Buckley Senior Member Joined: 25 Jan 2011 Posts: 412 Location: Baltimore, USA Expertise: I love coffee
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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2013, 4:00am Subject: Pruritis Ani - an undesirable effect of caffeine
There have been a large number of posts asking about the effects of caffeine. The desirable and undesirable effects have pretty well been listed here but one undesirable effect, pruritis ani, has gone unmentioned. My purpose for mentioning it here is that this forum of heavy caffeine users is the ideal population to harbor individuals who may suffer from this very uncomfortable condition. It is not mentioned because it is also very embarrassing. Perhaps it is easier to say that this forum population is more likely to know someone who suffers from this condition than to talk about actually having it. Pruritis ani is an intense, persistent and uncomfortable itch involving the opening of the anus. Therefore, we are loath to talk about it. It causes a type of discomfort that is incompatible with living and working in polite, ‘civilized’ surroundings. It causes an intense desire to scratch the itch or to squirm, which only make the symptom worse and does nothing to ameliorate it. In the vast universe of human experience, many causes have been linked to pruritis ani. If you google this term, as many of you are likely to do, you will find a flood of websites all purporting to lend you knowledge about this condition. The problem is that these websites suffer from ‘doctor-itis’. We demand that our doctors know everything and every cause of a disease and we condemn them if they fail to diagnose even the rarest and most unique cause of a disease. Therefore, these sites list all causes of pruritis ani and, as such, are useless for pertinent information. Websites by colon and rectal surgeons generally have good prioritization of the causes while general websites like mayo clinic and Wikipedia are useless. Of all the causes of pruritis ani, and there are many, dietary intolerances are the main cause in the civilized countries. Although the symptoms may feel exactly like the suffer has a small colony of worms wriggling within the ‘back door opening’, this is practically unheard of among adults in this country. Of all of the dietary intolerances that may cause this, caffeine intolerance is the most frequent. How do I know this? If you go to a proctologist, a colon and rectal surgeon, and describe these symptoms to him or her, the first thing they are going to do is ask you, “Do you drink coffee? How much coffee do you drink per day?” Only if this line of questioning is negative will they explore other options. The symptoms, we might imagine, cause much civilized misery. Therefore if you can reassure just one coffee-drinking sufferer that they are not infested with rectal parasites, you have given them a great reassurance. There is no cure for this condition except to cut out caffeine consumption until the symptoms go away and then to partake at a more moderate level. The symptoms are dependent upon the levels of caffeine in the body and may therefore take one or several days to disappear. They may also reappear in a similarly delayed fashion. This is another reason some people must drink decaffeinated coffee or tea. Prescription anesthetic creams may soothe the symptoms while the sufferers clear caffeine from their systems. This post has been submitted with the desire to reassure anyone who knows someone who is suffering in this way. It is hoped that any responders to this post avoid the temptation to descend into bathroom humor.
Posted Tue Apr 23, 2013, 6:33am Subject: Re: Pruritis Ani - an undesirable effect of caffeine
Very interesting reading, Buckley. Thank you for posting this. I've never heard it before...and thank G-d, I haven't ever experienced it. As I began reading your post, I was thinking you were going to mention the creepy crawlies and recommend that anyone suffering from it go get checked by their doctor. I definitely learned something here...though I must admit, I never would have suspected this would be part of what I'd learn on CG!
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Flori Senior Member Joined: 18 Apr 2013 Posts: 114 Location: USA Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Apr 25, 2013, 6:40pm Subject: Re: Pruritis Ani - an undesirable effect of caffeine
Well, this is something new. Have not come upon any article regarding this subject. Most likely, as what you have mentioned, persons suffering this is shy to talk about it. Thanks for the information though.
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