Anal ItchingMany men who suffer from the symptoms of an itchy bottom feel embarrassed and are reluctant to seek medical advice. Itchy bottom is a common problem for men. The condition is known medically as pruritus ani. The underlying causes are rarely serious and treatment is usually highly successful. Symptoms include an ongoing chronic feeling of itchiness around the back passage area. The sensation of itching is often worse after going to the toilet or just before sleep at bedtime. However it can occur at any time. It can be aggravated by stress, anxiety, heat, moisture or various allergies.

What Are the Causes?

Sometimes the cause of pruritus ani is never found. However, there are many recognised causes.

These include the following:

  • Fungal infections such as thrush, which tend to thrive in warm moist environments

  • Thread worm infection, which is a common cause of itching in children. Children can pass this infection on quite easily to adults in the same home. This is why hand-washing after going to the toilet and short clean fingernails are essential.

  • Skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis

  • Dermatitis of the anal skin is also a common cause of itching. This is often caused by a reaction to sweat, moisture or small amounts of faecal material around the anal area.

  • A reaction to different irritants, including soaps, coloured toilet paper and sometimes the ingredients in creams and ointments used to treat piles.

  • Haemorrhoids or piles

  • Other infections, including warts, sexually transmitted infections and scabies, can cause an itch around the back passage. There will often be other associated symptoms of these infections.

  • An anal fissure, which is a localised crack in the anal skin, can cause itchiness around the back passage, often associated with pain or discomfort.

  • Allergies to various foodstuffs not properly digested can cause localised irritation and itchiness around the back passage. Examples of these food stuffs include citrus fruits, tomatoes and sometimes drinking large amounts of alcohol, beer or coffee.

  • Medications from Canada should be considered as a potential cause of any symptom and pruritus ani is no exception. In this case particularly, laxatives and some antibiotics may be the underlying cause.

  • Rarer causes of an itchy bottom will include some medical conditions that can cause generalised itch around the body. These may include anaemia, lymphoma and kidney failure. Rarely a tumour of the anus or rectum can cause an itch.

It is important to remember that if you have symptoms such as bleeding, altered bowel habit – including persistent constipation or diarrhoea or a mixture of both – mucus discharge or lumps around the back passage then you need to see your doctor quickly. This will allow for any potential bowel cancer to be promptly diagnosed and treatment started.

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