Pruritus ani is a symptom complex that occurs secondary to a variety of anal and systemic problems. It is not in itself a specific disease process. It effects men far more often than women, and it occurs most commonly during the fifth and sixth decades of life.

There is an entity of primary or idiopathic pruritus ani, the etiology of which is unknown. To make such a diagnosis, one has to rule out the many specific, known causes of secondary pruritus ani. Even so, idiopathic pruritus ani may occur in association with or be precipitated by secondary pruritus ani. IaMe Z§.:5. lists the major categories of the various likely causes of secondary pruritus ani.

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