It’s virtually continuous and can strike anywhere on the body. It is often much worse at night, and has made it difficult to sleep. Imagine itching all over, the urge to scratch at the skin but with limited relief. This is one of the many effects of Chronic Kidney Disease.
There are no obvious rashes or breaks in the skin as you might find in Eczema or Psoriasis, though the scratching can draw blood. Although it can strike anywhere, the worst is on the lower legs and middle of the back. Often this is worse at night when lying in bed – the legs get hot which makes it worse. Unfortunately I feel the cold and so sleeping above the duvet is not an option either.
The cause of all this itching is the build up of toxins (creatinine) in the body which would ordinarily be removed by the kidneys. This is exacerbated by the medication (Furosemide) which is needed to control water retention. A side effect of the medication in some people is skin irritation, but the drug is needed as yet again my kidney does not function properly. It can be made worse by Phosphate build up but for me this is not an issue.
The application of an aqueous cream can help but it isn’t always practical. However, my most useful gadget is a back scratcher – allowing me to scratch the most inaccessible itches.
I am told that when dialysis starts the itching will subside – for that I can’t wait. I go into hospital for a day operation to create a Fistula on 2nd November. For now I need to have a good scratch!