Anal Itching (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is anal itching?
- What causes anal itching?
- How is anal itching treated?
- Local anesthetics
- What if anal itching persists?
- Take the Hemorrhoids Quiz
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Slideshow Pictures
- Psoriasis Slideshow Pictures
Vasoconstrictors are chemicals that resemble epinephrine, a naturally occurring chemical. Applied to the anus, vasoconstrictors make the blood vessels become smaller, which may reduce swelling. They also may reduce pain and itching due to their mild anesthetic effect.
Vasoconstrictors applied to the perianal area - unlike vasoconstrictors that are taken orally or by injection - have a low likelihood of causing serious side effects, such as high blood pressure, nervousness, tremor, sleeplessness, and aggravation of diabetes or hyperthyroidism.
Examples of vasoconstrictors include:
- ephedrine sulfate 0.1% to 1.25%
- epinephrine 0.005% to 0.01%
- phenylephrine 0.25% (Medicone Suppository, Preparation H, Rectocaine)
Learn more about: ephedrine
Protectants prevent irritation of the perianal area by forming a physical barrier on the skin that prevents contact of the irritated skin with aggravating liquid or stool from the rectum. This barrier reduces irritation, itching, pain, and burning. There are many products that are themselves protectants or that contain a protectant in addition to other medications.
Examples of protectants include:
- aluminum hydroxide gel
- cocoa butter
- mineral oil (Balneol)
- white petrolatum
- zinc oxide (Desitin) or calamine (which contains zinc oxide) in concentrations of up to 25%
- cod liver oil or shark liver oil if the amount of vitamin A is 10,000 USP units/day.
Get the latest treatment options.