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Understanding the Link Between Diabetes and Anal Itching

Itchy skin is never pleasant, but it’s especially uncomfortable when it affects your bum. Anal itchiness, also called pruritus ani, is intense and hard to ignore. 

Though the uncomfortable sensation has many causes and may affect anyone, it’s very common in people with diabetes. 

At Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Town and Country, Missouri, our family medicine physician and anorectal disorder specialist, Dr. Betsy Clemens, is an expert at treating anal itchiness.

Here, she wants to explain the link between diabetes and the annoying, itchy skin condition.

About diabetes

Diabetes is a complex metabolic condition that affects the body’s ability to use glucose for energy. People with diabetes have higher than normal blood glucose levels because of problems involving the insulin hormone that transports glucose into the cell. 

Over time, too much glucose in the blood damages the blood vessels, affecting the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues and organs. People with diabetes are at greater risk of many health problems like neuropathy (nerve damage), kidney disease, and diabetic retinopathy (vision changes).

Your skin is your largest organ and has an extensive system of blood vessels and nerves, making it highly susceptible to damage, leading to diabetic skin diseases like anal itching.

Diabetes and anal itching

What’s the link between diabetes and anal itching? Researchers are still learning about the connection between diabetes and diabetic skin disease but theorize that itching may occur due to changes in skin health.

When blood glucose is high, water flows from the skin to the blood to dilute glucose levels and help remove it from the body. The shift in fluid leaves the skin dry, activating nerve endings that cause intense itching. 

The high-sugar environment may also trigger the overgrowth of the yeast that normally lives in the area. Yeast infections are common in people with diabetes and cause anal itchiness and burning. 

Getting relief from anal itching

Anal itching is very uncomfortable and usually worse at night when you’re trying to sleep. Though not a serious health concern, anal itching affects quality of life and isn’t something you have to live with.

Knowing the connection between your diabetes and anal discomfort can help you take the steps necessary to get relief. This might include changes in medication or diet to improve blood glucose levels. 

You may also benefit from topical medications to ease inflammation and pain or an antifungal ointment to clear up a yeast infection. 

Making a few changes at home may also ease the discomfort, such as not over-wiping after a bowel movement, avoiding harsh soaps and detergents, and wearing cotton underwear that absorbs excess moisture. 

Diabetes comes with many complications, including an itchy bum. Don’t let your anal itchiness keep you up at night. We can design a plan that helps you get relief. 

Call our office at 314-669-2758 today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Clemens.

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