Anal itching is a relatively frequent symptom related to different factors and clinical situations, although in about half of the cases it is not possible to identify the cause: this is called idiopathic itching.
The most common anal pathologies that can cause anal itching are: haemorrhoids, papillae and anal flaps, fissures, fistulae, condylomas and tumours. In other cases, itching may be associated with dermatological problems such as psoriasis, lichen simplex, contact dermatitis and sexually transmitted diseases. Systemic diseases such as diabetes, jaundice, lymphomas, intestinal parasitosis, allergies and psychological disorders may also cause itching.
However, a very common cause of anal itching is the excessive hygiene, the use of wipes or soaps that reduce sebum production, and the thickness of the corneal layer of the skin by modifiying the skin barrier function: this process is known as xerosis or dry skin.
When it is possible to identify the cause of itching, it can be stopped by treating the associated pathology that has triggered it. It will be helpful to avoid eating irritating foods for anal mucosa such as coffee, chocolate, spices, alcohol, spicy food and citrus fruits such as orange, lemon and tomato. It is important to avoid the use of toilet paper, perfumed or alcohol-based wipes and the use of too tight underwear and synthetic fibre. It may be useful to apply Calamine-based soothing lotions, low dose cortisone ointments, systemic antihistamines or ointments based on immunomodulating active substances.
Anal itching is a symptom that patients usually define as "desperate" that causes irritability, signs of sleeping difficulty at night, and leads to a significant change in lifestyle and interpersonal relationships. When it is solved, the patient goes back to his/her well-being, safety and quality of life.
On the other hand, the elimination of itching prevents the appearance of anal lesions due to scratching that makes the problem worse and complicates the treatment.
Anal itching is a very non-specific symptom related to many possible causes, from systemic pathologies, local diseases of the anal and perineal region, to psychological problems, food or hygiene and personal care. For this reason, it is very important that the patient discusses the problem with an expert proctologist and avoids self-medication. It is common to find patients who, due to the delay in consulting or due to the use of ointments or inappropriate measures, have a worse clinical situation than the initial problem.Curriculum