Pruritus ani is an intense anal itching, which often makes the desire to scratch irresistible. It is estimated to affect approximately 5 % of the population. It is often caused by a combination of irritants including faecal soiling, moisture, some clothing materials and some dietary factors. Even though majority of the cases are due to benign causes a few cases may be due to some serious skin or systemic conditions that may need assessment by your doctor.
Aim to eliminate all irritants by normalisation of bowel motions, good perianal hygiene and avoiding irritating soaps and cleansers including bleached toilet paper. Soap-free cleansers should be used instead when having a shower/bath. Most importantly scratching should be avoided.
See your doctor if the above measures fail to resolve the itch. It is also advisable to see your doctor sooner if the anal itch is associated with other systemic symptoms like bowel upset, weight loss and an already existing skin condition or if there is blood when you open your bowels.