Anal Itching in Children: Care Instructions

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Anal itching can be caused by allergic reactions, hemorrhoids, and other medical conditions. But most causes are not serious. Spicy foods, citrus fruit, or drinks with caffeine, such as soda pop, can irritate the anal area. This can lead to itching. Not cleaning the anal area well, or cleaning it too well by rubbing hard, also can cause itching.

Treatment at home can help ease itching.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • After bowel movements, you or your child can gently clean the area with wet cotton balls, a warm washcloth, or towelettes such as baby wipes. Do not use products that contain alcohol.
  • Be safe with medicines. If your doctor prescribes a cream or ointment, use it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with the medicine.
  • Have your child soak in a bath. You can read to your child or play games to make it fun.
  • Make sure your child avoids strong soaps that contain fragrance.
  • Do not let your child use scented or colored toilet paper.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • Use zinc oxide, petroleum jelly, or 1% hydrocortisone cream on the area. Do not use anesthetic products with "-caine" at the end of the name without talking with your doctor first. Some children may be allergic to these products.
  • Keep a food diary of what your child eats. Certain foods may irritate your child's anal area after a bowel movement.
  • Have your child wear cotton underwear. Avoid tight clothes for your child.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse pain.
  • Your child has new or worse bleeding from the rectum.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child has trouble passing stools.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.