Many times, we have heard people, especially the confident children that feel no embarrassment, say that their anus is itching. Relatable, right?
Sometimes, we might see people step aside from a group to scratch a bit or shake their legs in a certain way to rub the itch and those who have never experienced anything of the sort wonder what is going on.
It is important to know and understand the itchy butt holes, an itchy anus or anal itching is a normal thing and happens more often than we think. The itch is often situated in or around your anus and can be intense.
Anal itching has many possible causes including dirt, pinworm infestation, skin problems, hemorrhoids, and washing the area too much or not enough.
The itching can be associated with redness, burning and soreness. The itching and irritation is often temporary or more persistent, depending on the cause.
So, what causes anal itching?
As mentioned above, there are several causes of anal itching but for this piece, we will focus on dirt and pinworm infestation as these are some of the most common causes.
Pinworm infection is the most common type of intestinal worm infection. Pinworms are thin and white, measuring about about 6 to 13 millimeters in length. While the infected person sleeps, female pinworms lay thousands of eggs in the folds of skin surrounding the anus. Most people infected with pinworms have no symptoms, but some might experience anal itching and restless sleep. (Mayo Clinic)
The pinworm’s tiny eggs are easily spread from child to child especially through the finger nails after someone has scratched. ymptoms of an infestation include itching of the anal or vaginal area, insomnia, irritability, teeth grinding and restlessness and occasional stomach pain or nausea.
When not treated, the parasite can travel from the anal area up the vaginal canal to the uterus, fallopian tubes and around the pelvic organs causing problems such as inflammation of the vagina and the inner lining of the uterus.
The infestation could also result in urinary tract infections, weight loss and infection of part of the abdomen. Treatment involves deworming and washing of pajamas, bedding and underwear. For best results, the entire family should be treated.
Pinworm eggs can cling to surfaces, including toys, faucets, bedding and toilet seats, for two weeks. So besides regular cleaning of surfaces, methods to help prevent the spread of pinworm eggs or to prevent reinfection include:
– Showering in the morning because pinworms lay their eggs at night, washing the anal area in the morning can help reduce the number of pinworm eggs on your body.
– Change your underwear and bedding daily. This helps remove eggs.
– Wash bedsheets, pajamas, underwear, washcloths and towels in hot water to help kill pinworm eggs and iron them before use.
– Avoid scratching the anal area. If you have a child, trim your child’s fingernails so there’s less space for eggs to collect and emphasise that your child avoids biting his or her nails.
– Wash your hands. To reduce your risk of getting or spreading an infection, wash your hands well after using the toilet or changing a diaper and before eating.
When to see a doctor
– Anal itching is severe or persistent
– You have anal bleeding or stool leakage
– The anal area seems to be infected
– You can’t figure out what’s causing the persistent itch