How is pruritus ani (anal itching) diagnosed?

The doctor will obtain a full medical history and perform a physical examination to identify possible underlying causes, such as dermatological conditions and other illnesses. He or she will visually inspect the area to look for changes in skin color or texture, rashes, or lesions. The doctor will ask about any medications that you take and the type and frequency of bowel movements.

The doctor may obtain skin specimens and perform tests to screen for bacterial or other infections.

Parents of children who may have pinworms can place a small piece of surgical tape, or scotch tape, near the child’s anus before bedtime. The worms are more likely to emerge at night. In the morning, when the child awakens, the tape can be removed to see if the worms or their eggs are present. This is called the scotch tape test.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/22/2018.

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