Home treatment for rectal itching depends on the cause of the itching.
Treat causes of anal itching
Try these home treatment measures for the following causes of anal itching:
- Poor hygiene. Clean the area gently with water-moistened cotton balls, a warm washcloth, or premoistened towelettes, such as Tucks or "baby wipes." A mild ointment, such as A+D Ointment or Desitin, can be applied lightly to help soothe the skin and protect it against further irritation.
Scented or colored toilet paper or scented soaps.
- Buy white, unscented toilet paper.
- Do not use scented soaps, which can irritate skin.
- Apply an ointment that contains Reference 1% hydrocortisone. Do not use other steroid creams on this sensitive area of your body, because skin damage can occur. Hydrocortisone cream should not be used for longer than 7 to 10 days without talking with your doctor. Note: Do not use the cream on children younger than age 2 unless your doctor tells you to. Do not use in the rectal or vaginal area in children younger than age 12 unless your doctor tells you to.
- Reactions to topical creams. Apply an ointment that contains Reference 1% hydrocortisone. Do not use other steroid creams on this sensitive area of your body, because skin damage can occur. Hydrocortisone cream should not be used for longer than 7 to 10 days without talking with your doctor. Do not use creams or ointments, such as Benadryl cream, that contain Reference antihistamines Opens New Window.
- Excessive sweating. For anal itching caused by excessive sweating, avoid wearing tight-fitting underwear, and wear cotton, rather than synthetic, undergarments. You may use talcum powder to absorb moisture, but do not use cornstarch. Cornstarch may cause a Reference skin infection Opens New Window. Before applying talcum powder, dry your rectal area with a hair dryer set on the low setting.
To control itching
To control itching, try the following:
- Break the itch-scratch cycle, because further scratching leads to more itching. Take an oral Reference antihistamine at night to help lessen your nighttime itching. Don't give antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.
- Take a warm Reference sitz bath Opens New Window 3 times each day and after each bowel movement. Following the bath, dry the anus carefully. You may wish to use a hair dryer set on low.
- Avoid foods that can increase rectal itching, such as coffee, tea, cola, alcoholic beverages, chocolate, tomatoes, spicy foods, and excessive amounts of vitamin C, for a minimum of 2 weeks. Gradually add the items back to your diet, one item at a time, to help determine the cause of the itching.
- Trim your fingernails short if you find yourself scratching irritated skin at night. Wear cotton gloves or socks on your hands at night to help stop the unconscious scratching that can occur while you sleep.
- Control your Reference stress Opens New Window. Being under stress and feeling anxious or worried can cause some people to experience skin itching. If you find you are scratching your anal area when you are anxious, try to take relaxation breaks throughout the day, especially before bedtime. For more information, see the topic Reference Stress Management.
For rectal bleeding
When you have rectal bleeding, do not take Reference aspirin and other Reference nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Aspirin and other NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, can cause bleeding in the digestive tract, which can increase the amount of Reference blood in your stools Opens New Window. These medicines can also make bleeding hemorrhoids bleed more. If you need to use something for pain, try taking Reference acetaminophen, such as Tylenol.
Rectal bleeding can be caused by constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids.
- Reference Constipation, Age 11 and Younger
- Reference Constipation, Age 12 and Older
- Reference Diarrhea, Age 11 and Younger
- Reference Diarrhea, Age 12 and Older
- Reference Hemorrhoids
Symptoms to watch for during home treatment
Reference Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
- Pain increases or does not improve.
- The blood in your stool increases, or your stools become red, black, or Reference tarry Opens New Window.
- Swelling or a lump in or around your anus develops.
- You develop a fever.
- Symptoms become more severe or more frequent.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 14, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference David Messenger, MD