If you’re constantly battling with intense itchy skin that you can’t help but scratch, then you are likely dealing with a case of pruritus. It’s not known how many individuals are battling this annoying itch as dermatologists state that the majority of those impacted simply choose to live with it. However, by understanding the source of your pruritus and working to soothe your skin, it is possible to get rid of the itch for good.
Recognizing the symptoms of pruritus
Itching on almost any part of the skin is the biggest sign that you have pruritus. It is most often complained about on the limbs and on the stomach region. In most cases, there isn’t a noticeable rash. Although, the medical conditions which are closely linked with pruritus, such as eczema, can lead to redness and inflammation. When you have pruritus there is a chance that you will experience bruising and bleeding as, when the itching gets so bad that you can’t help but scratch intensely, it can affect the surface of your epidermis.
Understanding the cause of your itchy skin
Pruritus is somewhat of a mysterious illness as it can be the result of any number of things. Dry skin is a leading reason for pruritus which is good news as it can be easily treated with emollient creams and adequate hydration. Similar skin conditions, including fungal infections and hives, can also lead to the onset of pruritus. These too, are fairly simple to treat. Even allergies can result in the development of pruritus.
So, if you’ve recently changed your skin care regimen, are using a new washing powder, or have started taking medication, it’s worth investigating whether this has caused your skin itch.
It can be tricky to determine what has caused every case of pruritus, although internal diseases should be investigated. Ineffective kidney function may be behind your itchy skin, as could a thyroid problem, or even a damaged liver. It’s, therefore, recommended that you consult the advice of your doctor if the itching persists for longer than a fortnight so that anything sinister can be ruled out.
Pruritus can also be a result of a disorder of the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease or diabetes. Meanwhile, if you have a mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety you could be itching due to that. Pregnant women can also have pruritus, which is also known as ‘pregnancy itch’. In one study, 38% of participants had the condition throughout their pregnancy, and 90% of them reported it on their abdomen.
When you’re dealing with pruritis, your skin can be severely affected by the itching and subsequent scratching. As such, you should do your utmost to alleviate these symptoms. It goes without saying that you should steer clear of scratching as much as possible. Research has shown that your fingernails are dirtier than the average toilet, so you really don’t want to be transferring this sort of bacteria to your skin.
Relief can also be obtained from anti-allergy medications which can be bought over the counter. These are particularly beneficial if an allergy is behind your itching. But, you’re likely to find the greatest relief comes from moisturizing. Experts recommend moisturizing your body daily and your face twice a day. However, when you’re dealing with pruritus this can be increased until comfort is sought.
Medical treatment for pruritus
If home remedies aren’t easing the itching enough and it’s still impacting your day to day life, then your medical practitioner will likely prescribe stronger medication for you to use. This medication will usually consist of corticosteroid creams. When corticosteroid creams are applied to the skin they reduce inflammation. Regardless of how severe your pruritus is, it’s crucial that these creams are applied thinly to the affected areas only as they can thin and weaken the skin when used excessively.
Your doctor may also discuss light therapy with you. Studies have found that light therapy is a safe and effective treatment method for individuals experiencing intense itching as a result of pruritus. Patients who opt to have light therapy to help with their pruritus will undergo multiple sessions of phototherapy which is where ultraviolet light is shone onto the skin until relief is obtained.
When individuals with pruritus excessively scratch their skin, it can become damaged, sore and red. It’s, therefore, crucial that patients understand the reason for their pruritus and take action to treat and prevent further bouts of pruritus from occurring.