Itchy Skin

What Causes Itchy Skin?

Itchy skin can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose itchy skin, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "itchy skin" as a symptom.  Here are eight possibilities (more below):
  • Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
  • Cirrhosis Of The Liver
  • Liver Congestion
  • Psoriasis
  • Chronic Renal Insufficiency
  • Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects
  • Electrical Hypersensitivity
  • Liver Function Testing Need

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
grooves across fingernails
undigested fat in stools
frequent unexplained nausea
metallic taste in mouth
reasonably controlled diabetes
pale fingernails
ovarian cysts
microcytic red cells
history of herbicide exposure
gallbladder attacks
severe emotional instability
bags under eyes
... and more than 100 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of itchy skin:
Cause Probability Status
Liver Congestion 90% Confirm
Psoriasis 14% Unlikely
Chronic Renal Insufficiency 20% Unlikely
Liver Function Testing Need 5% Ruled out
Electrical Hypersensitivity 5% Ruled out
Aspartame/Neotame Side-Effects 1% Ruled out
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma 0% Ruled out
Cirrhosis Of The Liver 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

In the Skin Symptoms section of the questionnaire, The Analyst™ will ask the following question about itchy skin:
Does your skin tend to itch often, perhaps worse at night?
Possible responses:
→ No / don't know
→ Moderately
→ Severely
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate itchy skin, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Cirrhosis of the Liver

Some people with liver or biliary cirrhosis experience intense itching due to bile products that are deposited in the skin.

Kidney Disease

Excessively dry, persistently itchy skin is a possible symptom of kidney disease.

Liver Function Test Requirement

The reason why patients with liver disease itch is not known, although it is commonly believed that some substances accumulate in the blood as a result of a poorly functioning liver and thus cause itching.  A simple blood test can exclude liver disease as a cause for the itching, as liver enzymes are often elevated with liver involvement.