Table of Contents
- Itch facts
- What is an itch?
- What are associated symptoms and signs of itching (pruritus)?
- What causes itching?
- What causes itching? (Continued)
- How is the cause of itching diagnosed?
- What types of specialists treat itching?
- Should people scratch the itch?
- What are topical itch treatments? Are there any home remedies for itching?
- What are topical itch treatments? Are there any home remedies for itching? (Continued)
- What are oral itch treatments?
- Can itching be prevented?
- When should the doctor be consulted for itching (pruritus)?
- What are possible complications of itching?
- What is the prognosis (outlook) for itching?
Quick GuideRosacea, Acne, Shingles: Common Adult Skin Diseases
How is the cause of itching diagnosed?
As with any condition, a careful medical history and physical examination will suggest to your doctor the particular diagnostic tests that may be needed to determine the cause of itching. Some common causes like dry skin or sunburn may be obvious, while causes such as chronic systemic diseases or conditions may require blood or imaging tests to identify. If a skin condition is responsible for the itch, sometimes a scraping or biopsy may be performed to identify the condition. Nevertheless, many common rashes and skin ailments have a characteristic appearance that may suggest the correct diagnosis.
What types of specialists treat itching?
Because the causes of itch are so varied, many different medical practitioners can be involved in treating itching. Itching is commonly treated by specialists in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, or dermatology. Itching related to allergy may be treated by an allergist or immunologist. Itching related to STDs may be managed by a gynecologist or urologist. An obstetrician-gynecologist may treat women suffering from itching during pregnancy or vaginitis. People with itching due to chronic diseases may be treated by the specialists who manage these conditions, such as endocrinologists, gastorenterologists, nephrologists, oncologists, hematologists, neurologists, and infectious-disease specialists. Some causes of itching are treated by emergency-medicine specialists.
Butler, David F. "Pruritus and Systemic Disease." Medscape.com. Aug. 21, 2014. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1098029-overview>.
Mann, Julianne. "Brachioradial Pruritus." Medscape.com. May 15, 2014. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1355312-overview>.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Cercarial Dermatitis." Jan. 10, 2012.<http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/swimmersitch/faqs.html>.
United States. National Cancer Institute. "Pruritus." Feb. 5, 2014. <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/supportivecare/pruritus/Patient/page1>.