Pruritus Ani Diet
Pruritus Ani (itchy bottom or anal itching) describes a chronic itch in the perianal area, resulting from inflammation and irritation. It is often caused by underlying conditions such as an infection, dermatitis, fissures or haemorrhoids. Treatment will depend on the exact cause, but some advice is applicable to all cases, such as ensuring proper anal hygiene and keeping the area dry. In addition, following a pruritus ani diet can help to relieve the symptoms.
Spicy foods and hot sauces tend to aggravate the itch, so you should avoid these, especially dishes such as mexican and indian which tend to contain a lot of different spices. Other foods which increase the itch, and therefore should be avoided, are chocolate, tomato products including ketchup, cheese and dairy products. Some beverages can also worsen pruritus ani, namely tea, coffee, carbonated drinks, and beer.
Foods that remain undigested can damage the anal area and cause itchy bottom. Examples include seeds, parts of nuts and corn. On the other hand, not including enough fibre in your diet can cause you to become constipated and pass very hard stools, which can also lead to damage to the anal area. It is therefore important to include enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, while excluding tomatoes, seeds, nuts and corn. If you are constipated, you should be careful not to overuse laxatives as these can the worsen the condition.
There is some evidence that consuming probiotics can help with some cases of pruritus ani, especially those cases resulting from bacterial or yeast infections. Probiotics encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria and hinder the growth of harmful ones. In addition, probiotics can prevent and shorten the duration of diarrhoea.
Consuming omega 3 supplements such as fish oils and eating food sources of these, such as oily fish, can be beneficial as omega 3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory action and can reduce the inflammation and irritation in the area, helping with symptom control.
Apart from following a pruritus ani diet, it is extremely important to ensure good anal hygiene and keeping the area dry. Wash your anus after passing faeces and before bedtime. Dry with a hair drier or using a soft towel, but pat rather than rub. Change your underwear every day, and avoid nylon clothing. If you sweat a lot during the day, put a cotton tissue in your underwear to help prevent the accumulation of excess moisture.