Foods to Avoid with Pruritus Ani

Doctor examining patient with stethoscope
Doctor with patient (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Pruritis ani is the medical term for anal itching. A variety of factors, including excessive moisture around the anus, can cause this condition. The foods you eat could contribute to your itching; avoid specific triggers to minimize your symptoms.

Spicy and Acidic

Chili con carne
Avoid chili (Image: martinturzak/iStock/Getty Images)

Spicy and acidic foods are major irritants to your entire digestive system. Foods that are highly acidic, including tomato products, citrus fruits and cranberry juice, and spices such as jalapeno pepper, cayenne, and chili, can upset your stomach, cause heartburn and acid reflux, and may not stop tormenting you even after they are out of your system completely. According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, you may want to avoid highly spiced or acid-based foods if pruritis ani is a frequent or persistent problem.

Refined Carbohydrates

Spaghetti marinara pasta salad
Avoid pasta (Image: OlenaMykhaylova/iStock/Getty Images)

Avoiding foods classified as refined carbohydrates in conjunction with incorporating more high-fiber foods into your diet may have a positive effect on your pruritis ani symptoms. White flour, rice and pasta, as well as other foods that are not rich in fiber can cause constipation. The straining that occurs when you are constipated can lead to a number of symptoms that produce itching in the anal area, including hemorrhoids and small cracks in the skin called fissures. Ironically, the New Zealand Dermatological Society explains that while high-fiber foods can ease the passage of stool to manage anal itching associated with straining, figs and prunes, both fiber-rich foods, can actually exacerbate the condition and should be on your "to avoid" list.

Caffeine and Carbonation

Hot Black coffee in a white cup on the table.
Avoid coffee (Image: MeePoohyaphoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Your morning cup of coffee could be a source of discomfort if you are plagued with an itchy anus. Caffeine sources, including coffee, tea and chocolate, can aggravate your symptoms. Carbonated beverages, including soft drinks, should also be avoided. Try eliminating certain beverages one at a time, to determine exactly which caffeinated and carbonated drinks worsen your symptoms.

Alcohol

Glass of beer on bar counter top
Limit your beer intake (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Limit your use of alcohol, especially beer, to minimize your pruritis ani symptoms. Beer is a carbonated beverage, which may account for some of your discomfort. Beer and wine also contain substances called nitrosamines and tannins, which can increase your chances of developing other conditions involving the rectal and anal areas, including cancer and bleeding.

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