by Lawrence Wilson, MD
© June 2011, The Center For Development
Anal itching is a common and annoying symptom. Possible causes of it are:
1. Imbalance in the flora of the colon. This may be due to dietary imbalances such as sugars in the diet, use of medical drugs such as antibiotics, impaired digestion or other reasons.
The solution for this cause is to improve the diet, removing all sugars and most grains, especially wheat, from the diet. Then buy a container of Bio-K Original in the health food store and take about ½ teaspoon 10 minutes before each meal, and finish the entire container. This will help re-establish the correct flora in the large intestine. Othe probiotic supplements may also work.
You may also try just eating live culture yogurt, but this may not work as well. Some people also try an enema with about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to change the pH of the colon.
Note that on a nutritional balancing program, at times the body will eliminate a toxin from the liver or elsewhere that will kill off the normal flora. The toxin is often an old antibiotic residue. This can temporarily cause a flora imbalance in the colon that could cause anal itching or other discomfort. Follow the instructions above and usually the condition will resolve itself in a few days.
2. A fungal infection, sometimes called jock itch or tinea. This is usually due to a copper imbalance in the body, or zinc deficiency. It will go away on a nutritional balancing program on its own, in general, without treatment. If the itching is very annoying, you can apply over-the-counter remedies for jock itch such as powders or cream like Desenex or Tinactin. Tea tree oil preparations or a supplement called Wo Oil also work, at times, for the itching.
3. A hemorrhoid. Hemorrhoids are expanded veins that circle the anus and can protrude to the outside, at times. Occasionally one will just occur at random, especially if one strains while having a bowel movement. They can itch, and sometimes this is their only symptom.
Most small hemorrhoids go away on their own with a nutritional balancing program. Very large, protruding and painful hemorrhoids may require laser surgery or galvanic current treatment by a doctor to resolve them. For the itching, an over-the-counter remedy called Preparation-H is quite a natural remedy that can help shrink the hemorrhoid, reduce itching, and appears to be non-toxic.
4. Irritation. This area of the body can easily become irritated by eating hot, spicy or otherwise irritating foods, or by diarrhea, for example. This usually goes away on its own when the cause of the irritation is removed.
5. Diabetes, psoriasis, anal fistulas or fissures. Diabetes, especially if untreated, can cause sugars to be released onto the skin. This can feed various fungal or other infectious organisms and cause itching. Psoriasis is an itchy skin condition that may be caused by fungus. Fissures are little tears in the anal mucosa. Fistulas are abnormal openings between the anus and sometimes the vagina or other parts of the lower body tissues in the area. These could also possibly cause itching.
Diabetes and psoriasis respond easily, in most cases, to a nutritional balancing program. Anal fissures and fistulas may be a little more difficult to handle in some cases. For more on how to handle them, read Fissures and Fistulas on this website.
6. Other. Rarely, other causes are responsible for anal itching. A times, for example, a bacterial, viral, parasitic or other infection in the colon will cause itching. In some children, pinworms can cause anal itching and irritation. Most of these conditions will resolve themselves without treatment on a nutritional balancing program with a correct diet and the proper supplementation.
In the rare cases that they do not, a stool examination may be needed, or some other medical test, to determine the cause of the problem and its correction.