Pruritus is the medical term for itch. Pruritus is often described by patients as more disabling than pain causing a detrimental effect on one’s entire life including sleep, concentration, mood and relationships.
Pruritus can be thought of as a skin disease (or rash) that itches or an itch that over time rashes. This simply analogy used by Dr Nelson helps patients explore if the problem lies with the skin itself e.g. a primary skin disease such as eczema or it is a sensation of itch brought on by an underlying medical ailment.
Skin diseases that are typically very itchy include
- Dermatitis herpetiformis
- Lichen simplex
- Bullous pemphigoid
Underlying medical causes of itch include:
- Medication side effect
- Renal failure
- Liver disease
- Haematological disease including anaemia, lymphoma
- Thyroid disease