Pruritus ani is the intense itching of the skin at the exit of the rectum (i.e. anus). The person or an animal responds to it by scratching since it interrupts with the itchy sensation and provides temporary relief. However, when the itch is intense, scratching the anal area is afterwards accompanied by burning and soreness. One of the causes of pruritus ani is enterobiasis, a pinworm infestation. Pruritus ani is one of the symptoms of enterobiasis. It results when gravid female pinworms migrate from the bowel to the anal area at nighttime to lay eggs. Other causes of pruritus ani are anal perspiration, diarrhea, yeast infection, diabetes mellitus, HIV infection, medication with antibiotics, psoriasis, fistulas to the skin surrounding the anus, hemorrhoids, skin tags, and so on. It is essential to keep the anal area clean and dry to prevent chronic pruritus ani.
Idiopathic pruritus ani is a term used to refer to the type of anal itching in which the specific cause is not identified.
Word origin: Latin prūrītus (“itch, itching”), from prūriō (“itch”) + ani ("anus")
- perianal itching