Does Itching Indicate Liver Problems?

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While occasionally itchy skin is normal and can happen for a number of reasons, chronic, unrelieved itching may indicate underlying liver problems. This type of itch will not go away with topical treatments.

Dry Skin

Most of the time, itching indicates nothing more than dryness, according to CNNHealth, so long as it is not accompanied by a rash. However, if your skin looks normal but feels uncontrollably itchy, an internal condition may be the cause. Conditions like liver and kidney problems do not present obvious symptoms in the earlier stages other than itching skin.

Liver Problems and Other Internal Conditions

Itching from liver problems, according to the Mayo Clinic, is all over the body, increases at night, and is not relieved by moisturizing, antihistamines or home remedies for dry skin. This type of whole-body itching could also indicate other internal conditions like celiac disease, iron deficiency anemia, thyroid problems and certain cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma.

Why Liver Problems Make Skin Itch

The uncontrollable itching that comes with liver problems happens when the liver can no longer perform its job of filtering toxins out of the body, according to the University of Illinois Medical Center. As the bile and wastes build up in your blood, they make the skin incredibly itchy, especially at night.

Cure Itchy Skin From Liver Problems

As soon as the condition is identified and treated, the itching sensation should go away. During the treatment process you may ask your doctor to prescribe medications or lotions with topical anesthetics such as lidocaine or benzocaine, or ointments and lotions such as menthol, camphor or calamine to help deal with the itching skin, according to the CNNHealth.

What Else Causes Itchy Skin?

Some common causes of itchy skin, according to the Mayo Clinic, include allergic reaction, skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, a reaction to drugs, or a side effect of viral infections like chicken pox and measles. An antihistamine should help calm down the itching sensation.

Other Symptoms of Liver Problems

Once the liver is damaged to a certain point, it can no longer heal itself and can no longer function. If you notice symptoms other than itching like yellowing skin and whites of the eyes, darkened urine, clay-colored stool, unexplained weight gain or loss and severe fluctuations in mood and sleep, contact a health care professional.