Anal Eczema (Anal Itching)
Anal itching is caused by the irritation of the skin at the exit of the rectum, known as the anus, accompanied by the desire to scratch. Although itching may be a reaction to chemicals in the stool, it often implies that there is inflammation of the anal area.
The intensity of anal itching and the amount of inflammation increases from the direct trauma of scratching and the presence of moisture. At its most intense, anal itching causes intolerable discomfort that often is described as burning and soreness.
What Causes Anal Itching?
- Irritants: High levels of moisture due to constipation or long-term and chronic diarrhea can irritate the skin. In addition, your skin care routine including products or behaviours may irritate your anal area, ie. soaps, moist wipes, washing aggressively and with hot water.
- Food: Certain foods ingested such as spices, hot sauces and peppers may induce anal itching.
- Infections: In addition to irritants, anal itching could be a sign of sexually transmitted infections or diseases, pinworms, or yeast infections. Antibiotics used to treat yeast infections are also known to cause anal itching.
- Skin Conditions: Anal itching can sometimes be the result of a specific skin condition like psoriasis or contact dermatitis.
- Underlying Health Conditions: Diabetes, thyroid disease, hemorrhoids, anal tumours, or Chron’s disease.
When To See A Doctor?
Anal itching can become very persistent if not treated. How do you know if it’s time to make the call to your doctor?
- Your anal itching has become unbearable; it is severe and persistent
- You are experiencing bleeding or leakage in your stool
- The anal area is infected, itchy and you have no idea why
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, book an appointment with your doctor. A definitive diagnosis allows you to receive the proper treatment and care.