Therapeutics in Dermatology
A reference textbook in dermatology
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Pruritus ani

3 September 2012, by GUILLET G. & CANTE V.

Pruritus anis quite a common symptom since it is estimated to affect 1 - 5 % of the general population [1]. It predominates in men (3.7 men to 1 woman) aged between 40 and 60 [2]. It is frequently underdiagnosed partly because patients suffer in silence and perhaps also because, as some feel, this may be the symptom that doctors look for least often.There are two types of pruritus ani: secondary and idiopathic pruritus [3], the latter being estimated to account for 25 - 75 % of cases. This means that it deserves just as careful management as any other cutaneous presentation and it must not initially be classed as psychogenic.

Pruritus ani has a variable impact on social and professional life depending on its severity, and it can also disturb sleep. In more than 50% of cases it lasts for over 12 months [1] and the goal of therapeutic management is to quickly relieve the patient’s symptoms, which also involves first diagnosing the aetiology.

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