Itching Anogenital - Northwoods Surgical

Brian F. Hinnebusch, MD
General, Colorectal and
Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery
825 Washington Street, Suite 310
Norwood, MA 02062
P (781) 551 - 5848
F (781) 255 - 9844
Instructions for managing the itching anogenital area
1. The basic aim of treatment is to keep the skin of the anal area clean, dry and to
avoid injury to the skin from excessive wiping or abrasion.
2. Wear gloves during the night to prevent yourself from scratching.
3. When showering or bathing, avoid the use of perfumed soap. Especially avoid
rubbing the bar on the anal area or rubbing the itching area with a washcloth.
Soap is highly alkaline and the residues collect in the folds of the skin causing
irritation and alter the normal acidity of the skin. Avoiding soap completely is
4. After bowel movements, wash the anal area with warm water or use wet
cotton/tissues. Do not leave a wet dressing against the anal skin for a prolonged
period of time. Pat the area dry with non-scented, non-dyed toilet paper and avoid
rubbing with the tissue.
5. If your itching is worse after bowel movements or if there is an “after drainage”,
irrigate the area with warm water using a 3-4 ounce bulb syringe (or peri bottle).
6. During the day, you may wear a thin cotton strip. The strip should be thin enough
that you are unaware of its presence; do not use a cotton ball. The cotton strip
may be dusted with cornstarch; do not use talc or baby powder. It is important
that the strip be applied directly to the anus to wick away excess moisture. A
sanitary napkin is not a substitute. Wear cotton underwear
7. Take hot tub/sitz baths in plain water mornings and/or evenings.
8. Items in your diet that produce loose/watery stools, constipation or irritation
should be avoided. Examples are tomatoes (including ketchup), citrus fruits and
juices, coffee and tea (including decaf), alcoholic beverages, colas, milk,
chocolate, and spicy foods (especially hot peppers).
9. You may adjust this management program according to the control of your
10. Recurrences are common and to be expected. Call the office if your symptoms
worsen or cannot be controlled.