Anal Itching

General Information:

Itching around the anus is a common problem. It often is caused by skin irritation from stool, moisture, soaps or clothing. In children, the cause may be pinworms, especially if the itching is worse at night. In adults, the itching may be due to hemorrhoids. ln many cases, the cause is not known. Itching usually can be controlled by keeping the anal area clean and dry.


  1. Don’t rub or scratch the area. This makes the itching worse.
  2. After every bowel movement and at bedtime, gently clean the anal area. Use a moistened tissue, cotton ball, or soft wash cloth. You also may use premoistened anal cleaning pads or tissues made for cleaning up babies. Don’t use soap. Gently pat the area dry.
  3. Put a thin strip of cotton directly on the anus. This helps absorb moisture and stool. The cotton should be thin enough so that you can’t feel it. Don’t use a cotton ball or sanitary pad. You may dust the cotton with corn starch or baby powder. Change the cotton several times a day.
  4. Wear underwear made from cotton or with a cotton crotch. Don’t wear tight fitting clothes and underwear.
  5. Avoid foods and beverages that may cause anal itching. Examples are beer, tea, coffee, milk, cola, tomatoes, citrus fruits, nuts, chocolate and spicy foods.
  6. Don’t use products that may irritate the anal skin. These include perfumed or colored toilet paper, deodorant sprays and perfumed soaps.
  7. Don’t use any medicine, cream, or lotion on the anal area without checking with your doctor. Many products used to treat itching can make it worse.

Call If:

  1. The itching is not better in 2 – 3 days or gets worse.
  2. You develop a temperature over 101° F
  3. The skin around the anus becomes red or tender. This is a sign of infection.
  4. The same symptoms develop in other members of your family.