Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



In most cases, anal itch can be treated by:

  • Thoroughly but gently drying the anal area after every bowel movement, using unscented toilet paper, a clean cloth towel or a hair dryer if necessary.

  • Dusting the anal area with nonmedicated talcum powder between bowel movements, or laying a clean square of cotton gauze against the anus to absorb any excess moisture.

  • Resisting the urge to scratch, no matter how itchy the area becomes. The itch will pass, or at least decrease in intensity, over a short time, but the more you scratch, the longer it will take for the itching to go away.

  • Applying topical remedies such as zinc oxide or hydrocortisone ointment (1 percent) on a regular schedule, or as needed, to help you avoid scratching.

  • Wearing soft cotton gloves while in bed if you scratch at night or in your sleep.

Page 6 of 9     Next Page:  Anal Itch (Pruritus Ani) When to Call A Doctor
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

You can find more great health information on the Harvard Health Publications website.