How To Overcome Dry, Itchy Skin And Allergies That Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Often Face

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People suffering with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), especially those on dialysis often have problems with itchiness and dryness of their skin including allergies.  Nature Clinical Practice Nephrology Journal notes that, "Skin disorders associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) can markedly affect a patient's quality of life by negatively impacting their mental and physical health." Many CKD sufferers choose to use over-the-counter creams and lotions to try to relieve the irritation, but KidneyBuzz.com strongly suggests that you check with your Nephrologists before using any of them. Besides, there are other less expensive ways to consider.

Recommended Reading: Solutions to Relieve Skin Itching for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients while on Dialysis 

 A majority of CKD patients, specifically those on dialysis, may experience itching at some point. Some feel itchy in one area and others feel itchy all over. While there have been studies to understand what exactly causes itchiness in CKD patients, there is no universal cause or solution that can be attributed to every patient. However, a common cause of itching has been attributed to high levels of phosphorus. If you are on dialysis limit foods that are high in phosphorous and remember to take phosphorus binders with every meal and snacks to help prevent or stop itching. Try to maintain a phosphorus level at 5.5 or less. Avoid scratching an itch so you will not break your skin. If this happens, keep the area clean to prevent germs from causing further infection.

Recommended Reading: Can "Too Many" Phosphorus Binders be Harmful to Chronic Kidney Disease Patients? 

 Sometimes itching is caused by an allergic reaction to products you use every day. Even if you have never had an allergic reaction to a product before, you may suddenly develop sensitivity. Antihistamines are used to treat allergies and have helped to relieve itching. You will need to check with your Nephrologists to make sure trying these products will be right  for you. For those on dialysis, if itching occurs at the beginning of dialysis treatments, you could have an allergy to dialysis blood tubing, the type of heparin being used or other elements associated with the treatment. Let your Nurses and Nephrologists know so changes can be made.

Recommended Reading: Skipping and Shortening Dialysis Treatment: A Chronic Kidney Patient Perspective 

Dry skin is another common condition for people who suffer with CKD. Kidney failure may make changes in the sweat glands and oil glands, which causes the skin to dry out. Dry skin can cause skin wounds to heal slower than they regularly would as well as itching. To prevent or treat dry skin DaVita HealthCare Partners recommend that those with CKD avoid long, hot showers or baths as they can dry the skin even more. Also, look for soaps that have natural ingredients without harsh perfumes and chemicals. A moisturizing soap for sensitive skin can be a good choice. There are also bath products made with oatmeal created for dry, itchy skin that can be found at drug stores.  Also, consider applying a moisturizer, high-water content gel, lotion or cream after bathing, while the skin is still damp. Avoid creams or lotions with alcohol. Ask your Nephrologists about dry skin treatments that are advisable for you to try.   You may have to try a few products before you find one that works best for you.

Recommended Reading: Phosphorus New Found Impact On The Successful Survival Of Kidney Transplant And Dialysis Patients 

 Itching can also be psychological and a result of stress, anxiety, or other emotional problems. These are just the most common reasons for itching and what may be done to help ease the issue. Many of the solutions have no significant side effects so they may be worth a try. Again, before you begin any treatment, always discuss it with your Nephrologists.

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References:

"Itching Symptoms, Causes, Treatment - What Are Associated Symptoms and Signs of Itching? - MedicineNet." Http://www.medicinenet.com/. MedicineNet

Kuypers DR. "Skin Problems in Chronic Kidney Disease." National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine.

"Skin Problems and Dialysis." Http://www.davita.com/. - DaVita.