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Itching (pruritus) is an unpleasant sensation causing you to respond by scratching.

Your reaction to itching can be distressing, cause discomfort and damage to your skin.

Symptoms of generalised itching without obvious rash or skin lesions could be caused by anything from dry skin (xerosis) to cancer (carcinoma) so it’s important to investigate if your symptoms persist.

Common non-cancerous (malignant) causes may include drug reactions, scabies (tiny mites), and primary skin diseases. Older patients may experience itching simply due to dry skin.

Itching can also be a symptom of chronic renal disease, liver disease, blood disorders, endocrine disorders and some conditions that cause iron deficiency. Infections and malignant conditions that can exhibit itching include AIDS, Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma and leukaemia. Some types of cancer in various organs (i.e. stomach, pancreas, lung, colon, brain, breast, and prostate) sometimes produce generalised itching. Itching can also be a symptom of infection or fungus, local tumours, haemorrhoids, anal fissures, fistula discharge, or surgical wound drainage.

There are many methods for treating itching. After receiving the results of your assessment your consultant will recommend the course of medication or treatment that is appropriate to your own situation.

Ipswich Hospital

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
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