An anal yeast infection often starts with persistent and intense anal itching, also called pruritus ani. A doctor can perform a quick physical exam to determine the cause, such as hygiene, hemorrhoids, or a yeast infection.
If the diagnosis is an anal yeast infection, it can often be cleared up easily with simple treatments.
A yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida. When you have an anal yeast infection, you may experience intense symptoms for a few days followed by milder symptoms.
The symptoms are centered around your anus and often include:
- burning sensation
- irritated skin
- occasional discharge
- damaged skin from scratching
- soreness or pain
Although treatments for yeast infections are typically marketed for vaginal yeast infections, they can also be used to treat anal yeast infections.
Your doctor might recommend an ointment, cream, tablet, or suppository prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medication such as:
- butoconazole (Gynazole)
- clotrimazole (Lotrimin)
- fluconazole (Diflucan)
- miconazole (Monistat)
- terconazole (Terazol)
With treatment, your yeast infection should clear within a week. The itchiness and burning usually go away within a day or two. Skin irritation and redness may take a little longer, especially if the skin is damaged from scratching.
It’s important that you follow the full course of treatment ordered by your doctor to completely clear the infection.
Advocates of natural healing suggest alternative treatments for yeast infections, including:
- Ozonated olive oil: A 2016 study concluded ozonated olive oil can be an effective topical treatment for vulvovaginal candidiasis. It worked well for relieving the itchiness but was less effective than clotrimazole cream for reducing the burning sensation.
- Garlic: A 2010 study compared a garlic/thyme cream with clotrimazole cream and found them to have the same healing capabilities for candida vaginitis.
- Coconut oil: A 2007 study concluded that coconut oil was highly effective against some species of Candida.
Before using these alternative treatments, discuss them with your doctor to make sure that they’re appropriate for your specific situation.
There is normally some Candida living in your gastrointestinal tract and other places on your body that are warm, dark, and moist. When you have an imbalance between it and the bacteria keeping it in check, the Candida becomes overgrown. The result is a yeast infection.
An anal yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted disease, but it can be transferred through:
- unprotected anal sex with an infected partner
- analingus with an infected partner
- use of infected sex toys
You can reduce your risk of spreading Candida by:
- using an outside condom
- using a dental dam
You can reduce the risk of Candida overgrowth by limiting moisture and irritants around your anus. Some things that help include:
- wearing breathable cotton underwear
- washing thoroughly after swimming and watersports
- avoiding the use of perfumed hygiene products on anal area
You might be able to reduce your risk for any type of yeast infection, including anal yeast infection, if you:
- take a daily probiotic supplement
- cut down on high carbohydrate foods and refined sugar
- get enough sleep
You are at a higher risk for Candida overgrowth if:
Anal yeast infections can be uncomfortable, but they’re usually not serious. Your doctor can easily diagnose the condition and recommend an effective treatment. If you have the symptoms of an anal yeast infection, make an appointment with your doctor.
If your sexual partner also has symptoms, they should see their doctor. You and your partner should only have protected sex until your doctors have confirmed that your infections have cleared.