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Symptoms

Anal itch is an irritating sensation around the anus that is relieved temporarily by scratching or rubbing. The problem is often worse at night and may interfere with sleep. In most cases, the skin in the area is red.

If anal itch becomes a chronic (long-term) problem, the skin around the anus may become raw and tender from repeated scratching, or it may thicken and become leathery. Repeated scratching also can cause breaks in the anal skin that can lead to painful local infections.

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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.

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