A vaginal yeast infection, also called genital/vulvovaginal candidiasis, is actually caused by the fungus Candida albicans and is very common. The organism is a normal inhabitant of the mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina.
Antibiotics can kill off the healthy bacteria in the vagina, allowing overgrowth of the fungus. Women who are pregnant, on the birth control pill, or diabetic are more prone to yeast infections, as are those who have weakened immune systems. It can also be transmitted through sex or through mouth-to-genital contact.
Symptoms include itching, burning, pain, and soreness inside the vagina and on the external tissues (the vulva,) and a thick, white vaginal discharge.
If not treated, the yeast infection can become "complicated," severe, and difficult to cure.
Most yeast infections are diagnosed simply through the patient's description of symptoms. Recurrent infections may be diagnosed through pelvic examination and vaginal swab.
Treatment often is just an over-the-counter cream, though oral anti-fungal medications are sometimes prescribed.
Pinworm infection, also known as Enterobiasis, is the most common worm infection in the United States. It can be passed from one person to another if contaminated fecal matter is ingested. The most common symptom of this infection is itching around the anus, especially at night.
While this infection is not particularly dangerous, it can be transmitted easily - particularly between people in the same household. Prescription medication is extremely effective, but in most cases the entire household must be treated at the same time to completely eliminate the infection. A primary care physician will be able to prescribe this medication; specialists or urgent care is not needed.
Top Symptoms: anal itching, constant but weak urination stream
Symptoms that never occur with pinworm infection: constant but weak urination stream
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Hemorrhoids, or "piles," are swollen veins in the anus or rectum. They may be located inside the rectum (internal) or outside the body at the anus (external.)
The condition is caused by straining during bowel movements and/or from increased pressure during pregnancy and childbirth.
Hemorrhoids are a common occurrence, especially in older people. Pregnant women are susceptible, as is anyone who has chronic constipation or is obese.
Symptoms include discomfort, pain, pressure, and itching. There may be small amounts of bleeding during bowel movements, though some hemorrhoids cause no symptoms at all.
Severe pain can indicate a thrombosed hemorrhoid, meaning a clot has formed within it. This is not serious but the pain can be debilitating and requires treatment right away. Also, rectal bleeding can also be a sign of more serious diseases such as diverticulitis or cancer and should always be diagnosed by a medical provider.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination and sometimes through colonoscopy.
Treatment begins with good hygiene, cold compresses, and over-the-counter pain relievers. Surgery may be done for some cases.
A dermatofibroma is a fairly common skin growth that usually appears on the lower legs, but may appear anywhere on the body. These mole-like growths are benign (noncancerous.)
The cause is not known, though a dermatofibroma may appear after a minor injury. The growths are not contagious.
Dermatofibromas are most common in adults and are rarely found in children.
Symptoms include a hard, raised growth that is red, pink, or brown and less than half an inch across. They are usually painless but may be tender or itchy, and may appear alone or in groups.
Any new growth on the skin should be seen by a medical provider, especially if the growth is very dark in color or changes its shape or appearance quickly.
Diagnosis is made through physical examination and sometimes biopsy.
A dermatofibroma does not require treatment unless it is interfering with clothing or is unsightly. They can be surgically removed, though this will leave a scar and the growth may eventually return.
Anal cancer is a neoplasm, or tumor, growing in the tissues of the anus. The tumor may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous.)
Most anal cancers are linked to the human papilloma virus, or HPV. However, many people carry HPV and have no symptoms or illness of any kind.
Most susceptible are men who have sexual contact with men; women who have had cervical cancer; and anyone who has engaged in anal intercourse, had anal warts, or is HIV positive. Smoking and lowered immunity are also factors.
Symptoms include minor anal bleeding and itching, which may be attributed to hemorrhoids; pain or fullness in the anal region; and abnormal anal discharge.
It is important to see a medical provider about these symptoms so that if needed, treatment can begin as soon as possible.
Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; anal swab; and biopsy. CT scan, ultrasound, or endoscopy of the anus may also be done.
Treatment involves some combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy depending on the needs of each individual patient.
Allergic contact dermatitis of the butt
Allergic contact dermatitis means the skin has touched something that provoked an allergic reaction, causing inflammation and irritation.
"Contact" means the allergic reaction came from touching something, not from consuming something. The first exposure to the substance sensitizes the immune system, and then the second exposure actually causes the symptoms.
The most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis are:
- Nickel, a metal often used in belt buckles, the buttons on pants, and jewelry, including piercing jewelry.
- Poison ivy.
- Various types of perfumes, including those founds in soaps, fabric softeners, and detergents.
- Of course, there are many more.
Symptoms include red, itching, scaling, flaking skin that may be painful due to the irritation and inflammation.
Diagnosis is made through first avoiding contact with any suspected substance, to see if the dermatitis clears. Patch testing can be done if the results are not certain.
Treatment involves fully avoiding the allergy-provoking substance and using topical steroid cream as prescribed. Cool compresses and calamine lotion can help to ease the discomfort.
Top Symptoms: butt itch, butt redness, scabbed area of the butt
Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the butt: butt redness
Chronic or recurrent hemorrhoids
Chronic, or recurrent, hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anus and rectum that never really resolve and may be symptomatic more or less constantly.
Hemorrhoids are caused by anything that puts pressure on the anus from the inside, such as straining during bowel movements; constipation; pregnancy; or anal intercourse.
Most susceptible are pregnant women and older people, though anyone can be affected.
Symptoms include a small amount of bleeding during or after a bowel movement, as well as discomfort, itching, or swelling around the anus.
A medical provider can suggest treatment to ease the symptoms of chronic hemorrhoids, as well as make certain of the diagnosis since other, more serious conditions can have symptoms similar to hemorrhoids.
Diagnosis is made through patient history and physical examination.
Treatment most often involves simple lifestyle changes such as drinking more water; adding fiber-rich foods to the diet; using fiber supplements and stool softeners; not delaying, or straining, to pass a bowel movement; and using topical medications. Surgical procedures to remove the hemorrhoid can be used in some cases.
Top Symptoms: rectal bleeding, rectal pain, pain when passing stools, anal itching, painless rectal bleeding
Symptoms that never occur with chronic or recurrent hemorrhoids: unintentional weight loss
Questions your doctor may ask about anal itching
- Have you had any changes in your weight?
- Do you have a rash?
- Do you have a history of constipation?
- Do your symptoms worsen when sitting?
Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.