Anogenital pruritus

Anogenital pruritus: Description, Causes and Risk Factors:Alternative Name: Anal itching, pruritus ani.Anogenital pruritus is a common problem but the exact number of people who get anogenital pruritus is unknown. However, it does seem to be more common in men than women. It most commonly affects people between the ages of 40-60, but it can also affect children and someone of any age.Most cases of anogenital pruritus are caused by a fungal infection (tinea or candida). Other possible causes may include:
  • Skin disorders: Common skin problems such as fistulas, fissures, psoriasis, eczema, allergic or contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and hemorrhoids can involve and irritate the area in and around your anus.
  • Yeast infections: This common infection, which usually affects women, can irritate your genital and anal areas.
  • Infections: In children, the parasite that causes pinworms can cause persistent anal itching.
  • Other causes may include: Hemorrhoids, anal abrasions, fistula, scabies, lice, fungus, and streptococcal skin infection.
Risk Factors may include:
  • Too much moisture: Moisture around your anus from excessive sweating or from moist, sticky stools can be irritating and lead to anogenital pruritus.
  • Dry skin: As you age, skin in and around your anus is more prone to dryness. Dry skin can cause a persistent, intense anal itching.
  • Excessive washing: Excessive wiping with dry, harsh toilet paper or excessive scrubbing with harsh soaps and a washcloth can cause or aggravate anal itching.
  • Chemical irritants: Certain laundry soaps, colognes, douches and birth control products contain chemicals that can irritate skin in and around your anus. Scented or colored toilet paper can be irritating to people with sensitive skin.
  • Food irritants: Anogenital pruritus may be the result of irritating chemicals in some foods, such as those found in spices and hot sauces. Similarly, some foods may directly or indirectly irritate your anus as they exit your digestive system. Common culprits include chocolate, fruits, tomatoes, nuts and popcorn. Consuming certain beverages — possibly milk or caffeinated drinks — may cause some people to experience diarrhea followed by anogenital pruritus.
  • Medications: Anogenital pruritus may be a side effect of certain medications, such as some antibiotics, that can cause frequent diarrhea.
  • Overuse of laxatives: Excessive or improper use of laxatives can lead to chronic diarrhea and the risk of anal irritation and itch.
anogenital pruritus Symptoms:Symptoms of anogenital pruritus may include:Anal itching:
  • Itching is worse at night.
  • Itching is worse after a bowel movement.
Anal pain:
  • Anal burning sensation.
  • Skin redness and swelling around the anus.
Diagnosis:If your anogenital pruritus is due to a local irritation in the anal area, the doctor usually can diagnose the problem based on your history, diet and personal hygiene routine, and the results of your physical examination. Sometimes, the doctor will request a stool sample if he or she suspects a worm or parasite infection.Females should also undergo a gynecological exam to rule out any underlying disease process, such as vaginitis.Tests should be done to determine whether pruritus ani is the result of a systemic disease or from local causes. Tests may include blood glucose levels, blood nitrogen levels, ERS, hemochrome, liver (hepatic) functions, analysis of feces, and in some cases even skin biopsy.Others tests may include:
  • Anoscopy (a scope is used to examine the anus and rectum
  • Bacterial cultures.
  • Gonorrhea testing.
  • Chlamydia testing.
  • Viral culture.
  • Tape test for pinworms.
Because there are so many possible causes of pruritus ani, it is very important that it is diagnosed and treated accurately.Treatment:General Treatment: Most treatment options for anogenital pruritus are the same as you would apply to itching in any other part of the body. The application of aloe vera, vitamin E oil or even lemon juice is known to be very effective in reducing the prominence of the irritation. You could also try adding a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your bath water to help relieve the pruritus while baking soda added to your bath water can be equally effective.Over-the-counter ointments that contain cortisone or zinc oxide often alleviate the discomfort of anogenital pruritus.To be effective, treatment must match the cause. Parasites or bacterial infections can be treated with medication. For underlying disease processes (such as diabetes mellitus) respective treatment may needed. Injuries, fistulas, and hemorrhoids need to be medically addressed. Allergic reactions can be avoided by not using the respective allergic product. Diet changes include avoiding spices, coffee, tea, cola, beer, chocolate, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. Poor hygiene needs to be corrected. On the other hand, too vigorous cleansing needs to be modified by stopping the use of over-the-counter preparations, cleaning pads, and solutions. Use of a blow dryer on the perineum may be used. Water, alone, may be adequate hygiene for over-sensitive skin.For cases where the cause is never determined (idiopathic), injection of a medication under the skin of the affected area may be curative.Preventive measures may include:
  • Avoid laxatives.
  • Avoid tight-fitting, synthetic clothing.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Avoid using anal performs, dyes, and any other irritants.
Disclaimer: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care. 

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