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  • Pruritus ani

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    Pruritus ani is the irritation of the skin at the exit of the rectum, known as the anus, causing the desire to scratch. The intensity of anal itching increases from moisture, pressure, and rubbing caused by clothing and sitting. At worst, anal itching causes intolerable discomfort that often is accompanied by burning and soreness. It is estimated that up to 5% of the population of the United States experiences this type of discomfort daily.

  • Prurigo simplex

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    Prurigo simplex is a chronic, itchy, idiopathic skin condition characterized by extremely itchy skin nodules and lesions. Typically, there is no known direct cause of prurigo simplex, but some factors are known to trigger or aggravate it. This condition falls between chronic and acute, sometimes transitioning into a chronic condition. Many people experience a recurrence of the condition after periods of remission. Middle-aged patients are the most prone age group to this condition. The most common prurigo simplex symptoms are skin nodules resembling insect bites that are intensely itchy. These nodules are frequently scratched open, becoming lesions that continue to itch. Sometimes the skin thickens and becomes discolored around the nodules. The scalp, arms, legs and trunk of the body are the most frequent sites of the bumps and lesions. Itching can become severe and habitual, worsening the condition and possibly causing infections in the open sores. Sometimes the nodules become less itchy and eventually disappear leaving a discolored area or scar tissue. The same nodules can persist for months or even years, though, without healing. Patients may experience a remission but then relapse with new nodules forming. The condition might also become chronic, with no periods of improvement and relief. Treatment is challenging, with narrow band UVB or pimozide sometimes helpful.

  • Itch

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    Itch (also known as pruritus) is a sensation that causes the desire or reflex to scratch. Itch has resisted many attempts to classify it as any one type of sensory experience. Modern science has shown that itch has many similarities to pain, and while both are unpleasant sensory experiences, their behavioral response patterns are different. Pain creates a withdrawal reflex, whereas itch leads to a scratch reflex. Unmyelinated nerve fibers for itch and pain both originate in the skin; however, information for them is conveyed centrally in two distinct systems that both use the same nerve bundle and spinothalamic tract.

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