Sometimes an itch is just an itch. Other times, it may be your body’s way of letting you know that something has gone awry. Sometimes it’s obvious—the itchy bump from a bug bite, the uncomfortable itch of dry skin in winter, or the tickle in your nose when dust blows in your face. At other times, the cause for aggravating itchiness is not so obvious. Check out this list of 12 conditions that can cause itchy skin and see if your body might be trying to get your attention.
12. Kidney Disease
Your kidneys may not be the first thing you think of when you have itchy skin. However, intense itching can be caused by late-stage kidney disease. The kidneys are responsible for removing waste from your bloodstream. The waste and extra water form urine, which then travels to your bladder for removal from your body. When the kidneys fail, waste products build up in your bloodstream, which can lead to severe itching. If severe body itching is accompanied by urination that has changed in color, appearance, or frequency, kidney disease may be the culprit. Other symptoms of kidney disease can include swelling, shortness of breath, fatigue, and nausea.
If you notice that scratching your skin leaves behind raised, red welts, you may have dermatographia. This condition is also referred to as skin writing, as the marks that are left on the skin resemble writing. Dermatographia is a form of hives and results from the allergic reaction that occurs as antibodies are released due to pressure on or irritation of the skin. These welts usually disappear within 20 to 30 minutes. Treatment for dermatographia includes over-the-counter antihistamines. Staying hydrated and keeping the skin moisturized can help prevent flare-ups.