Anal itching, medically known as pruritus ani, is a common problem affecting both men and women, though it is more common in men. It can occur at any age, but seems to be most common between 30 and 50 years of age.
Anal itching can be due to skin or internal medical issues. Skin-related causes include atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, excess friction in the anal area, excess sweat and moisture around the anus, exposure to chemical-based perfumes and dyes, and improper wiping after a bowel movement.
Some of the medical causes are food allergies, anal fissures, anal tumors, diarrhea, constipation, fecal incontinence and hemorrhoids, along with parasite, sexually transmitted, fungal and yeast infections.
The main symptom is itching in the anal area, which is often intense causing a strong urge to scratch.
Other symptoms of pruritus ani are burning, dryness, soreness, redness, swelling, ulcers, and a rash in and around the anal region. The symptoms may be temporary or more persistent, depending on the cause.
You may find anal itching to be embarrassing and uncomfortable. You can treat it at home with simple lifestyle changes and easy-to-follow home remedies. However, seek medical advice if the itching becomes unbearable or persistent.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for anal itching.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Both yeast and fungal infections can cause anal itching. In these cases, you can use apple cider vinegar to help control the infection. In addition, it helps alkalize the body.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water. Drink it twice daily.
- Another option is to add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to a hot bath. Soak in this bathwater for 15 to 20 minutes, once daily.
Follow these remedies for several days until anal itching and irritation subside.
Garlic helps treat anal itching from the inside out. It helps eliminate intestinal worms, one of the main causes of this problem. In addition, the antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties in garlic help treat any kind of infection responsible for anal itching.
- Eat 2 to 3 cloves of raw garlic on an empty stomach daily for one week.
- Another option is to boil 2 crushed garlic cloves in ½ cup of milk. Drink it on an empty stomach for a week.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the best remedies for anal itching. It soothes the skin and its antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties can treat any infection responsible for anal itching. Moreover, it can help expel intestinal worms.
- Eat 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil daily. You can also use this oil for cooking purposes.
- Rub some warm coconut oil in and around the affected area several times a day to relieve itching and burning sensations.
4. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has soothing and calming properties that can relieve anal itching, soreness and inflammation. Aloe vera also helps reduce the irritation of hemorrhoids, one of the main causes of anal itching.
- Slice away the thorny edges of a fresh aloe vera leaf, then cut it open.
- Extract the gel and rub it in and around the anus for 5 minutes.
- Reapply the gel every few hours to get rid of the itching and soreness.
You can also use oatmeal to treat an itchy anus. Oatmeal contains anti-irritating, anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that help heal irritated, inflamed and itchy skin.
- Mix 1 to 2 cups of colloidal oatmeal or unprocessed oat flour in a bathtub filled with lukewarm water.
- Soak in this water for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- You can take an oatmeal bath 1 or 2 times a day.
For treating yeast infection, which may cause anal itching, you can use yogurt. Not all types of yogurt will be beneficial. You must use probiotic yogurt with live active cultures (good bacteria). These bacteria can help control the growth of the infection. For treating anal itching, use plain, unsweetened probiotic yogurt only.
- Rub some plain yogurt on the affected skin. Let it sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes, or preferably overnight. Then rinse it off with warm water and dry the area thoroughly.
- Also, eat 2 to 3 cups of plain yogurt daily.
7. Epsom Salt
An Epsom salt bath is great for skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis, two key causes of anal itching. It helps relieve itching and burning sensations.
- Mix 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt in a bathtub filled with warm water.
- Soak in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Finally, pat dry your skin thoroughly.
- Enjoy this soothing bath 2 or 3 times a week.
Note: People who have kidney problems or diabetes should not use Epsom salt remedies.
According to Ayurveda, licorice can also help treat anal itching. Licorice is good for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis that cause anal itching. It helps reduce itching, redness and irritation.
- Slightly roast a mixture of equal amounts of licorice, rind of Chebulic myrobalan (also called haritaki) and cardamom.
- Grind them into a fine powder.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of this powder and 1 teaspoon of honey in a glass of water.
- Drink it once daily until you get relief.
You can also apply an over-the-counter licorice cream on the affected area a few times daily.
9. Increase Fiber Intake
A common cause of anal itching is constipation. When the constipation is treated, anal itching will automatically resolve. To treat constipation, the best option is to increase fiber intake. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and can soften stool and increase its bulk.
- Eat high-fiber foods like beans, potatoes, carrots, brown rice, quinoa, prunes, buckwheat, fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, broccoli and peas.
- You can also opt for fiber supplements after consulting your doctor.
10. Avoid Food Allergens
Certain foods can cause irritation during a bowel movement, leading to anal itching. Moreover, there are certain foods that can increase itchiness and inflammation. So, it is best to choose foods wisely and avoid food allergens for some time.
- Foods that can increase rectal itching are coffee, tea, soda, alcoholic beverages and chocolate.
- Avoid spicy foods like peppers and jalapenos.
- Avoid citrus fruits like grapes, lemons and oranges.
Avoid these foods for at least 2 weeks, then reintroduce them into your diet gradually.
- Avoid scratching, as it will only exacerbate the condition. To get temporary relief from itching, apply a cold compress.
- To prevent unconscious scratching while sleeping, wear cotton gloves at night until the symptoms subside.
- Use damp toilet paper to clean yourself thoroughly after a bowel movement. Then give a final wipe with dry paper to soak up any excess moisture.
- Avoid using scented or colored toilet paper, as these may aggravate the condition. Always use white, unscented toilet paper.
- Always make sure that you dry your bottom well after using the bathroom.
- For anal itching caused by excessive sweating, apply talcum powder on the affected area to absorb moisture.
- Do not sit in the same position for hours, as it may lead to a buildup of moisture or sweat in the anal area, causing more itching.
- Avoid using scented soaps on the affected area, as these may cause irritation.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting underwear. Choose underwear made of cotton, rather than synthetic fabrics.
- Never use cornstarch on the affected area, as it may worsen the skin infection.
- Manage stress. This will help overcome anal itching.