Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your doctor may be able to diagnose the cause of your itching simply by asking you questions about your symptoms.
If the cause of your itching isn't obvious, your doctor may refer you to a skin specialist (dermatologist) or a doctor who specializes in treating rectal and anal problems (proctologist) for further evaluation. A rectal exam may be all that's required for you to get an answer — and a solution — to a very uncomfortable problem.
Other tests, such as proctoscopy or colonoscopy to view more of the digestive tract, are sometimes needed to identify an underlying cause of anal itching. However, the precise cause of the itching may never be identified.
- Breen E, et al. Approach to the patient with anal pruritus. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index. Accessed Aug. 10, 2012.
- Markell KW, et al. Pruritus ani: Etiology and management. Surgical Clinics of North America 2010;90:125.
- McPhee SJ, et al., eds. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2012. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=747. Accessed Aug. 9, 2012.
- Pruritis ani. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal_disorders/anorectal_disorders/pruritus_ani.html?qt=Pruritus%20Ani&sc=&alt=sh. Assessed Aug. 9, 2012.
- MacLean J, et al. Pruritis ani. Australian Family Physician. 2010;39:366.
- Stermer E, et al. Pruritus ani: An approach to an itching condition. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2009;48:513.
- Pruritus ani. American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. http://www.fascrs.org/patients/conditions/pruritus_ani/. Accessed Aug. 10, 2012.