The anal skin is exposed to irritating digestive products which may result in a rash (irritant dermatitis). The rash is made worse by:
Frequent stools (diarrhoea)
Straining at stool (constipation)
Vigorous use of toilet tissue
Scrubbing with soap and water
Acidic or spicy foods.
Treatment of an itchy anus
Specific treatment may be prescribed for infection, infestation with pinworm, or certain skin conditions. General measures are described below.
Irritation of the anal skin needs to be reduced. It is impossible to eliminate it altogether because the stool continues to be in contact with the inflamed skin.
Cleanse carefully, thoroughly and gently after bowel movements. If there is faecal leakage, cleanse again after an interval of half an hour.
Wash the anus using a electronic bidet-toilet, standard bidet, shower or a bucket of lukewarm water. Moistened tissues or soft toilet paper are next best. Use aqueous cream, mineral oil or other soap-free cleanser. Avoid soap and rough toilet paper.
Apply medicated ointment as directed.
Ask your doctor to explain your treatment. Various different soothing preparations are suitable, including mild topical steroids and zinc paste. Strong steroid creams should not be applied for more than a few days unless under strict medical supervision.
Petroleum jelly can be applied frequently to soothe and to act as a barrier preparation and skin protectant.