Internal and external hemorrhoids can cause unbearable itching. However, not everyone who develops hemorrhoids will experience this symptom. Additionally, itching is more common in people with the external growths than the internal ones. People who experience this symptom often wonder why it occurs and why scratching doesn't alleviate it.
Symptoms may be short-term or persistent. Some individuals may experience irritation that is so intense that the desire to scratch must be satisfied there and then - this can be embarrassing.
Your GP may also ask about when the itching is at its worst, and how long it lasts. They might also want to know if anyone else in your family has had or is suffering from anal itching. The doctors may be able to come up with a diagnosis just from these questions alone; however, if the cause is not clear you may be referred to a proctologist (doctor specializing in rectal and anal problems) or dermatologist (skin expert).
Diagnosis might be made just from a rectal exam. This will involve a GP checking the anal area for any skin that is inflamed, cracked or bleeding. An internal exam may then be required; the doctor inserts his/her finger into the patient's anus. Doing this can help determine what is causing the anal itching as well as eliminating more serious conditions, such as colorectal cancer. Sometimes a more detailed exam of the digestive system, such as a colonoscopy or a proctoscopy may be required.
Most of the time itchy bottom is easy to treat and responds well to treatment. However, this does not stop it from recurring in the future. The type of treatment chosen is dependent on the cause of the anal itching. The various methods of treatment may include:
With proper treatment, most people experience relief from anal itching in less than a week. Anal itching that continues for more than one to two months needs to be evaluated by your doctor.
Even though these complications are unpleasant, most of them can be treated effectively if you see your doctor as soon as symptoms appear.
Sources: National Health Service (NHS), UK, The Mayo Clinic, Wikipedia, HHS (Department of Health and Human Services USA), NIH (National Institutes of Health, USA).
Written by Mike Paddock
Copyright: Medical News Today