Pruritus Ani

Introduction

Pruritus ani is a condition where you experience itchiness of the skin around your anus (back passage). It is also known as an itchy bottom. Approximately 5% of the population are thought to experience itchy bottom. It is four times more common in men than in women. The condition can affect people of all ages, but it occurs most often in those between 40 and 70 years of age.

Aetiology (causes)

As itchy bottom is a symptom rather than a disease and can occur as a result of:

  • skin infections caused by bacteria/fungus
  • skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, contact dermatitis (where the skin becomes red, dry and flaky and this might happen in other parts of the body)
  • haemorrhoids (piles) that contain enlarged and swollen blood vessels in and around the anus
  • conditions of the rectum which result in mucous leakage and a wetness around the anus such as anal fistula, anal fissures or faecal incontinence (loss of control of your back passage due to weak muscles)
  • Worms infestation especially in children

However it is not possible to find a cause of an itchy bottom in all patients.

Investigations

It is important to exclude any conditions that might cause an itchy bottom. This includes a good patient history and examination including a rectal examination including a proctoscopy or sigmoidoscopy.

You might need a referral to a Colorectal surgeon (bowel specialist) or a Dermatologist (skin specialist) to exclude condtions that might be causing you pruritus ani if your symptoms are severe and affecting your life style.

To know more about Pilonidal Ani, click here to download the pdf.

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