant hydration of the skin due to the use of laxative suppositories. Other symptoms of hemorrhoids include discomfort, a feeling of nagging pain after a bowel movement, mucus and drops of red blood from the rectum.

Harbingers of hemorrhoids for a long time (from several months to several years) may be discomfort in the anus and anal itching.

Pinworm worms parasitize mainly in the large intestine, causing enterobiasis . When laying eggs, the females of these parasites crawl out through the rectum into the outer section of the anus, resulting in burning and itching.

Enterobiasis most often affects children under the age of 12 years.

In addition to pinworms, anal itching can be caused by tapeworms, ascaris, giardia, etc.

Microscopic fungi easily multiply on moist skin of the perineum. Candidiasis , which starts on the mucous membrane of the rectum and the vulva and vagina in women, spreads further, causing itching, burning and irritation of the skin. The development of candidiasis is facilitated by a decrease in immunity, oncological diseases, an imbalance of microflora due to diseases or the use of antibacterial drugs, diseases of the rectum, which are accompanied by cracks, erosion, leakage of the liquid contents of the intestine.

Chlamydia can infect the mucous membranes of the urinary tract, eyes, throat and pelvic organs. With development chlamydial infection in the rectum, the clinical picture of the disease is mostly asymptomatic, and clinical manifestations may include itching and burning in the anorectal region and slight yellowish discharge. Painful urge to defecate and mucopurulent discharge mixed with blood are also possible. The skin around the anus looks reddened and swollen.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) are often accompanied by anal itching. The mucous membranes of not only the small, large and rectum, but also the oral cavity and anus are affected.

Most patients have anal and perianal lesions (anal fistulas, fissures), which exacerbate itching.

Diffuse intestinal polyposis syndrome . Polyposis – outgrowths on the mucous membrane of the intestinal wall – are often asymptomatic, but in some cases, patients may experience bloody-mucous discharge, abdominal pain, and if polyps are located in the rectum (final intestine) and anus, constipation, diarrhea, anal itching.

Anal itching with proctitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the sigmoid or rectum) appears due to the bulging of the rectal mucosa into the lumen of the anus and the ingress of its discharge (mucus, traces of blood) onto the surrounding skin. Proctitis occurs due to trauma, constant mechanical and chemical irritation (frequent enemas, prostate massage, eating spicy food). The disease also develops after radiation therapy for malignant tumors (radiation proctitis) or infections (gonorrheal proctitis). In the chronic course of the process, the patient has a feeling of discomfort, incomplete emptying of the intestine, frequent urge to defecate.

In case of chronic paraproctitis (inflammation of the tissues surrounding the rectum, in particular, adipose tissue), anal itching is associated with pus and mucus from the fistulous tract, which is located near the anus, on the skin. The disease is caused by pathogenic microorganisms that penetrate the tissues surrounding the rectum through the anal glands or damaged mucous membrane. Sometimes there is the formation of several fistulous passages, from which pus and feces are released.

Anal itching may be one of the symptoms of rectal cancer . For a long time, malignant tumors can disguise themselves as benign formations, manifesting only discomfort during bowel movements, anal itching, and sometimes a non-healing ulcer. Pain in the anus at the beginning of the disease is observed only during bowel movements.

Cryptitis (inflammation of the Morganian crypt). Blink crypts are channels through which the secret of the anal glands is discharged into the rectum. With inflammation of the crypt, which can be caused by injuries with hard feces, chronic inflammatory processes (for example, anal fissures), there is constant itching in the anus. The pain has a “scratching” character and is aggravated by defecation, there may be an admixture of blood in the feces. The course of cryptitis is undulating, often patients consider the period of remission to be a complete recovery.

If left untreated, cryptitis can be complicated by paraproctitis.

Which doctors to contact if anal itching occurs

If anal itching occurs in children, first of all, you should contact
pediatrician. Adult patients should visit
a therapist for referrals for tests and a proctologist. To exclude diabetes mellitus, the therapist may refer the patient to
endocrinologist. If the allergic nature of anal itching is confirmed, further treatment will be continued by an allergist-immunologist.

Diagnostics and examinations in case of anal itching

To diagnose the disease, the symptom of which is anal itching, fecal analysis for enterobiasis, clinical blood and urine tests, blood tests for glycated hemoglobin 18, fungal infections, autoimmune antibodies are prescribed.

Enterobiasis test (pinworm eggs, enterobiasis), swab

There are restrictions on the days of taking samples in medical offices and receiving samples self-collected for this study (feces, urine, etc.).
We recommend clarifying the in…

Up to 1 business day

Available with home visit

RUB 525

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Clinical blood test: general analysis, leukoformula, ESR (with microscopy of a blood smear in the presence of pathological changes)

Synonyms: Complete blood count, UAC. Full blood count, FBC, Complete blood count (CBC) with differential white blood cell count (CBC with diff), Hemogram.
Brief description of the study CBC: general a…

Up to 1 business day

Available with home visit

RUB 810

Add to cart

General urinalysis (Urine analysis with sediment microscopy)

Method of determination

Determination of physical and chemical parameters is carried out on an automatic analyzer using the “dry chemistry” method.

Hardware microscope…

Up to 1 business day

Available with home visit

410 RUB

Add to cart

IgE total (Immunoglobulin E total, IgE total)

Immunoglobulin E total reflects the total amount of IgE class immunoglobulins in the blood serum.

Synonyms: Blood test for immunoglobulin E.


Up to 1 business day

Available with home visit

755 RUB

Add to cart

In addition, the doctor evaluates the condition of the skin around the anus and conducts a digital examination to determine the tone of the anal sphincter and identify pathological formations in the anal canal. Sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy may be prescribed.


Endoscopic examination of the large intestine to look for abnormalities, perform biopsies, and remove small polyps and tumors.

RUB 6,390

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What to do if anal itching occurs

The general recommendation for itching is to follow the rules of personal hygiene and prevent constipation.

Treatment for pruritus ani

Patients with pruritus ani are treated after the cause of the condition has been identified. With the primary nature of itching, the doctor, as a rule, gives recommendations on the rules of personal hygiene, advises to avoid wearing tight underwear, and not to eat spicy foods.

In case of secondary anal itching, it is necessary to treat the disease that caused it.


  1. Dermatovenereology: Short edition / Ed. Yu.S. Butova, Yu.K. Skripkina, O.L. Ivanova. – Moscow: GEOTAR-Media, 2013.
  2. Clinical guidelines. Coloproctology. Acute and chronic hemorrhoids / Ed. Yu.A. Shelygin. M.: GEOTAR-Media, 2015. S. 30–52.
  3. Clinical guidelines “Chlamydial infection”. Developed by: Russian Society of Dermatovenerologists and Cosmetologists, Russian Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. – 2021.


The information in this section should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. In case of pain or other exacerbation of the disease, only the attending physician should prescribe diagnostic tests. For diagnosis and proper treatment, you should contact your doctor.
For a correct assessment of the results of your analyzes in dynamics, it is preferable to do studies in the same laboratory, since different laboratories may use different research methods and units of measurement to perform the same analyzes.

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Anal itching: causes, symptoms and treatment of all types of diseases in the FSCC FMBA

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Itching in the anus is a delicate problem that causes significant discomfort and disturbs the usual way of life, sleep, leads to anxiety. Itching in the anal area can occur against the background of various conditions, so it is important to seek medical help in a timely manner to determine the cause and receive effective treatment.

Causes of anal itching

The most common causes of itching in the anus are listed below:

  • Can be caused by irritants in the food one consumes, such as spicy spices, hot sauces, peppers
  • Constant irritation develops against the background of frequent, loose stools (diarrhea), stool incontinence. This condition is dangerous because in a humid environment, the risk of secondary bacterial infection increases
  • A course of antibiotics may contribute to the development of a fungal infection that leads to irritation of the anal area, vulva
  • Some dermatological conditions such as psoriasis, contact dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis can affect the vulva and anus and cause severe itching
  • Anal fistulas (may develop as a result of Crohn’s disease and other diseases) interfere with the passage of stool, and thus the skin of the anus is affected by intestinal contents
  • A number of metabolic diseases (diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, liver failure) can cause anal irritation symptoms
  • In rare cases, may be due to a tumor process in the anus
  • Other causes include hemorrhoids, anal fissures, pinworms (intestinal parasites)
  • The most common cause of anal itching is lack of proper hygiene. Often, following the rules of personal hygiene according to the recommendations described below, solves the problem of itching in the anus


Itching in the anus occurs due to irritation of the skin surrounding the anus, accompanied by a strong desire to scratch this area.

Painful sensations, burning worse during and after defecation. It should be remembered that scratching only aggravates the condition, increases irritation and damage to the skin, as well as the risk of secondary infection.

Anal itching often occurs with the following symptoms:

  • Blood in stool
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Dryness, redness of the anus
  • Irritation and redness in the penis in men, in the vulva in women

Diagnosis of anal itching

If there is itching in the anus, the anus area is carefully examined for hemorrhoids, anal fissures, fistulas, skin diseases. A rectal digital examination is performed to exclude or confirm a tumor process in the rectum. For a more detailed examination, the doctor may use a rectal speculum.

If you suspect pinworms, your doctor may order a stool test for enterobiasis.

Effective treatment for anal itching

In order to get rid of anal itching and, mainly, to determine the cause of the condition, it is necessary to seek medical help. In some cases, a visit to a therapist is sufficient. If a concomitant disease is suspected, the therapist can issue a referral to specialized specialists: a proctologist, a gastroenterologist, a dermatovenereologist.

Compliance with the rules of personal hygiene helps to alleviate the condition, prevents the appearance of anal itching:

  • It is important to thoroughly clean and dry the anal area after going to the toilet without using harsh, perfumed cleaners, washcloths
  • For episodes of diarrhea, it is recommended to clean the anus area not with toilet paper, but with special wet toilet wipes
  • Avoid scratching the anus, if irritation is severe, apply cold wet compresses
  • Cotton underwear recommended
  • The use of special ointments, gels, creams with zinc oxide or petroleum jelly helps to relieve the condition
  • Changing the diet, avoiding spicy, spicy foods, the formation of regular shaped stools with the addition of fiber to the diet, reduce the intensity of itching symptoms.