What is pruritus?
The word “pruritus” refers to itchiness. This symptom can occur in isolation, or can be the result of another condition. The most common cause of pruritus is dry skin. Skin disease, pregnancy, and medications can also cause pruritus. On very rare occasions, pruritus can be due to cancer. If itching lasts six or more weeks, pruritus is considered chronic.
Who gets pruritus?
Certain groups of people are more susceptible to pruritus, including:
- The elderly
- Atopic patients (seasonal allergies, hay fever, asthma, and eczema)
- People with diseases, including diabetes, HIV infection/AIDS and various types of cancer
- Pregnant women
- Patients with kidney failure on dialysis