Q. I have been diagnosed with pruritus ani, itching around the anal area. This condition causes itching so intense that it can keep me up at night.
My doctor ruled out hemorrhoids and other causes. I was told to stay away from cortisone creams, as they could make the condition worse. Is there any natural remedy that can help this intense itching?
A. You may want to start with a bidet. Gentle cleaning of the posterior with a stream of warm water may be less irritating and better than using toilet paper.
Most people associate bidets with the French, but the Japanese have perfected toilet technology. Not only do their toilets wash the bottom, but some dry it with warm air. The price can range from a few hundred dollars for a seat installed on your existing toilet to thousands of dollars for a stand-alone luxury unit.
Readers who have traveled abroad appreciate bidet-like features in a toilet: “After suffering with hemorrhoids or itching most of my life, I found the solution on a trip to Thailand in the form of the bathroom bidet sprayers they use there. This device is the ultimate in logical simplicity; it allows you to clean without rubbing or soaps that irritate the skin and perpetuate the itching.”
Another option is to clean with witch hazel-dampened toilet paper. Witch hazel is a natural astringent and eases irritation.