Pruritus is a medical condition characterized by itchy skin. This is an uncomfortable sensation that forces you to scratch in an attempt to relieve it. Pruritus may be uncomfortable or irritating, and it may only affect a single area of your body or multiple locations. Because aging tends to make skin drier, pruritus is frequently caused by dry skin and is typical in older persons. Whether your skin appears normal or is inflamed, rough, or covered in bumps will depend on what is causing your itching. Scratching too often can result in thick, elevated patches of skin that might bleed or get infected. Some common types of pruritus include:

  • Brachioradial pruritus: Upper arm itching due to injury to the nerves.
  • Nocturnal pruritus: There are a number of reasons why you could experience nighttime itching, such as an adverse reaction to a medication, contact with a skin irritant, or reaction to your body’s normal processes.
  • Senile pruritus: Itching brought on by skin changes that primarily affect those over 65.
  • Pruritus ani: Skin irritants, infections, or hemorrhoids can all cause this itching around your anus.
  • Uremic pruritus: Dialysis patients with renal disease sometimes experience itching as a symptom.

Self-care techniques such as using moisturizers, mild cleansers, and taking warm baths help many individuals feel better. Finding and addressing the cause of itchy skin is necessary for long-term relief. Anti-itch medications taken orally, moist bandages, and medicated lotions are common treatments.


Itching is the primary symptom of pruritus. An itchy feeling is one that makes you want to scratch your skin in order to relieve the discomfort. Skin itching can manifest in localized areas, like the scalp, an arm, or a leg, or it can encompass the entire body. It is possible for skin to become itchy in the absence of other obvious skin changes, or it may include the following:

  • Skin inflammation.
  • Scratch marks
  • Dry or cracked skin
  • Leathery or scaly patches
  • Bumps, spots or blisters
  • Localized pain at the itchy skin.
  • A yellow to white fluid oozes from broken skin, which also doesn’t heal and may have crusty or scaly texture (infection).

Itching can occasionally be severe and long-lasting. The region becomes itchier as you rub or scratch it. Additionally, scratching can exacerbate the itch. Breaking this scratch-itch cycle can be challenging.

If you experience itching that persists beyond two weeks despite self-care efforts, severe itching that disrupts your daily life or sleep, sudden unexplained itching, itching all over your body, or if itching is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as weight loss, fever, or night sweats, it’s important to seek medical attention from a healthcare provider or dermatologist.

If the problem persists after three months of treatment, it’s advisable to see a dermatologist to get checked for skin disease.


The causes of pruritus includes:

  • Skin conditions: Pruritus could result to inflammation or swelling within the body. Examples include dermatitis, xerosis (dry skin), psoriasis, scabies, burns, scars, insect bites, and hives.
  • Internal diseases: A condition such as liver disease, renal disease, anemia, diabetes, thyroid issues, and some tumors may be the cause of pruritus throughout the entire body. Among other things, this could involve hormonal changes hormone shifts or age-related natural changes to your body.
  • Nerve disorders: Itching is a result of nerve injury or conditions of the nervous system. Herpes zoster, pinched nerves, and multiple sclerosis are a few examples.
  • Psychiatric conditions: Psychiatric conditions or conditions affecting the brain can cause itching. Depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and OCD are a few examples.
  • Irritation and allergic reactions: Among other things, wool, chemicals, and soaps can irritate the skin and result in rashes and itching. A material, like cosmetics or poison ivy, might occasionally trigger an allergic reaction. Itchy skin can also result from drug reactions to certain medications, such as opioid drugs used to alleviate pain.
  • Environmental: An irritant in your environment causes itching. Clothing materials, insect bites, medicine reactions, temperature or touching something uncomfortable, could all be examples of this.

Risk factors

Everyone will experience pruritus at some point in their lives. Everybody experiences the severity and frequency differently. Pruritus may be more likely to strike if you:

  • People who are at the age of 65 years older.
  • Experience itching due to an underlying medical problem, such as dermatitis, thyroid disease, kidney disease, or anemia.
  • Those who are undergoing dialysis.
  • Pregnant women.