Itchy skin is an uncomfortable, irritating sensation that makes you want to scratch. Also known as pruritus, itchy skin is often caused by dry skin.
It’s common in older adults, as skin tends to become drier with age. Depending on the cause of your itchiness, your skin may appear normal, red, rough, or bumpy. Repeated scratching can cause raised thick areas of skin that might bleed or become infected.
Many people find relief with self-care measures such as moisturizing daily, using gentle cleansers, and bathing with lukewarm water. Long-term relief requires identifying and treating the cause of itchy skin. Common treatments are medicated creams, moist dressings, and oral anti-itch medicines.
The early signs of liver problems can be the same as those of other diseases, so it’s important to talk to your doctor when you have them.
If you have liver disease, you might have higher levels of bile salt accumulating under the skin, which may cause itching. The itching typically occurs on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands.
Other causes of itchy skin include:
- Skin conditions.
Examples include dry skin (xerosis), eczema (dermatitis), psoriasis, scabies, parasites, burns, scars, insect bites, and hives.
- Internal diseases.
Itching on the whole body might be a symptom of an underlying illness, such as liver disease, kidney disease, anemia, diabetes, thyroid problems, multiple myeloma, or lymphoma.
- Nerve disorders.
Examples include multiple sclerosis, pinched nerves, and shingles (herpes zoster).
Examples also include Psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression.
- Irritation and allergic reactions.
Wool, chemicals, soaps, and other substances can irritate the skin and cause rashes and itching. Sometimes the substance, such as poison ivy or cosmetics, causes an allergic reaction. Also, reactions to certain drugs, such as narcotic pain medications (opioids) can cause itchy skin.
Ascites are a fluid buildup in your belly that comes with bad liver scarring called cirrhosis. Damage to your liver results in high blood pressure in your liver veins along with rapid weight gain, trouble breathing, and easy bruising.
Your doctor will probably tell you to try a low-salt diet and prescribe medications called diuretics that help your body get rid of water. If that doesn’t help, there are procedures to remove the fluid. If nothing helps, you may need a liver transplant.
- Easy Bleeding and Bruising
Your liver makes the things that help your blood clot. When it’s damaged, it can’t make enough. You might start to bleed easily and have trouble stopping it. Or you might bruise easily.
Tell your dentist or other doctors before you have any medical procedure. Treat cuts with pressure bandages and get to the doctor right away. In an emergency, you’ll get platelets to replace what you lost and Vitamin K to help your blood clot.