Keeping the anal area clean is essential. After all, it serves as the exit point for food waste, toxins, and germs. Improper anal cleaning may lead to an unwanted infection.
However, the anal area is susceptible. And, while it’s crucial to keep it clean, aggressive cleaning may cause problems like anal itchiness. Soap is a common cause of this uncomfortable symptom.
At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Town and Country, Missouri, our board-certified family physician Dr. Betsy Clemens is an expert in all conditions and symptoms that affect the anorectal region of the body.
While there are medical conditions that cause anal itchiness, the type of soap you use can create this uncomfortable symptom. Here, we want to discuss anal itchiness, how soap worsens it, and what you can do instead.
About anal itchiness
Anal itchiness, or pruritus ani, occurs when you have irritated anal tissue, causing an intense itchy sensation in the anal area. The itching is usually worse at night and after a bowel movement.
You can develop anal itchiness from many causes, including:
- Eating spicy food
- Caffeinated beverages
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Anal fissure
- Yeast infection
Improper wiping after a bowel movement may also cause anal itchiness. Dry toilet paper may not remove all the stool residue, causing the skin to become irritated and itchy.
Soap and anal pain
If you have concerns about improper wiping after a bowel movement, you may consider washing the anus with soap and water. While this thought is good in theory, soap may cause more problems.
Soap, especially scented soaps, contain chemicals that irritate the delicate anal skin, triggering an allergic reaction. They also wash away the natural oils that protect the anus, causing the skin to dry and crack. In addition, aggressively cleaning the area may further irritate the tissue and exacerbate the itching.
Powders, creams, and ointments may also irritate the delicate anal area.
Good anal hygiene
Over-cleaning the anal area may cause anal itchiness. So, how do you keep the area clean? We recommend gently wiping the anus with toilet paper after a bowel movement and then washing the area with water. You must then pat the area dry with a clean towel or toilet paper to reduce unwanted moisture.
A bidet is the best tool for cleaning up after a bowel movement. If you don’t have a bidet, use a squeeze bottle filled with clean water to wash away any debris or take a shower.
If you continue to have anal itchiness or pain after implementing good anal hygiene practices, you may have an anorectal condition that needs medical attention.
We know all about the sensitivities surrounding conditions that involve the anus and rectum. But you shouldn’t endure your pain. We can help. Call our office at 314-669-2758 today to schedule an appointment with our compassionate expert.