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February 12, 1938


JAMA. 1938;110(7):509. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.62790070004008c

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The therapy of pruritus ani seems to have come into prominence during the past year. More and more the operative treatment has monopolized the literature. While I do not doubt that in some instances the formidable procedures which have been described may be advisable, yet the cases most frequent in general practice may easily be relieved or even cured by simpler means.

A method for which I do not claim originality but which I have employed for many years has been so frequently—almost uniformly—successful that it is my duty to describe it here. I will assume that a general examination of the patient has been made to rule out contributory disease such, for instance, as diabetes.

Scratching is a defense mechanism against pruritus, in these cases produced by "dirt." Minute cutaneous fissures, possibly caused originally by roughness in cleansing the parts after stool, are contaminated by fecal matter which is

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