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Itching is a type of feeling or sensation that makes you want to scratch your skin, and it is normal to feel itchy sometimes as a result of a bite or infection. Frequent and persistent itching is a sign of a medical condition that needs treatment. Some conditions can cause intense itching that may cause blood loss or serious injuries. Also known as pruritus, itching is usually a symptom of a skin condition.

Skin conditions that may cause itching include

  • Psoriasis
  • Ringworm
  • Shingles
  • Hives
  • Neurodermatitis
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Folliculitis
  • Eczema
  • Chickenpox
  • Hand-foot-and-mouth disease

Apart from these infections, factors that can contribute to itching include the following disease:

Diabetes: Symptoms of a high blood glucose level includes skin conditions like itching, bumps, and patches. Your persistent itch might be a sign of pre-diabetes.

Blood Diseases: Itchy skin may be as a result of blood diseases like non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Kidney Disease: Kidney malfunction can lead to waste build up in the blood, which can cause itching. Someone suffering from kidney failure could have urea deposits known as uremic frost on their skin.

Liver Disease: Itchy skin is a symptom of serious liver diseases like hepatitis C and liver failure.

Thyroid Problem: A dry and itchy skin is a sign of hypothyroidism.

HIV: Skin conditions are some of the many HIV symptoms. Skin conditions that could indicate the presence of HIV include psoriasis, dry, and itchy skin.

Cancer: It is rare but not impossible to suffer from itching as a cancer symptom.

Nerve Problems: Itching could be as a result of nerve problems like pinched nerves, shingles, stroke, and multiple sclerosis.

Treatments and Medications

Alternatively, your itchy skin might not be a sign of an underlying disease but rather a reaction to recent treatments or medications. Examples of such treatments include:

Cancer Treatments: Post cancer treatments can cause itching of the body. Cancer treatments that may cause itching include radiation and chemotherapy.

Kidney Dialysis: It is normal to experience itching to some extent after dialysis. The duration of itching varies from patients to patients.

Allergies: Some people have sensitive skin that reacts to allergy by being itchy. Things that can trigger such an allergic reaction include soap, parasite, cosmetics, chemicals, and wool.

Food Allergy: Although rare, itching skin could be as a result of smelling or touching a type of food you are allergic to.

Others are as follows:

  • Estrogen
  • High blood pressure drugs
  • High cholesterol drugs
  • Diuretics
  • Heart rhythm drugs
  • Gout drugs
  • Opioids

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Reaction to Nature

Coming in contact with some parts of nature triggers itching sometimes.

Poison Ivy: It is also known as Toxicodendron Radicans, poison ivy can cause contact dermatitis when in contact with the human body. The condition is characterized by a painful, itchy rash on the skin. The itching and rash effect is caused by Urushiol, a liquid compound present in the sap.

Marine Life: Spending time in water such as a lake, pond, and ocean can come with a price. It may trigger itching of the skin. Factors responsible for this include parasites in water and newly hatched jellyfish.

Mental Health

When the diagnosis fails to show the cause of itching, it might be because the itching is psychological and not real. Certain mental disease can make a patient feel itchy all the time when there’s actually no itching. Examples are:

  • Depression
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Trichotillomania

Bug Bite: Itching can be caused by being bitten by bugs such as bed bugs, lice, and mice.

Age: Skin quality decreases with age, wrinkle skin, saggy skin, and itching are sometimes part of getting old.

Pregnancy: Some women experience itching during pregnancy.

Dehydration: Insufficient body fluid can cause dry skin, which can, in turn, cause itching.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms accompanying itching varies depending on the disease, genetics, and skin type of the patient involved. However, the most common symptoms include:

  • Scaly Skin
  • Cracked skin
  • Redness of skin
  • Bumps
  • Spots
  • Blisters
  • Dry skin


The appropriate treatment for an itchy skin depends on the cause. General itchy skin management is as below:

Stay Hydrated: Especially when the itching has been caused by dehydration, staying hydrated can cure itching.

Mild Soap: You might need to talk to you cosmetician about mild soaps that will be gentle on your skin if a reaction to the soap caused your itching.

Quick Shower: Many people feel a lot better if they take a shower after feeling itchy.

Corticosteroid Cream: They can help reduce skin inflammation and irritation.

Moisturizer: Applying moisturizers to the skin can help alleviate itchy and irritation.

Reduce Stress: Stress can worsen itching and make a very horrible experience. There are a lot of ways to reduce stress, including yoga, meditation, exercise, and acupuncture.

Wear Loose Fitting Clothes: Wearing tight or stuffy clothing can make itching worse. Always wear loose clothing that makes locomotion easy and allows air penetration.

OTC Drugs: Some over the counter medications like Caladryl and Benadryl can improve the itching condition.

Light Therapy: In chronic cases of itching, the body could be exposed to ultraviolet radiation to cure itching.

Oral Medication: Another solution to chronic cases of itching is the oral administration of drugs such as Zoloft and Prozac.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If you are able to identify the cause of your itchy skin, then one of the aforementioned treatments should heal you, however, report a persistent itchy skin that refuses to go especially the one with any of the following symptoms

Weight Loss: If you notice you have dropped some kilogram in body mass while battling with the incessant itch, it is advised to reach out to a doctor as you may be in danger of a serious disease.

Fatigue: If your itchy skin doesn’t make you do much or you get tired after doing a little work, book an appointment with a doctor.

Frequent Urination: If you urinate more frequently than you used to while having itchy skin, see a doctor.

Fever: See your doctor if your itching comes with feverish symptoms

Discoloration /Disfiguration of the Skin: If your skin is disfigured or discolored as a result of itching, see a dermatologist.

Itching is the irresistible urge to scratch the skin, it could be caused by infections, bites, and diseases like kidney and liver diseases. Other factors that can cause itching are pregnancy, age allergies, and reaction to treatments. Treatments of itching vary depending on the cause, the use of moisturizers, shower, mild soaps, staying hydrated, and light therapy. There is nothing wrong with occasional itching, but a persistent itching must be reported to a dermatologist.

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