Burning Anus: Causes, Effective Treatments and When to See a Doctor

Burning Anus: Causes, Effective Treatments and When to See a Doctor
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Burning around the anus or intense itching in your anal region can be a very embarrassing and irritating condition. The burning sensation in the anus can sometimes occur after a bowel movement, eating spicy foods, or because of hemorrhoids. However, a number of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can also cause a severe urge to scratch your anus that can lead to anal burning. Also, the fact that the rectum is prone to bacterial infections can aggravate the feeling of burning even more.

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Depending on the cause of the burning feeling around your anus, the intense itch may come and go or you may have persistent itching. If your anus burns after a bowel movement and you notice a small amount of bleeding, this could be caused by an anal fissure. If the burning sensation in your anal area doesn’t go away and you have other symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, or anal leakage, you should visit your doctor. You should also visit your doctor if you have any kind of bleeding from your bottom.

This article examines the various causes of burning anus and what you can do about the discomfort it causes. You will also find out how to get natural relief from the anal burning and itching and address the underlying causes.

Symptoms of Anal Burning

Anal burning usually starts out as a condition called pruritus ani or “itchy bottom syndrome.” In most cases, the burning sensation is a result of scratching an intense anal itch. Dr. Jay Marks on MedicineNet says that anal itching is often described as burning and soreness after passing stools. There may also be small amounts of bleeding after a bowel movement.1

If the anal burning has been caused by a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, or a yeast infection, you may have soreness, intense itching around the anal opening, and inflammation. Dr. Marks says that scratching the anus can increase the intensity of burning and may also cause secondary bacterial infections.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School say that the itchy burning sensation is usually a sign of irritation and not a disease of the anus.2

Causes of Burning Anus

The best way to get rid of a burning feeling in your anus and get relief from intense anal itching is to find out what causes it. At the end of the article, you will find some effective home remedies to soothe the anal burning.

Poor hygiene

Very often, a common culprit for a burning sensation around the anus is poor hygiene. Bacteria from feces that are left on the skin can cause irritation and lead to itching and burning.

The Primary Care Dermatology Society (PCDS) says that anal burning or itching can be caused if stool and sweat are left on the skin around the anus. This will cause the anal area to itch and may result in an infection around the anal skin.3

However, doctors from PCDS also say that too much cleansing can also cause pruritus ani (itching of the skin arout the anus) with a burning sensation. This is because strong soaps, excessive scrubbing, and sanitary wipes can leave the anal skin dry and irritated and may cause anal eczema.3

Eating spicy food

If your anus burns after a bowel movement, it could be because of eating spicy or acidic foods the previous day. The anus can become especially itchy if a small amount of stool is left on the anal skin after wiping.

Researchers in Italy reported that consuming chili pepper and spicy foods can increase symptoms of severe itching and anal burning that are associated with hemorrhoids or anal fissures.4 Also, doctors from the National Health Service says that foods like spicy foods, acidic foods, dairy, and coffee can all aggravate itchy anal conditions.5

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are another reason for rectal burning after a bowel movement or at other times. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in your anus that become inflamed, itchy, and, at times, very painful. Sometimes, the hemorrhoids can cause some bleeding after a bowel movement.

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According to the Primary Care Dermatology Society, large external hemorrhoids can make passing stools difficult. Also, large internal hemorrhoids can cause anal leakage, which is another cause of a burning anus after passing stool.3

If hemorrhoids are causing anal burning, then you can find some great home remedies in my article about the best natural treatments for hemorrhoids. There you can find how witch hazel can help to quickly soothe itching and anal burning and shrink the size of the swollen veins around your anus.

Anal fissure

Having an anal fissure can cause a burning sensation in the anus after passing stool. An anal fissure is an open sore or tear in the lining of the large intestine. It can be caused by constipation, persistent diarrhea, or other digestive conditions.

Doctors from the National Health Service (NHS) say that a deep burning anal sensation is usually felt after passing stools. The anal burning can last for some hours. The burning feeling can be accompanied by sharp pains and possible bleeding.6

The NHS says that eating plenty of fiber in your diet is a way to reduce your risk of having a tear in your anal canal. It is also important to keep yourself well hydrated and be physically active.

Sweating

A very common cause of itching in the anal area that can cause burning and anal discomfort is sweating. The warm, moist conditions can cause irritation, itching, burning, and a rash in your intergluteal cleft (the area between your buttocks).

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders reports that excessive sweating around the anus can cause a strong urge to scratch the anus and cause skin damage.7

To prevent a burning sensation in your anus caused by sweating, it’s important to keep the area as dry as possible. Therefore, you should avoid tight-fitting underwear and clothing and also avoid irritating hygiene products that could irritate your skin even more.

Yeast infection

The warm, damp conditions around your anus are also the perfect environment for a yeast infection to develop. A yeast or fungal infection can quickly develop between your buttocks and cause itching and anal burning. Candida infections commonly cause irritation between folds of skin and itching under the breasts.

According to Dr. Denise Aaron from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, a Candida yeast infection can affect the area around the anus. This can cause the anus to become raw and itchy with possible swelling.8

Very often the overuse of antibiotics, hot weather, or a weakened immune system can cause Candida infections on your skin. At the end of this article, you can find out how to use coconut oil and tea tree oil to get rid of anal burning caused by a yeast infection.

Eczema

Anal eczema can cause a feeling of burning around the anus after a bowel movement. Anal eczema can be caused by a number of conditions including dry skin, allergies, or infections. This inflammatory skin condition causes itching, burning, cracked skin, and sometimes infections.

The International Journal of Clinical Practice reported that anal eczema is an embarrassing condition that can affect your quality of life. The journal stated that anal eczema frequently causes worse itching than general eczema and can lead to permanent skin irritation. The researchers recommended using moisturizing anti-inflammatory emollients to control the itch and relieve anal burning.9

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Many people have found that they can control eczema flare ups with diet or by treating the affected red patch of itchy skin with natural oils.

Psoriasis

Another irritating skin condition that can cause frequent anal burning is psoriasis. This skin condition causes flaky patches of red skin and can appear anywhere on the body. The blotchy skin can be itchy and sore and excessive itching can cause a burning sensation.

According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, anal psoriasis can cause burning sensations after bowel movements. Some of the associated symptoms of anal psoriasis are pain while passing stools, bleeding from the anus, and excessive itching.10

Doctors from the National Psoriasis Foundation say that it can be difficult to diagnose anal psoriasis because its symptoms are similar to those of hemorrhoids, yeast infection, or pinworms. For ways to treat psoriasis, please read my article on how to treat psoriasis at home naturally.

Threadworms or pinworms

Anal itching and burning, especially at night, could be caused by threadworms or pinworms. These parasites infect the intestines and are spread by ingesting pinworm eggs from infected items.

Dr. Charles Patrick Davis on MedicineNet says that the most common symptom of a pinworm infection is itching and discomfort around the rectum. The itching is usually worse at night and can also cause a skin irritation or rash in the anal region. Intense anal scratching can sometimes cause secondary infections and aggravate the burning sensation.11

There are some effective home remedies to get rid of intestinal parasites. For example, some of the best foods to combat an internal parasitic infection that causes anal burning are garlic, onions, papaya seeds, and almonds.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease can cause inflammation of the intestines that causes burning, itching, and bleeding from the anus. Inflammatory bowel disease can affect any part of the intestinal lining and is a complicated digestive condition to manage.

Dr. David Stein on Medscape says that anusitis (inflammation of the anal canal) is a common symptom of IBD. This can cause intermittent anal burning and itching or it can become a chronic condition with a frequent urge to scratch the anus.12

As well as anus burning, IBD can cause stomach spasms and give you a pain under your ribs after eating.

Fecal incontinence (anal leakage)

If any fecal matter leaks from your anus, you could end up with a burning sensation in your anal region. Some of the reasons for anal leakage are constipation, diarrhea, nerve damage in the rectum, or muscle damage in the anus.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that one complication of chronic anal leakage is a burning sensation around the anus. This happens because the chemicals in the stool irritate the anal skin resulting in mild to severe itching that can lead to an uncomfortable burning sensation between your buttocks.13

Burning Anus – The Best Home Remedies

Rather than scratch your anal region to get rid of the discomfort, you should try using some natural home remedies to soothe the burning and discomfort. Here are some remedies you can try at home to relieve anal burning.

Sitz bath

If your constant and irritating anal burning is caused by an anal fissure or hemorrhoids, you can take a “sitz” bath to relieve the discomfort. Sitting in a bathtub with warm water can help to speed up the healing process and improve blood circulation to your anal region.

How to use:

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To get relief from frequent anal burning and itching using the sitz bath method, Dr. Nivin Todd on WebMD recommends doing the following:14

  1. Fill a bathtub with about 2 to 3 inches of warm water.
  2. Sit in the tub for 10-15 minutes, making sure that your anus is covered with the water.
  3. Gently pat the area dry to remove as much moisture as possible.
  4. Repeat the process up to 3 times a day to help relieve burning from your anus and buttocks.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great natural ingredient to soothe itching from your body, including the area between your buttocks. Oatmeal contains natural cleansing ingredients that have anti-inflammatory properties to relieve itching and burning sensation caused by anal eczema, psoriasis, or yeast infections.

A study into the itch-relieving properties of oatmeal found that it is an effective natural ingredient for inflammatory skin conditions. For example, the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology reported that bathing in oatmeal water helps to moisturize the skin and reduce itching and the urge to scratch.15

How to use:

To help soothe an itchy and burning anus that is inflamed, you should draw a bath and add some oatmeal. Here is the method to relieve anal burning with oatmeal:

  1. Fill a bathtub with warm to hot water and add 2 cups of ground oatmeal.
  2. Swish the oats around the bath water to help extract the medicinal properties.
  3. Soak in the bath for 20 minutes.
  4. During this time, you can take handfuls of oatmeal and press it to your anus to soothe the burning sensation and speed up healing.
  5. After soaking in the bath, gently pat the area dry to remove as much moisture as possible.
  6. Repeat the process 2-3 times a week until the discomfort and anal burning has gone.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera gel is an amazing natural ingredient to give relief from many itchy skin conditions, including an itchy burning anus. Aloe vera contains many nutrients that help to nourish the skin. In fact, aloe vera is one of the classic natural remedies to remove heat and burning from sunburned skin.

To help relieve the symptoms of pruritus ani, doctors from the Royal College of Surgeons of England recommend a topical treatment that is antifungal and anti-itch. For this, many doctors recommend a hydrocortisone cream.16 However, research into the healing power of aloe vera has found that it is just as effective as hydrocortisone ointments.

For example, the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology reported that aloe vera gel is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory product. Clinical studies showed that its anti-inflammatory potential is superior to hydrocortisone gel.17

How to use:

It is very simple and easy to use aloe vera to take the heat and irritation out of anal discomfort. This is what you should do:

  1. Wash and dry the burning skin area around your anus.
  2. Squeeze the pulp from an aloe vera leaf or use aloe vera gel.
  3. Gently massage the aloe vera gel to your itchy anus and the surrounding area.
  4. Repeat 2-3 times a day for instant relief from a burning anus sensation.

Apple cider vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar helps to remove itching and discomfort from an inflamed anus. Apple cider vinegar is effective for itching because of the acetic acid content it contains. The acidic content helps to reduce pH levels which are usually elevated in itchy, irritated skin.

The Thi-Qar Medical Journal reported that apple cider vinegar helps to kill off infections caused by yeast infections like Candida albicans. The study showed that the application of apple cider vinegar helped to ease intense itching and other symptoms of skin infections. The researchers concluded that apple cider vinegar has significant antifungal activity.18

How to use:

If you experience anal burning from a yeast infection, anal eczema, or psoriasis, you can use diluted raw apple cider vinegar to eliminate the infection and stop itching quickly. This is what you should do:

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  1. Dilute raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar with water in equal proportions (1:1).
  2. Soak a cotton ball in the apple cider vinegar solution and squeeze out the excess liquid.
  3. Hold the apple cider vinegar cotton ball to your anus for 5-10 minutes to relieve the itch and kill off any infection.
  4. Repeat 2-3 times a day until you no longer have anal discomfort with burning and itching.

After applying the apple cider vinegar, you can use some virgin coconut oil to help moisturize the area. In fact, coconut oil can also be used as an antifungal ointment with tea tree oil.

Virgin coconut oil and tea tree oil

One of the benefits of using coconut oil with tea tree oil is that they both contain antifungal properties and can help to give you relief from anal itching. Coconut oil contains fatty acids which are great to moisturize dry skin that is a symptom of eczema, psoriasis, and other causes of itchy skin. To help get rid of the urge to scratch an itchy anus that stings, you can use natural virgin coconut oil.

The Journal of Medicinal Food reported on the antimicrobial properties of coconut oil for fungal infections. Researchers found that compounds of coconut oil can kill off yeast and fungal infections.19

You can boost the antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-itch properties of coconut oil by adding tea tree oil. For example, the journal Skin Pharmacology reported that tea tree oil was effective in destroying many strains of Candida infections. In fact, tea tree oil was just as effective as some popular antifungal treatments in treating fungal skin infections.20

How to use:

To make your own coconut oil and tea tree ointment to get rid of anus burning and stop an itch between your buttocks, you can do this:

  1. Mix 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with 1 tablespoon coconut oil.
  2. Apply the natural remedy to the itchy anal area and massage well to soothe the burning feeling.
  3. Repeat 2-3 times a day until the itchiness and burning from your anus has gone completely.

How to Prevent Anal Burning

Apart from using natural home remedies for rectal burning, you can easily help prevent a burning sensation developing around your anus. Here are some of the best methods that doctors recommend for reducing and preventing anal itching.

Keep your anus clean and dry

If you have anal eczema, psoriasis, or a fungal infection that causes intense burning in your anus, you should always keep the irritated area as dry as possible.

Researchers found that rinsing the anal region with clean water after a bowel movement then thoroughly drying the affected area helped to reduce the itching and burning caused by anal eczema.9 Doctors also recommend drying your genital area with a hair dryer on cool or warm settings.14

Therefore, good hygiene is essential if you want to get rid of anal burning for good.

If it’s difficult to keep your anal region clean because of anal leakage, the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland recommends cleaning the area with damp cotton wool after a bowel movement. You could also plug the anus with some dry cotton wool to prevent feces leaking out and irritating the sensitive anal skin.21

Increase fiber intake

If you have a burning anus after a bowel movement caused by an anal fissure or hemorrhoids, you should increase your fiber intake and drink plenty of water as well. Eating more fiber and increasing your fluid intake will make it easier to pass stools and will reduce the risk of tearing the colon or aggravating hemorrhoids.

Researchers from Harvard Medical say that fiber is one of the most important remedies for hemorrhoids. If necessary, you may need to take a fiber supplement to help keep your bowels in good working order.22

Avoid irritants

If you suffer from occasional anal burning, you should avoid irritants which could trigger flare ups of itching and anal discomfort.

The website Drugs.com recommends avoiding perfumed soaps and deodorants on your anal area. You should also avoid consuming any food or drink that irritate your bowels and may cause inflammation.23

When to See a Doctor for Anal Burning

Most cases of anal burning go away or are relieved by using the home remedies mentioned in this article. However, sometimes anal burning and severe itching around the anus is a symptom of a more serious condition.

According to Drugs.com, you should visit your doctor for a burning sensation in your anus if you also have the following:

  • You notice blood in your stool
  • You suffer from anal leakage and it is affecting your quality of life
  • Home remedies don’t improve the rash, itching, or swelling
  • You notice smelly discharge and mucus along with your stool

Read these related articles:

Article Sources

  1. MedicineNet. Anal itching.
  2. HealthHarvard. Anal itch.
  3. PCDS. Pruritus ani.
  4. Ann Ital Chir. 2008 Sep-Oct;79(5):347-51.
  5. NHS. Itchy bottom.
  6. NHS. Anal fissure.
  7. IFFGD. Anal discomfort and how to deal with it.
  8. MSDManuals. Candidiasis.
  9. Int J Clin Pract. 2014 Nov; 68(11): 1388–1399.
  10. Psoriasis. Genital psoriasis.
  11. MedicineNet. Pinworms.
  12. Medscape. Proctitis and anusitis.
  13. MayoClinic. Fecal incontinence.
  14. WebMD. Sitz bath.
  15. J Drugs Dermatol. 2012 July; 11(7):804-807.
  16. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2008 Sep; 90(6): 457–463.
  17. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2008;21(2):106-10.
  18. TQMJ. 2001;5(1):126-133.
  19. J Med Food. 2009 Dec;10(2):384-387.
  20. Skin Pharmacol. 1996;9(6):388-94.
  21. ACPGBI. Itchy bottom.
  22. HealthHarvard. 6 self-help tips for hemorrhoid flare ups.
  23. Drugs. Anal itching.
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