Pruritis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Pruritis is a skin condition which is not associated with single disease. It is symptom of some underlying disease rather than a disease itself. Pruritis means a bothersome itch. Pruritis is a medical term for excessive itching. A sensation that provokes to scratch is termed as pruritis. Condition of pruritis can not be ignored as it causes lots of discomfort and frustration in the person suffering with it. When it is in severe form, it can lead to loss of sleep, depression and anxiety. Pruritis can be experienced by people of any age group.

What Causes Pruritis:

 Exactly what causes itch is not known yet but one can identify things which act as trigger to itching. Process of itching within the body is complex one and can not be understood easily.

Roots of itching originate in the nervous system. Certain chemicals called histamines trigger the reaction in nerves when these chemicals come in contact of skin. These signals get processed in the brain.

Pruritis is often the part of symptoms of many skin diseases. Sometimes, it is manifestation of any internal process. Sometimes there is neither any skin disease nor any internal process. In that case, pruritis may be due to any faulty processing in the nervous system regarding itch sensation.

Many skin diseases like hives, eczema or atopic dermatitis have itching with rashes as their prominent symptom. In some skin disorders, pruritis is the only symptom without any visible rash.

With growing age, people get dry skin which has no moisture retaining capability. This kind of skin is very itchy, especially in winters and there is no rash seen. If skin is mildly dry or is moisturized properly, there is no or little itching; pruritis can be controlled in that case. There are some parasitic conditions on the body which prove to be very itchy like scabies or lice. If you have dandruff on your scalp, then too you feel uncomfortable due to itching.

There may be pruritis due to many internal problems like in case of kidney failure. Some kind of liver diseases such as hepatitis C or thyroid problems may also cause pruritis. Pruritis may be symptom associated with some blood disorders like iron deficiency anemia and multiple myeloma. Sometimes lymphomas also have pruritis as one component. Pruritis may be the result of some neurological disorders like strokes or pinched nerves. When wound heals then too person feels itching at the site of wound.

Anything can cause itching like pruritis can be an allergic reaction to something you wear or an insect bite, sunburn.

Person wants to get rid of itching by instant scratching which is the normal reaction to an itch. Normal feeling of itching passes on within few seconds.

What Happens when you constantly scratch?

 Pruritis can cause many problems due to tendency of constant itching. Skin gets damaged on the area where you constantly scratch to relieve itching. As much you scratch, you feel to scratch even more. It makes your irritated, frustrated and skin from that portion becomes red. That area of skin can get cuts and bruises due to scratching. Any king of skin infection can take place. People with severe itching cannot have even good nights sleep due to itching.

Diagnosis :

It is very difficult to find out exact cause of itching but doctor may prescribe some tests to find out what is the underlying disease or skin disorder which is causing pruritis. Doctor can recommend blood test and skin biopsy to identify the disease. Doctor may look for any allergic reaction causing itching.

Treatment for Pruritis:

For treatment of pruritis, doctor has to identify the fundamental reason for pruritis as told above. If itching is due to any skin disorder like eczema, hives or any other, in that case, itching can be relieved after treatment of that disease. If any internal disease is causing the itch, person is prescribed oral antihistamine medication or sometimes ultraviolet light treatments are given to treat the itch.

Self care is also a part of treating pruritis. There may be any reason of itching, but you can follow some general measures. Avoid hot water baths; use lukewarm water only. Limit your bath time. Keep your skin moist, using natural moisturizers like shea butter, coconut oil. Moisturize immediately after bathing. Avoid harsh soaps and detergents.

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