Itching and soreness (particularly worse at night) is a very common symptom. It can be caused by a variety of conditions:
- skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, particularly if other members of the family are suffering as well,
- a condition called ‘pruritus ani’ which translates as ‘itchy bottom’, particularly affecting men.
Pruritus ani can be caused by conditions in the anal canal and rectum such as hemorrhoids or colitis (inflammation) which lead to the loss of mucus through the anal canal. This is intensely irritating to the anus, causing the itching and soreness. Treatment for pruritus ani first and foremost relies on treating any underlying condition. If no underlying condition is found it is treated very much like an adult nappy rash. Avoidance perfumed soaps, powders, and use over-the-counter hemorrhoid preparations to settle the skin. Regular use of traditional nappy rash preparations such as Sudacrem, wet wipes, and occasional hydrocortisone creams will usually control the symptoms.
Unfortunately, the condition is often relapsing and therefore lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine, wearing cotton underclothes and keeping cool and well ventilated at night, in addition to persisting with the nappy rash preparations often provides more lasting relief. Whilst the condition of pruritus ani does not cause any lasting harm, if simple measures fail to improve the condition, referral through your GP will assist in diagnosis and correct treatment of any underlying cause.