Pruritus Causes And Treatment

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Pruritus Causes And Treatment. Pruritus is a medical term meaning itchy skin. Very commonly, it can come from multiple causes. In this article, you will read what is pruritus, what are the causes of pruritus, what are factors that promote pruritus, and how to treat pruritus.

What Is Pruritus?

In medical terms, pruritus (from the Latin pruritus ) includes all the itching of the skin. It starts without the pain, but leads to scratching of the skin and therefore results in skin lesions. It can have many causes, ranging from viral infection (herpes) to skin irritation, and eczema to the simple bite of a mosquito. However, these disorders can be grouped into two categories: skin lesions and skin diseases.

It begins with an unpleasant sensation of itching, associated or not with a feeling of tightness. The itching can be local or generalized (i.e. Occurring all over the body), sometimes in the form of plaque.

The sensation of the need to scratch arises from nerve endings present on the surface of the skin, by stimulation of small specific receptors. Transmitted by nerve impulses, it sends information about the itching sensation to the brain, via certain neurotransmitters: histamine, serotonin and prostaglandin. These activate the sensory, emotional and motor areas of the brain, creating the need to scratch in the patient. “Hence the vicious “itch-scratch” circle, which can cause scratching skin lesions, making pruritus and itching worse.

Pruritus Causes And Treatment

What Are The Causes Of Pruritus?

The causes of pruritus can be extremely diverse and of varying severity. A skin and medical examination may be necessary to determine the patient’s origin of pruritus.

Pruritus can be associated with different situations and can be linked to a local problem on the skin, for example:

-An infection: viral (herpes, shingles, chickenpox, etc.), mycotic or bacterial (impetigo) which creates a skin reaction.
-Skin sensitivity or inflammation: eczema, psoriasis, hives, lichen planus, dry skin, atopic dermatitis, etc.
-Irritation due to the environment: allergies to certain materials and products (cosmetic substances, metals, textiles, food or drugs), irritation due to heat or humidity which can create dryness or mycosis.
-A reaction to insects, parasites or plants: mosquitoes, fleas, bees, wasps, lice, or even nettles.

Various health problems like liver disease (hepatic cholestasis), kidney failure, diabetes, blood cancer, gland disease thyroid can also induce skin dryness, lesions or itching.

It can be a neurological disease. In this case, the skin receptors will be stimulated by stress that is linked to this neurological disease. This can evoke depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD).

What Are The Factors That Promote Pruritus?

Stress will promote the stimulation of skin receptors and lead to more scratching. The more the scratching, the more serious the skin lesions. Stress is noted as aggravating the condition of the skin. The doctor can also prescribe low-dose antidepressants for this. The dryness of the skin is also a factor favouring pruritus and its aggravation. You should be aware of what favours the stimulation of the receptors and treat it accordingly.

In case of problematic itching, the dermatologist suggests various solutions to learn how to reduce the stimulation of these receptors quickly:

-Prefer loose cotton clothes. Avoid tight ones and synthetic clothing.
-Limit yourself to one shower a day, carefully moisturizing the skin afterwards.
-Rinse the skin with cold water, especially the itchy area.
-Perform skin massages with suitable vegetable oil or moisturizing cream.

Treatment Of Pruritus:

Pruritus being a symptom, after a health examination, the doctor will first consider a treatment targeting the cause of the symptom, then reduce the aggravating factors as much as possible until the itching decreases. The drugs prescribed will depend on the origin of the pruritus.

For example, pruritus due to an allergy is treated by administering an antihistamine. For a virus, an antiviral is prescribed. If the pruritus is linked to a parasite, an antiparasitic is given. An antifungal cream is used against mycosis. Finally, in the case of pruritus and skin that feels tight and itchy, occasionally or chronically, it is possible to add emollient treatments.

featured image source: https://www.journalmed.de/

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