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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Prevention

In many cases, you can prevent anal itch by taking the following steps:

  • Practice good anal hygiene When possible, gently cleanse the anal area after every bowel movement by using wet toilet paper (unscented and dye-free) or a wet washcloth. Wipe gently or blot the area. Never rub or scrub. If you are in a public toilet, use dry toilet paper temporarily, then finish your cleansing regimen when you return home.

  • Use only water to clean the anal area, never soap.

  • Avoid using medicated powders, perfumed sprays or deodorants on the anal area.

  • Eat a sensible diet that is low in the foods and beverages known to cause anal irritation.

  • Wear cotton underwear that is not too tight.

  • If you are taking oral antibiotics, eat yogurt to help restore the normal ecology of your colon.

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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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