Anal itching, also known as pruritus ani, is the itching or irritation in or around the opening of the anus. The itching in the anus is often accompanied by a desire to scratch. It may be caused by something harmless such as moisture around the anal skin or something serious such as hemorrhoids.

home remedies for anal itch relief
Natural ways to bring relief to anal itching

Consult your doctor if you observe bleeding during bowel movements. A bleeding rectum can be the sign of a serious underlying condition. Seek emergency care if you experience large amounts of rectal bleeding, dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting.

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Streptococcus can also grow in the anal area and can cause the anal area to be red and to itch.  Seek medical treatment if the area continues to be red and to itch with no relief.

Causes of Anal Itching

Anal itching can be due to various factors, including the following:

  • Eating foods that are spicy and hot
  • The constant presence of moisture in the anus due to liquid stools, diarrhea, or incontinence
  • Consuming antibiotics and skin conditions such as psoriasis, which can irritate the anus
  • Crohn’s disease, which may create abnormal passageways from the small intestines to the skin surrounding the anus, bringing irritating fluids with them
  • Anal fissures or tearing of the anal skin
  • Pinworms
  • Anal skin tags
  • Hemorrhoids

Symptoms of Anal Itching

Anal itching may manifest through the following:

  • The irritation in the anus is accompanied by the desire to scratch.
  • The intensity of irritation increases with sitting, presence of moisture, and pressure on the anus.
  • Some people may experience blood in the stool, bleeding of the rectal area, and penile itching.
  • Scratching causes burning and soreness in and around the anal area.

Preventive Tips

Anal itching can be avoided by following these measures:

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  • Make sure you clean the anal area properly while showering and then dry the area well.
  • Wear clean cotton underwear and loosely fitting clothes.
  • Keep the anal area dry and moisture-free as it is one of the hidden parts of the body. A warm (not too hot) blow dryer to the area may be helpful.
  • Pay extra care if you suffer from anal incontinence by wiping your anus with moist pads or anal cleansing pads between bowel movements.
  • Refrain from scratching.
  • Avoid using products that can cause anal irritation such as perfumed soaps, genital deodorants, and bubble baths.
  • Cut back on hot and spicy foods. Eat more fibrous foods to have soft, regular, and healthy bowel movements.

Ways to Control Anal Itching

Here are some home remedies to help you manage anal itching.

Method 1: Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is an old-fashioned remedy for various skin problems, be it acne or skin irritation. Witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe the irritated skin and is a natural astringent that dries off moisture from the skin. It also promotes faster healing. (1)

Single-Step Treatment: Soak a cotton ball with witch hazel and dab it on the irritated skin

witch hazel for anal itch
Apply witch hazel to the affected area for relief
  • Using a cotton ball with witch hazel, gently wipe the skin around the anal area.

Use this remedy twice a day until you feel relieved from anal itching.

Note: If the itching seems to worsen, then stop the remedy and seek medical care immediately.

Method 2: Epsom Salt

Epsom salt is one of the remedies used to treat various skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, which are some of the main causes of anal itch. It has great soothing properties that calm the inflamed skin and reduce the urge to itch. It draws moisture from the irritated skin, killing bacterial growth if any. (2)

Single-Step Treatment: Soak in an Epsom salt bath

epsom salt soak
Epsom salt may also help you give symptomatic relief
  • Fill your bathtub with warm water and dissolve 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt in it.
  • Soak yourself in it for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Pat yourself dry thoroughly with a clean towel.

Take an Epsom salt bath two to three times a week.

Method 3: Diet

An improper diet is one of the main reasons for ailments, such as anal itch. The following dietary changes can help you manage anal itching: (3)

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diet to prevent anal itch
Avoid dietary triggers
  • Avoid foods that are hot, spicy, and acidic, as these are the major irritants to your digestive system. Foods such as cayenne pepper, chili, and other spices can upset your stomach and may even cause heartburn and acid reflux.
  • Include high-fiber foods into your diet; fiber helps relieve pruritus ani symptoms as it eases the passage of stool. Some of the fiber-rich foods that you can include in your diet are split peas, lentils, broccoli, artichokes, black beans, Brussels sprouts, raspberries, blackberries, avocado, and oatmeal. However, avoid figs and prunes as they can aggravate the condition.
  • Drop 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in a bottle of water and sip it as you would with water.
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates such as breaded or battered food, all types of dough, muffins, cookies, cakes, pancakes, and waffles, as they contain unnatural sugars and starches.
  • Avoid caffeinated and carbonated drinks such as coffee, tea, and soft drinks.
  • Limit your alcohol intake, especially beer. Beer contains nitrosamines and tannins that make you more prone to conditions involving rectal and anal cancers and bleeding.

Method 4: Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a medicinal plant and is used to treat many skin problems such as rashes, folliculitis, and contact dermatitis. It is rich in water and minerals and has cooling properties that can relieve inflammation, itching, and soreness of the anal skin. Aloe vera is also a helpful remedy for people suffering from hemorrhoids. (4)

Single-Step Treatment: Apply aloe vera gel to the itchy skin

aloe vera for itch relief
The soothing properties of aloe vera provide relief from itching
  • Cut open a fresh aloe vera leaf and extract the gel.
  • Dip a cotton ball into the gel and apply it on the irritated skin.

Keep reapplying several times a day until you find relief.

Storing this in the fridge before applying may make the aloe vera gel more soothing.

Method 5: Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is a barrier cream that acts as a skin protectant and works as an antibacterial agent, reducing the growth of infection-causing bacteria. It gives the best protection against irritation from fecal matter. Use zinc oxide to get relief from anal itching and burning sensations. It is available in supermarkets and pharmacies. (5)

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Single-Step Treatment: Apply zinc oxide cream

zinc oxide cream for itchy skin
Gently apply the zinc oxide cream to the itchy area
  • Apply the zinc oxide anti-itch cream to the anal area to get instant relief.

Reapply several times a day to get rid of anal itching.

Method 6: Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria and eliminate it completely. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the skin, reducing the irritation and the desire to scratch.

Consuming 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil every day helps improve the condition. Also, consider using coconut oil in your daily cooking.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply coconut oil to the itchy area

coconut oil for itchy skin
Use a cotton ball to apply the oil to the anal region
  • Soak a cotton ball in extra-virgin coconut oil and apply it directly to the skin around the anus.

Do this for a couple of times a day until the itching goes away.

Method 7: Garlic

Garlic has excellent medicinal properties that can be used to treat a variety of problems such as throat infection, dermatitis, warts, and herpes. A compound called allicin in garlic contains antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties that help deal with the worms causing anal itching.

Consuming 2 to 3 garlic cloves every day is very beneficial for your health. Garlic is an effective remedy for hemorrhoids as well.

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Things you'll need:

things need
Items needed
  • Garlic (crushed) - 2 cloves
  • Milk - ½ a cup

Step 1: Bring crushed garlic and milk to a boil

boil milk with crushed garlic
In a pan add milk and crushed garlic
  • Boil ½ a cup of milk in a pan on low flame and pour it into a glass.
  • Crush 2 cloves of garlic and put it in the glass of milk.

Step 2: Consume garlic boiled in milk on an empty stomach

strain and drink milk
Drink this mix once daily on an empty stomach
  • Whisk the ingredients together and drink this milk on an empty stomach.

Do this once a day for a week.

Method 8: Olive Oil

Olive oil is a potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial ingredient. It helps fight the bacteria by curtailing their growth and killing them completely. It also helps decrease the swelling, if any, by soothing the irritated skin membrane and inflamed blood vessels.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply olive directly to the irritated skin

Olive oil for anal itch
Dab the affected area with some olive oil
  • Soak a cotton ball in extra-virgin olive oil and dab the cotton on the itchy skin on and around the anus.
  • Cleanse your hands thoroughly with a hand wash post the application.

Follow up the remedy every few hours until the anal itching goes away.

Method 9: Yogurt

A 2012 review published in Helicobacter mentioned that yogurt is beneficial for problems related to the digestive tract. (6) It possesses therapeutic properties that kill the harmful Helicobacter pylori bacteria and treat inflammatory bowel syndrome.

The presence of lactic acid in yogurt makes it an effective remedy for pruritus ani. Probiotic yogurt contains live active cultures that help curb the growth of infection-causing bacteria. Make sure that you use plain and unsweetened probiotic yogurt only.

Single-Step Treatment: Eat probiotic yogurt every day

consume yogurt
Some good bacteria helps soothe the itch
  • Eat a cup of plain and unsweetened probiotic yogurt every day to treat anal itching.
  • Add fruits, berries, and chopped nuts to a bowl of probiotic yogurt and eat it for breakfast.

Do this for a week, and you will be able to see a significant difference.

You can continue consuming yogurt to protect your gastrointestinal health.

Method 10: Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another ingredient when it comes to treating irritated or itchy skin. It possesses antibacterial properties due to the presence of a compound called acetic acid in it. This acid stalls bacterial growth. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the itchy and irritated skin.

Single-Step Treatment: Mix apple cider vinegar in a warm bath and soak in it

apple cider vinegar for anal itching
A bath soak with apple cider vinegar may help subside the itch
  • Fill your bathtub with warm water and pour 1 to 2 cups of apple cider vinegar into it.
  • Sink in and soak yourself for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Get out of the bath after soaking and pat yourself dry thoroughly.

Do this once every day until you are relieved from the anal itch.

You can also dilute 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and drink it twice daily on an empty stomach.

Additional Tips

  • You can also apply petroleum jelly such as Vaseline the itchy area.
  • Add flax seeds in your food as they are a rich source of fiber.
  • You can take an oatmeal bath by adding 1 to 2 cups of rolled oatmeal to a warm tub of water and soaking yourself in it for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this once every day to relieve yourself from anal itching.

 Resources:

  1. Enlarged hemorrhoids: How can you relieve the symptoms yourself? InformedHealth.org [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279466/. Published November 2, 2017.
  2. Cather JC, Ryan C, Meeuwis K, et al. Patients' Perspectives on the Impact of Genital Psoriasis: A Qualitative Study. Dermatology and therapy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5698203/. Published 2017.
  3. Ansari P. Pruritus Ani. Clinics in colon and rectal surgery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4755774/. Published March 2016.
  4. Rahmani N, Khademloo M, Vosoughi K, Assadpour S. Effects of Aloe vera cream on chronic anal fissure pain, wound healing and hemorrhaging upon defection: a prospective double-blind clinical trial. European review for medical and pharmacological sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24763890. Published 2014.
  5. Ansari P. Pruritus Ani. Clinics in colon and rectal surgery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4755774/. Published March 2016.
  6. Yang Y-J, Sheu B-S. Probiotics-containing yogurts suppress Helicobacter pylori load and modify immune response and intestinal microbiota in the Helicobacter pylori-infected children. Helicobacter. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22759330. Published August 2012.

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