Itching

Itching is an irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch your skin.

Overview

Itching is an irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch your skin. It's an important symptom of many skin conditions (often combined with a skin rash), but can also indicate diseases of the internal organs or the nervous system. Scratching should be avoided, if possible; use cooling and moisturising ointments instead.

Symptoms

Causes and treatment

Causes

Generalised itching without any discernible skin changes

  • Dry skin (also caused by too many showers)
  • Dry skin in the elderly (senile pruritus)
  • Metabolic disorders: liver, kidney or thyroid disorders, diabetes mellitus
  • Pregnancy
  • Psychological stress

Generalised itching with skin rash

Localised itching

Mostly in combination with a skin rash

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Examination of skin (rash, scratch marks)
  • Blood test (search for an underlying disease)
Possible therapies
  • Treatment of underlying disease
  • Treatment of itching (ointments or tablets)

What can I do myself?

  • Cooling compresses, cooling ointments (cold cream)
  • For dry skin, moisturising creams or oil baths
  • In addition to the skin, the triggering condition must also be treated
  • Support with household remedies
  • Cooling compresses with quark or yoghurt; cold affusions
  • Dab the skin with vinegar water (add a little vinegar to cold water)
  • Use mild, pH-neutral soap for washing
  • Evening primrose oil

When to see a doctor?

  • Household remedies don't bring relief
  • Severe psychological strain, sleeping and concentration problems
  • Breathing problems, blood pressure problems
  • Fainting/loss of consciousness
  • Suspicion of a metabolic disorder or contagious disease (list is not exhaustive)
    • Fever, general feeling of being unwell
    • Swollen stomach
    • Bleeding
    • Stool changes
    • Cloudy or red urine
    • Reduced or no urinary output
    • Yellowish discolouration of skin/eyes
    • Involuntary weight changes

Synonyms

itching, pruritis

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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