I have a great job. Every day is different. One of the conditions I see commonly is perianal itching. This affects 1 to 5% of the population and is the second most common anorectal condition (after hemorrhoids—a topic for another time).
Studies show that most patients self-treat for one year before presenting to a physician. There are many underlying problems that can lead to anal itching:
- dietary irritants (beer, caffeine, citrus, milk, tomatoes, chili peppers),
- stool on the anal skin (poor hygiene, rectal skin tags),
- infections (pinworms, STDs, yeast),
- skin cancer, or
- topical irritants (detergent, soaps, suppositories, tight clothing, toilet paper dyes or perfumes).
Once the itch-scratch cycle starts it is a difficult cycle to stop …as the scratching causes the anus to be inflamed which causes an irresistible urge to scratch more.
My job is to break that itch-scratch cycle, to diagnose the underlying condition, and to treat. If after sufficient investigation and treatment, the area still itches a biopsy of the tissue is needed to rule out malignancy.
Hope this helps.