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Pruritis Ani

Pruritis Ani

What is Pruritis Ani?

Itching around the anal area with an urge to scratch is called pruritis ani or anal itching. Scratching with fingernails can cause infection or damage to the skin. Pruritis ani is usually not associated with any serious medical condition and is easy to manage when addressed early.

What Causes Pruritis Ani?

Pruritis ani may result due to one or more of the following causes:

  • Excessive drying of the anal area due to the use of harsh soaps or tissue paper
  • Allergies to creams, lotions, or ointments applied to the anal region
  • Use of unclean tissue paper or cloth, or wearing tight-fitting clothes
  • Constipation, diarrhoea, or faecal incontinence
  • Excess consumption of carbonated drinks, spicy foods, caffeinated drinks, or acidic foods
  • Certain dermatological conditions or bacterial/fungal infection
  • Inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal, or anal diseases
  • Diabetes, thyroid disorders, renal disorders, haemorrhoids, or liver disorders
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Presence of pinworms in children


The symptoms may be mild or severe, and can include:

  • Mild or severe anal itching
  • Anal bleeding
  • Stool leaking
  • Redness and soreness
  • Burning sensation near the anal region


Discuss with your doctor any unusual symptoms. Your doctor will perform a digital (with the finger) examination of your rectum and anus to check for infection or inflammation. A specimen of skin from around the anus may be taken to test for bacterial or fungal infection. Diagnosis of pinworms in children can be made using surgical tape.


Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Common treatment options include:

  • Ointments to be applied directly
  • Antibiotics and antifungal medications
  • Medications to treat the presence of pinworms
  • Anti-allergy medications

Self-care Tips

The following self-care tips are part of your treatment. They include:

  • Avoiding scratching the itchy area
  • Keeping the perianal area (the area around the anus) dry and clean
  • Wearing comfortable clothing
  • Using clean and dry toilet paper
  • Avoiding harsh soaps
  • Avoiding creams, lotions, or talc in the anal area
  • Avoiding spicy food
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Managing constipation by eating a high-fibre diet
  • Managing diarrhoea
  • Avoiding anxiety and stress
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle