CKD Itching

Why am I so Itchy?

June 18, 20242 min read

It's call Pruritis.

Currently, the cause is not known. There are some ideas and theories within the medical community, such as:

  • Long-term inflammation and/or swelling.

  • Dry skin, which is typical for those on dialysis due to the loss of sweat glands

  • High phosphorus levels

  • Hyperparathyroidism

  • High levels of aluminum and magnesium

  • Not attending all dialysis appointments (leading to mineral build-ups)  

Symptoms aren't always the same for everyone.

For some, the itching may be constant; for others, it may be reoccurring or cyclic.

  • Can feel differently; some feel itchy, crawly, or prickly

  • Scratching does not relive the feelings

  • Skin can become dry, raw, and have an uneven skin tone

  • Sleep disturbances are common

  • Hot weather can aggravate it

  • Stress can also contribute

No matter how it feels, it's freaking annoying to deal with!  

Treatment options can be discussed with your doctor. Currently, these are the best options:

  • Attend all dialysis appointments to avoid excessive mineral build-ups

  • Lotions may help

  • Switch soaps and laundry detergents to those made for sensitive skin

  • When bathing or showering, avoid hot water, try cool or lukewarm

  • Use a humidifier in your home, and have a second smaller one in the bedroom as you sleep

  • Avoid scratching, which can make it worse, can damage the skin, and lead to infections

  • Try rubbing or applying a cold, wet cloth to irritating patches

  • Try an oatmeal bath or apply anti-itching creams (thank goodness oatmeal isn't expensive!)

  • Try skin-sensitizing items that you can gently drag or brush over your skin, which will not remove or damage your skin but allow the sensation to aid in relief. There’s probably a word for that, but I chose to use the long, comforting-sounding explanation.

  • Reduce calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and aluminum by following a kidney-friendly diet

  • Have your parathyroid hormones tested and talk with your doctor Antihistamines

  • Ask your doctor about medication options. The FDA has approved a drug that can be administered during hemodialysis (not available for peritoneal)

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How to Eat for CKD

How to Eat for CKD. Learn safe CKD in just six weeks.

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A portion of all book proceeds are donated to American Kidney Fund. Linda also donates to Puerto Rico Rise Up.

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