Most discussions about STIs tend to lean pretty heavily on infections that can cause symptoms on or around the genitals. And while it’s true that many STIs cause symptoms in the genitals, the genitals are not the only place on the body where an STI can find a home.
Discomfort in the anus can be caused by all sorts of things. From haemorrhoids and anal fissures to yeast infections, pin or thread worms and diabetes, the presence of anal itching can mean the presence of a number of conditions. One of these conditions could be a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
In this blog, we will cover what STIs may cause anal itching and how you can get tested for them.
In general, for an STI to cause anal itching, it needs to be an infection that is site-specific, meaning that the site of transmission is usually the place where symptoms appear.
When talking about anal itching, we need to talk about STIs that are transmitted primarily through anal sex.
However, full anal sex may not be required to get an STI that can cause anal itching. It may be possible to contract an STI in your anus if infected bodily fluids come in contact with your anus.
Below is a list of infections that may cause anal itching.
A Herpes infection in the anus can be caused by one of the two strains of Herpes Simplex Virus. HSV1, often known as Oral Herpes, tends to affect the area around the mouth and cause cold sores. HSV2, also known as Genital Herpes, tends to affect the genitals.
However, it’s possible to get either of these infections in your anus.
Anal Herpes is often spread through sexual contact with an infected person, usually through anal sex. The infection causes outbreaks of skin inflammation and small blisters on or around the anus.
Symptoms of Anal Herpes include:
Gonorrhoea is a highly contagious sexually transmitted infection. Most Gonorrhoea infections are completely asymptomatic. Gonorrhoea tends to affect the genitals, as that is the most common site of transmission. However, you can get Gonorrhoea in many parts of the body, including the mouth, eyes, and anus.
Instances of Anal Gonorrhoea usually occur because of sexual activity involving anal sex.
Symptoms of Anal Gonorrhoea include:
Like Anal Gonorrhoea, Anal Chlamydia is usually transmitted to the anus through anal sex or by infected bodily fluids coming into contact with the anus. The symptoms of an anal Chlamydia infection may not be as noticeable as a genital Chlamydia infection.
Symptoms of an Anal Chlamydia infection include:
Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause warts to form in and around the anus. The warts themselves are usually painless, but they can cause itching, irritation, or discomfort in some circumstances. In certain instances, warts can become large enough to obstruct the anus, making bowel movements difficult.
Other symptoms include:
A Scabies infection is caused by a parasite that burrows under the skin and lays eggs, causing irritation. Scabies tends to be passed on through prolonged physical contact, such as hugging, kissing, and sexual intercourse with a person who has an infestation. It can also be passed on by sharing clothing, bedding, and through prolonged contact with infected surfaces.
Symptoms of a Scabies infection in the anus can include:
An itchy anus may be innocuous, but it could also be a sign of something more serious. If you think you may have been exposed to an STI, it’s better to get tested as soon as possible. Most STIs are completely curable with the right medication and cause minimal damage to your health if caught early.
Call the number listed above to speak to one of our Sexual Health Advisors.