What is pruritis ani?
It’s a condition characterised by excessive itching around the anal canal. Even though it is not serious, it is socially embarrassing at the least. The problem is compounded by the fact that patients feel embarrassed to seek help from doctors at the early stage. Treatment gets even more difficult as patients seek at a later stage. By this stage, there might be skin damage.
What causes pruritis ani?
Many factors are responsible for pruritis ani. The most common cause is incomplete cleaning or minor leakage of faeces from the anal canal. This can also be caused by 3rd and 4th degree hemorrhoids (piles) (See the piles blog). This can also be caused by certain skin conditions that might have already affected different parts of the body.
What is the treatment of pruritis ani?
Pruritis ani gets better with identification and treatment of the cause. If no cause is found, then simple measures outlined below will help.
What are the home remedies?
Though it is not a serious condition, it is difficult to treat. This is because it might be difficult to identify the
condition that is causing the pruritis ani. After identifying it, the patient needs both patience and persistence. This might be complicated as we might not be able to remove aggravating factors such as work conditions, weather etc.
Home remedies include the following:
- First and the most important factor is personal hygiene. The area must be kept as clean as possible. After passing each motion, the area should be washed with water and dried with a soft cloth.
- Avoid using paper to clean after passing the motion.
- Some people might feel better using cold water.
- Do not use soap/antiseptics/perfume. Any artificial agent can lead to skin irritation. Some might find an emollient solution helpful.
- If water is not available, then use wet baby wipes / soft toilet paper after opening bowel.
- Avoid scratching at all cost.
- After cleaning with water after passing motion, dry the area with a soft towel. Do not rub the area. You might find a hair dryer with low setting helpful.
- Wear loose cotton underwear and change it twice a day.
- Avoid tight trousers/jeans. Less friction is helpful in most conditions.
- Avoid sitting in one place for a long time, especially on a plastic chair.
- Undergarments should be washed with non-biological washing powder. Make sure there are no traces of detergent on undergarments.
- Avoid constipation at all cost.
If you have tried all measures at home and the symptoms are resolved, then consultation with a proctologist for further assessment and treatment will be helpful.