Pruritus Ani Treatment in San Jose, CA
Pruritus ani is when the skin at the exit of the rectum (anus) becomes irritated, causing an uncomfortable amount of itchiness. The intensity of the itchiness increases with added moisture, pressure, and/or rubbing caused by motion or clothing. At its worst, pruritus ani causes discomfort at an intolerable level that is often accompanied by burning and/or soreness. It’s estimated that up to 5% of the population of the United States experiences this type of discomfort on a daily basis.
Causes of Pruritus Ani
The causes of anal irritation can stem from several factors:
- Anal perspiration
- Intestinal parasites
- Frequent liquid stools
- Residual stool deposits
- Incontinence or flatulence leading to an escape of small amounts of fecal matter
- Yeast infection aka candidiasis.
Psoriasis also can be present in the anal area and cause irritation. Other problems that can contribute to anal itching include pinworms, hemorrhoids, tears of the anal skin near the mucocutaneous junction (fissures), and skin tags (abnormal local growth of anal skin). Aside from diseases relative to the condition, a common view suggests that the initial cause of the itch may have passed, and that the illness is in fact prolonged by what is known as an itch-scratch-itch cycle. It states that scratching the itch encourages the release of inflammatory chemicals, which worsen redness, intensifies itchiness and increases the area covered by dry skin, thereby causing a snowball effect.
Psychological factors may also contribute to awareness of itching.
Pruritus Ani Treatments
Treatment of pruritus ani typically begins with measures to reduce irritation and trauma to the anal area. Fiber supplements can help prevent constipation and decrease moisture around the anus. Topical steroids or injected methylene blue may be tried as a last resort.
In some cases, especially where the snowball effect is a factor, pruritus ani can be effectively treated by simply keeping the area clean with water and patting it dry whenever the urge to itch is felt. If the urge to scratch the area is still present, your doctor may recommend applying Calmoseptine or a steroid cream. Continue to clean and dry the infected anal area after each bowel movement and at night until itchiness symptoms subside.
Another treatment option that has been met with success in small-scale trials is the application of a very mild topical capsaicin cream. This strength cream is not typically commercially available and therefore must be diluted by a pharmacist or end-user. If the itchiness is secondary to another condition such as infection or psoriasis, these are typically treated.
In the instance of long-lasting symptoms, especially in patients 50 years of age or over, a colonoscopy may be prescribed since pruritus ani is one of the first symptoms of colonic polyps and tumors.
Schedule a Pruritus Ani Consultation
Contact proctologist Aaron B. Parrish, MD today if you have been experiencing pruritus ani symptoms in the San Jose area long-term. Dr. Parrish is board-certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery and has extensive experience diagnosing and treating pruritus ani. Give us a call at (408) 358-2868 today to get started. Dr. Parrish sees patients from Los Gatos, San Jose, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, Salinas, Hollister, Monterey, and the surrounding area.