Anal Itching is Nothing to Laugh About, But Will Wet Wipes Help or Make Matters Worse?

Pruritus Ani, also commonly called anal itching, is a simple problem that doctors treat all the time. Often anal itching is the result of a drying out of the mucous membranes that make up the anus or because these tissues have been irritated by toilet paper which is dry and can be quite rough on your bum. Sometimes this itching can be caused from hemorrhoids, and at times it may be the result of failing to thoroughly clean the anus properly and fecal residue is still present.

wet wipesAnal itching is not a serious medical condition that requires medical treatment but it can make life miserable if you suffer from this problem. In addition to itching the same conditions and causes can also result in anal abrasions, skin tears in and around the anus, rectal bleeding, dry skin that is sensitive, soreness, burning, and discomfort. Many people who experience anal itching start using wet wipes in order to try and relieve the problem but is this really the answer? Some medical professionals are warning that using wet wipes instead of toilet paper or simple water could cause anal rashes and serious skin problems in the nether regions.

What is the Problem with Wet Wipes?

Wet wipes eliminate the dry rough texture that toilet paper can have on the sensitive mucous membrane that makes up the anus, but these products can contain ingredients that could leave you regretting the decision to use wet wipes in the first place. Many brands of wet wipes contain methylchloroisothiazolinone or MCI, alcohol, or even both, and this can cause problems when they are used in the anal and genital area. In fact physicians have known for some time that the preservatives and chemicals that may be used in wet wipes can cause problems including rashes and skin irritation.

The Mayo Clinic Report

A recent report published in the online version of the Archives of Dermatology on June 21, 2010, from Mayo Clinic researchers provides evidence that wet wipes can be a serious issue for some individuals. The report focuses on methylchloroisothiazolinone, also referred to as MCI, and the reactions caused by this single chemical. Mayo Clinic physicians looked at four cases where wet wipes which contained MCI caused medical problems.

One patient, a 49 year old who worked as a mailman, developed a severe rash around his anus that was so painful it made walking impossible. Several doctors had previously tried to treat the patient's rash without success. The man had to take a two month leave of absence from work because the rash was so bad. Once the patient stopped using the wet wipes the rash cleared up and the patient could resume normal activities.

Another patient discussed in the report from the Mayo Clinic used wet wipes for around two decades, and he suffered from psoriasis so when he developed a rash between his buttocks and around his anus he assumed that his psoriasis was the cause. After the patient stopped using wet wipes the rash cleared up completely within 6 weeks.

According to the researchers who published the Archives of Dermatology report "Patients with (rashes around their anus) often continue to use the moist toilet paper with the belief that the cleansing will help heal the lesions. They may not make the correlation that the moist toilet paper is the culprit."

Wet Wipes May Also Contain Alcohol

MCI is not the only culprit when it comes to anal itching and associated anal problems, alcohol can be found in many wet wipes on the market as well and this substance damages the anal tissues and surrounding skin. Alcohol dries out the mucous membrane and this leads to irritation which can cause itching. Dry anal tissues can also result in small tears in the anus which can bleed, cause pain, and even lead to infection if the tears are not properly cleaned on a regular basis.

Wet Wipes Pose a Threat to Sewage Systems

While many wet wipes are marketed as flushable this is not actually true. In fact these wipes pose such a threat to sewer systems that the officials in New York City have taken steps to ban the use of the word flushable on packages of wipes. New York City council members Donovan Richards and councilman Antonio Reynoso actually introduced a bill to ban wet wipes being marketed as flushable after they became aware of the problems that these products were causing and the cost to taxpayers.

City officials in New York City reported that sewage workers were having to remove tens of thousands of these wipes from the sewage system to prevent or eliminate clogs, and this was a daily number and showed how many wipes were removed in a single day. New York City is not the only city affected by this issue either, cities across the USA have reported an increase in wet wipe use and problems caused by wet wipes in the city sewer systems. Since these wipes do not break down and degrade as fast as toilet paper they pose a hazard to the environment and sanitation equipment.

Bidets can Help with Anal Itching Without Any Drawbacks

Instead of using wet wipes to eliminate your anal itching you may be better off looking at bidet products instead. A bidet uses clean water and is a gentle and effective solution. Many dermatologists and other medical professionals recommend cleaning your anus with water instead of using dry toilet paper or wet wipes. A bidet offers many benefits and can help relieve anal itching without any of the possible side effects or risks of wet wipes.


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