Anogenital Pruritus – An Overview WE01-WE03
Dr. Murugan Swamiappan,
Assistant Professor, Department of Skin and Std, Gst Road, Chengalpattu Medical College & Hospital,
Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu – 603001, India.
Anogenital pruritus is defined as intense itching, acute or chronic, affecting the anal, perianal, perineal and genital skin, which is a dominant problem in the course of various cutaneous and systemic conditions. It is one of the common, extremely annoying symptom for which patients attend the Dermatology Outpatient Department (OPD). Anogenital skin is highly sensitive to soaps, perfumes, clothing and superficial trauma and it is more prone for itchy dermatoses as a result of warmth, friction, lack of aeration, sweating and occlusive inner garments. Anogenital pruritus is associated with a wide spectrum of diseases which includes localized infections, infestations, inflammatory dermatoses, allergic and irritant conditions, anorectal diseases, systemic causes, nutritional disorders, psychological and when the cause cannot be found out it is often termed idiopathic. Patients are highly reluctant in consulting the physician for anogenital itch in the early stage, they usually present at a later stage with either atypical manifestations or depigmentation and lichenification, secondary to constant scratching. They often resort to over the counter topical agents, particularly combination products which contain topical steroids. The irrational use of such products results in complications like skin atrophy, striae, incognito etc. A proper clinical history, clinical examination, investigations like scrapping for fungus and itch mite, skin biopsy, patch test and relevant blood investigations to rule out systemic conditions should be carried out, when needed, to arrive at an accurate diagnosis, before treating the patient.