If your skin itches all the time, your body could be trying to tell you that you have liver disease. Find out the symptoms and treatment of liver problems.
Do you have constantly itchy skin? Skin that makes you feel like scratching day and night? Did you know that chronic itchy skin can sometimes be a sign of something more serious?
In this article we will explore – liver disease – and how itching and liver problems often go hand in hand. If you’re presently wondering if itchy skin is an important health issue – and what can you do about it…read on! Note: Always check with your doctor to be 100% certain about your particular health situation!
One of the many symptoms of chronic liver disease is persistently itchy skin. Not everyone with liver disease will experience itchy skin, and itchy skin isn’t always indicative of the disease, but it’s something to be aware of.
With liver disease, you might notice a localized itch, like on your elbow or ankle, or you might experience itchiness all over your body. Regardless, the constant itch can be quite distracting and make it frequent scratching hard to resist.
The occasional itch isn’t a big deal, but constant, unrelenting itching can become quite a nuisance and even a serious health concern.
You’ll rarely notice itching in any alcohol-related liver disease or fatty liver diseases. Instead, it’s associated with primary sclerosing cholangitis, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, or primary biliary cirrhosis.
There have been many medical studies conducted to determine the cause of itching as it results to liver disease. There are a couple of factors that come into play:
Itching can become worse during pregnancy if hormone replacement therapy is involved.
Some liver disease patients also have high histamine levels which can lead to excessive itching.
Serotonin levels can affect itch perception. Patients with liver disease that begin taking an SSRI often notice a reduction in itchiness.
Again, these are just possibilities and the research concerning the similarities over liver disease and itching is ongoing.
In most cases, the itching associated with liver disease won’t go away or improve without intervention. Thankfully it’s a side effect that can be treated.
Since the causes of liver disease-related itchiness aren’t completed known, there’s no way to say for sure what kind of treatment will suit each person.
Your doctor might recommend a treatment method and then follow up with you to see how it’s working. You may have to try out several treatments or a combination of many at once to find long-term relief.
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As much as you’ll be tempted to scratch that itchy skin, it’s important to resist the urge. Scratching can make the itch much worse.
If you have to keep short fingernails to prevent too much damage to your skin from constant scratching, do that. If the itch is so bad that you scratch your skin a lot in your sleep, you might want to consider wearing gloves to bed at night.
There are some things you can do to relieve the itch without scratching your skin. Here are a few suggestions to ease the itch:
You can also apply anti-itch topicals, either over-the-counter options or prescription ointments and creams that your doctor recommends. Just make sure to heed the directions each time.
In addition to topical treatments, your doctor might recommend oral treatments as well.
Liver disease and itching associated with the disease can be relieved by topical and oral treatments, but did you know that many patients seek out light therapy as well?
Light therapy, or phototherapy, exposes the affected skin to specific types of light as a way to promote healing and relief.
Sometimes treatment doesn’t work with liver disease and itching and patients’ lives are severely affected. When constant itching persists it can lead to impaired quality of life, and anxiety and depression. Even if your liver is still functioning, you might want to discuss the possibility of a future liver transplant with your doctor.
Whether or not you’re a candidate for consideration will depend on a number of things. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options either for a liver transplant or long-term relief from your symptoms.
As mentioned, liver disease is only sometimes accompanied by itching. Itching can develop early on in the disease before you’re even aware you have problems with your liver. In fact, an itch can develop at any point during the disease.
Having itchy skin says nothing about the prognosis, progression, or severity of liver disease. But if you notice persistent itching day after day, it’s worth getting yourself checked out by your doctor.
Now that you know how liver disease and itching often go hand in hand, you can better empower yourself to improve your skin and your overall well being. Again… please check with your doctor to be 100% certain about your particular health situation!
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