It is often difficult not to scratch or interfere with an itchy anus and while this may be an embarrassing condition to suffer with, it is usually harmless. The anus is thin an sensitive area of the body and scratching may lead to more itching and the cycle continues unless appropriate treatment is administered. In most cases, a nagging bum itch can be so uncomfortable, that a person may attempt to enter the anus with a finger and thereby irritate the rectum.
With time and constant scratching a persistent itch of the anus can lead to a raw and peeling anal sphincter, affecting both the mucus membrane and surrounding skin on the bottom.
Causes of an Itchy Anus
Most cases of an itchy anus is idiopathic, meaning that there is no known or clearly identifiable cause. Another common cause is related to poor hygiene where improper wiping after passing stool (defecation) or lack of bathing, may result in fecal particles causing irritation to the area. However excessive cleansing of the area, using certain soaps or cheaper and more abrasive toilet paper may also irritate the area and cause a mild contact dermatitis.
Other less common causes of an itchy anus
- Infections of the anus and rectum – fungal infections usually caused by an yeast, bacterial infections and viral infections that cause diarrhea may also trigger itching of the anus due to the repeated defecation (passing of stool). Human intestinal parasites, or intestinal ‘worms’ may also contribute to an itchy anus, particularly pinworms.
- Hemorrhoids or piles
- Drugs and chemical compounds including antibiotics, certain local anesthetics, ointments used for anal leakage and piles, soaps and sanitary towels (pads).
- Skin diseases like seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. A fungal infection of the skin of the bum may also spread to the anus.
- Certain foods and drinks may also trigger anal itching, particularly foods that causes irritation of the mucus membranes of the gut, like chilli, spices and hot peppers. Other foods and drinks that may cause a food allergy can also lead to an itchy anus, like dairy, nuts, caffeine.
- Some gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome can lead to an itchy anus, usually due to very frequent stools.
- Cellulite, boils and pimples on the bum usually do not affect the anus but can cause itching near the anus. Scratching may infect the surrounding tissue and spread to the anus.