With symptoms ranging from itching and soreness to bleeding and pain, anal problems are surprisingly common. The good news is that they are generally easy to treat or correct by using simple self help measures. Bleeding, however, should always be checked out by your doctor to rule out any underlying disorder, such as cancer of the rectum or colon.
Most anal conditions are linked to intestinal problems, particularly those that cause diarrhea, constipation or hemorrhoids. Poor hygiene, yeast (candela) infections, threadworm infestations, food sensitivities and skin allergies may also contribute to such problems.
You can avoid many of these conditions by eating ample amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods, and by drinking plenty of liquids. This provides fiber and fluid to help prevent constipation and supplies the nutrients needed to keep the intestines, the anus and the skin of the anal area healthy. Avoid any foods that act as irritants, such as coffee and spicy foods.
The anal problems can be easily prevented by following some basic steps. Clean the anal area gently thoroughly after a bowel movement. Women and girls should wipe from front to back to avoid bringing intestinal bacteria or thread worms near the vulva or the entrance to the vagina. Wear cotton underwear and change it daily. If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies that make your skin itchy and/or red, you should use only pure, non-fragmented soap powder to launder your clothes, and wash yourself with unscented soap or a soap free cleanser. Avoid fragranced bath products.
Itching and soreness in the anal area can usually be soothed by some simple measures. Keep the skin around the anus clean and dry. Do not scratch the anal area. Apply calendula (marigold) cream twice a day. Soak the area for 10 to 15 minutes at least once a day by sitting in a shallow bath of warm water to which you have added three drops of lavender oil or a tablespoon of oatmeal in a fabric bag. Take alternate hot and cold baths unless the skin is broken. Finish the sequence with cold water. Boost resistance to infection and inflammation by taking vitamins A and C with flavonoids, and zinc with copper to aid absorption. If itching mainly occurs soon after bed at night, you may have thread worms and should treat this problem.