By: Apeksha Ekbote, Msc, RD, Chief Dietician, NephroPlus
Itchy,dry skin is a common symptom among chronic kidney disorder or dialysis individuals. This condition is primarily called uremic pruritus. It can happen in different parts of the body for different individuals and at different times which is perfectly normal. Some experience it during/after dialysis and some experience it on an everyday basis. What is important to understand is what is the cause of this itchy, dry skin?
Dry skin in chronic kidney disease can be due to any of these causes: –
- Limited fluid intake or fluid loss: – Dialysis treatment removes extra fluid in your body and due to the treatment of restricting fluids, one may have itchy and dry skin as there is not enough moisture present in your body
- High Phosphorus levels: – An increase in your serum phosphorus levels can also lead to pruritus or itchy skin. This particularly happens when excess phosphorus binds with the calcium in your blood leading to itchy skin. Phosphate binders prescribed by your nephrologist will help you ease the itchiness if the cause is high serum phosphorus.
- Not enough dialysis: – Too much or too little dialysis can also lead to itchy skin.
- Certain toiletries or cleaning products
- Having overactive parathyroid glands (Hyperparathyroidism)
- Neurological issues
How can itchy skin be treated?
- Limit your intake of dairy products to 300ml per day and also restrict consumption of non-vegetarian foods to twice a week. Strictly avoid small fishes eaten with bone and Red meat which are high in phosphorus
- Select a good skincare routine, with daily cleansing and moisturizing. Ask your nephrologist or physician which moisturizers work best for you.
- Avoid dry environments
- Wearing loose, non-irritating clothing made of natural fabrics e.g. cotton
Take the treatment which suits your skin the best. Make sure you keep your skin hydrated, soft and supple at all times to avoid itching, redness and uneasiness.