Many cases of itch in the perianal region result from poor hygiene practices, but others may have underlying pathology which should be determined if possible. Patient education is mandatory.
- Pruritus ani is a common condition and is more frequent in men than women.
- Pruritus ani is a symptom rather than a diagnosis.
- Faecal contamination is a predisposing factor. Local hygiene problems frequently contribute to faecal contamination, and surgical problems such as haemorrhoids, fissures, mucosal prolapse or scars may be causes of anal leakage.
- Dermatoses, infections or cancers are other possible underlying causes.
- With the removal of underlying pathology, the itch often resolves.
- Patients are often reticent in discussing the condition and the general practitioner has an important role to play in supporting the patient.