Pruritus Ani

Pruritis ani, or anal itching, is a very common complaint. It can be caused by infections, hemorrhoids, polyps and many other illnesses. A complete physical examination and other ordered tests will often reveal these illnesses.

Often, if none of these illnesses is found, a component of the diet is responsible. You will be given a diet that will ask you to abstain from several foods and beverages. When the itching ceases, a single food from the list may be added back to the diet every few days. In this way the offending food or beverage may be identified. Dietary intolerances cause anal itching by causing leakage of liquid from the anus. This liquid causes irritation and itching.

A bulk laxative such as Metamucil absorbs excess bowel liquid and can help to control symptoms. Bathing twice or more daily, in warm water without soap, and carefully drying can be soothing. Avoid toilet tissue for cleansing after a bowel movement as bleaches and dyes can cause an allergic reaction, and itching. Cleansing with a washcloth, cotton and witchhazel or Tucks will often be more satisfactory. After cleansing, a wisp of cotton, 1/4 to 1/2 of a cottonball just laid on the anus, can help by absorbing any leaking liquid.
Persistence is often necessary to relieve the symptoms, but most patients find it rewarding.


For the next 2-3 weeks avoid eating or drinking all of the following:

Citrus fruits and Juices
Condiments (Hot Spices, Pepper)
Cheese and Milk
Beer and Wine
Coffee and Tea
Chocolate and Cocoa
Cola Drinks (Coke, Pepsi, RC, etc.)
Seafood and Shellfish

You will be re-examined after 2-3 weeks on this diet and depending on your progress, this diet will be made less restrictive.