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03/11/2011 01:41 PM

Itching and Cirrhosis

bjlvls
bjlvls  
Posts: 1013
Senior Member

Here it is! The dreaded itch discussion. I know I dread the itch. Here's what we've put together so far:

Many of us have experienced those awful itching and "pins and needles poking your skin" feelings. Itching is close to the number one most viewed topics on the site.

Nobody has pinpointed an exact cause for this yet, but in many cases bile duct blockage is a prime suspect. Keep in mind that what works for one does not necessarily work for another:

Studies have shown that 20oz. of grapefruit juice per day can relieve the itching for many. Check with the doctor or pharmacist first though, because sometimes it will interfere with the absorption of other medications.

Any of the over-the-counter lotions and powders that have camphor and menthol, as active ingredients (1/2 or 1 %) like Sarna or Gold Bond or any of their generics.

Some people say oatmeal baths, but I found them to be even more irritating. The pins and needles feeling was multiplied for me.

Dandruff shampoos with pine tar or coal tar (like T Gel) are good to use as shower gels, but they are very slippery, so put a towel on the shower floor to stand on and a bathmat or towel to get out and dry off on.

Over the counter oral diphenhydramine (Benedryl) seems to help some people. Prescription creams and lotions (Steroids like Elocon, Locoid, or Triamcinolone)

Maximum strength over the counter anti itch creams seem to work just as well. (diphenhydramines like Benadryl and hydrocortizones like Cortaid)

There are some oral prescriptions out there too. Cholestyramine (Questran) is often prescribed but med interaction is a giant factor there, and constipation is often an issue. Some have reported good results with Atarax (hydroxyzine), Xyzal (levocetrizine), and Claritan (loratidine). Again, tell the doctor about every prescription or OTC drug being taken.

And don't overlook common skin infections as a possible cause. Look for red, rashy, hot lesions, and talk to the doctor about treatments.

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03/11/2011 04:27 PM
iwiham1027
iwiham1027  
Posts: 942
Member

Ok most of this stuff is good for the body how about he head (the scalp)????

03/11/2011 05:25 PM
bjlvls
bjlvls  
Posts: 1013
Senior Member

Dandruff shampoos with coal tar or pine tar as the main ingredient.

Massaging the scalp with olive oil, coconut oil or aloe.

After shampoo rinses:

Mix 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar into 1 cup of warm water, then massage into scalp.

Mix a few drops of tea tree oil or peppermint oil into warm water, then massage.

A lot of people have itchy scalps from shampooing too often! Try the vinegar and water rinse instead of shampooing.


03/12/2011 05:59 AM
kacc
kacc  
Posts: 229
Member

The Neutragena tar shampoo is the best for the scalp and for body itching. The cortizone creams also worked well for my husband when his itching was at its worst.

03/12/2011 07:45 AM
mbwheeler
mbwheeler  
Posts: 453
Member

Tar shampoo worked best for Tracy - scalp and body. As Bobbi said, make sure tub floor is secure as it will make it slippery.

03/12/2011 05:23 PM
iwiham1027
iwiham1027  
Posts: 942
Member

Thanks everyone I will try some of those suggestions I appreciate it a lot.

03/14/2011 03:10 PM
misscollins
misscollins  
Posts: 35
Member

I never knew about all of the symptoms/side effects of cirrhosis. My dad has had a "rash" for going on 4 months now, and his doctors kept misdiagnosing it as a rash. They prescribed him tons of different creams, and even antibiotics. Finally it makes sense now that the swelling in his legs/tummy + the itching = cirrhosis. They recently prescribed him a cream that you would use if you have scabies... is this effective for the itching?

03/14/2011 03:58 PM
bjlvls
bjlvls  
Posts: 1013
Senior Member

That's the million dollar question kid! Different things work for different people, and for some it seems nothing works. It's just trial and effort. I had the best luck with a bile-binding prescription drug called Cholestyramine. For me, at least, the itching never completely goes away, but now it's managable with some of the over the counter methods we mention in the posts about itching. If you guys find something that works, please let us know! Bobbi

03/14/2011 04:19 PM
dmanflan
dmanflan  
Posts: 1735
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

Hey Misscollins!

Often times doctors that are otherwise very competent do not know much about the symptoms and complications of liver disease. Even gastrointestinal doctors sometimes do not know some of the specific issues faced by cirrhosis patients. In my dairy entry ELD Rears it's UGLY Face-Everything Starts to Catch Up, I describe my ordeal that started about 5 months after I quit drinking. I'm convinced, now, that part of the reason I had so many problems is that the hospital where I was being treated did not know how to handle this terrible disease. Once I started seeing a hepatologist my health was much more managed.

Hope this helps!

Dennis


03/14/2011 05:24 PM
misscollins
misscollins  
Posts: 35
Member

How do I go about seeing a hepatologist? We have Kaiser... I would think they have them there right? we have seen a gi doctor, who is very nice and thorough, but his next appointment with him is not for 6 months... is that normal? By the way Dennis, I read your diary entry.. it sounds like you've faced a lot and been through some scary stuff, I'm very glad that you got past that and sounds like you are feeling much better (?)... Also, Bobbi,I will def tell you if I find something that makes him stop itching .. I wonder if he can take benadryl?
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