Hear about ways to manage PBC itching from Dr. Jennifer Pate, Chief of Psychiatry at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
I’m Dr. Jennifer Pate. I’m the Chief of Psychiatry here at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Pruritus is itching due to liver disease. When a liver isn’t functioning normally, substances build up in the bloodstream that cause itching. Unlike a mosquito bite or poison ivy, where you itch that and you feel better, a lot of times people with PBC itch their skin but don’t feel any better.
It’s important that we talk about some strategies using lifestyle changes as well as medications to be able to manage this very bothersome symptom.
To manage itching throughout the day, I would recommend first taking a shower in the morning, and making sure the shower is cool or cold, so as not to aggravate the itching. Then, especially during the summer heat, wear cotton clothing that tends to irritate the itching less.
Try to stay in the cool environment throughout the day, using moisturizers. Then when you’re going to bed at night, be sure to wear cotton pajamas and use cotton bedding, and keeping the bedroom as cool as you possibly can.
But certainly, if you’re having difficulty with itching, talk to your doctor about these various options because the itching due to liver disease is highly treatable.