Going mad with itching: Hi all, Just... - British Liver Trust

British Liver Trust
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Going mad with itching


Hi all,

Just wondered if anyone knows what triggers their itching and how they relieve it?

Last few weeks my itching has become intolerable it's driving me to despair

I have been to my Gp at least once a week regarding this, been prescribed all sorts of meds and creams and nothing works. I have bathed in Luke warm water with bicarbonate soda,taken ursodoxycholic acid tabs you name it I've tried it, red blotchy skin on my arms,buttocks,legs, just cannot get relief for a minute,it's easy to say don't scratch but my god you have no choice,just feel like giving up,no quality of life anymore,sorry for being so down but it's just wearing me down emotionally,don't see my consultant until end of June so have to rely on my Gp at the mo,he's a nice guy but not sure how well informed he is regarding cirrhosis,anyway that's my rant over thanks for reading take care

20 Replies


It may be that you have a narrowing of the bile duct - that causes itchy skin all over - I had it for 3 weeks and was coated in cream e45 anti itch and calamine - it worked for me - I was told to cake myself in cream then I wrapped myself in cling film - which then subdues the itchiness as its then working.

My skin ws v soft and although it didn't get rid of it altogether I had to have surgery.

See your consultant ASAP - email them or ring them and if no avail turn up at clinic

Gd luck

Hi gizmo, not sure how advanced your cirrhosis is but if you have end stage liver disease as I had then there is nothing that will cure the itching. I'm under consultants in Birmingham and have recently had a liver transplant. If you look up my post on blogs I have detailed how I went from hep c to cirrhosis to liver cancer to transplant. I was the same constantly itching and kept asking for help I was given pills and some sachets that when put with water went like wallpaper paste ( can't recall name at mo) and this done nothing. I used to make myself bleed with scratching and put germolene and plasters over cuts each night. I found taking 2 or 3 laxido sachets each night ( laxatives) which your doc can prescribe you helped as it rids the body of toxins in your poo that your liver can't rid you off, my consultant advised me I should be going 3 times a day. I also put e45 cream on My legs and ankles at night. These help but nothing will stop it I'm afraid now you have cirrhosis apart from a liver transplant.

Any help or advice you need please ask as I've probably had every procedure and ailment brought on by Liver problems. I've had hep c,done the triple therapy,had cirrhosis ,cancer and transplant. I've had liver biopsy, MRIs, endoscopes in stomach, main lines put to heart to see if heart ok, water tablets to rid fluid in legs and belly, scans, groin stabs,blood transfusions when billyrubin was low the list is endless .

Hope this helps

AlFinio in reply to Dan68

I got liver cirrhosis plus chronic pancreatic. Few months ago I had jaundice. Now. For the last week I got that NEVER-ENDING ITCHING. !!!  and,  oh boy,  does make me crazy!!!!! Doc prescribed antihistamine. Don't seem to work.  Will see him probably back on Monday for sth else! What do u recommend???? Especially for the night itch? Please help

My husband was prescribed a cream:

Elocon cream/0.1%mometasone furdate

This worked really well... Got it from the GP.

Pear Shaped:)

In my case a lot a lactulose you live in the loo but eases the itching as it gets rid of the toxins.

I never have found a cream that really worked but E45 is the best.

I know what you mean I went a year without sleeping at one point, but as condition has improved a little so has the itching.

So look at the thing that help you reducing salt etc. as the itching is the result not a cause

I wish I could help more, but get back to the doctor and tell them very clearly how bad its got!

Thanks guys for all your input will try your suggestions

I'm so sorry you're going through this. Before transplant I was the same. I literally ripped off my skin and people said "oh, don't scratch!" Not that easy! I took warm/hot baths, tried the Aveeno caloidal bath oats, diprobase cream (which only kept the skin from tearing), had anti itch histomine sprays, piriton, Questran, everything under the sun.

My triggers were the heat (except for the bath, weirdly), so my husband got me a high-power fan and a pillow block to elevate my legs (it's like a foam triangle), and my other trigger was fats--literally any type of lipid, even olive oil. Meats (because of the animal fats), peanut butter, olive oil--ANY lipid. The liver cannot process them so they end up in the skin along with upped bilirubin.

I wish I could take it away. I know where you are, and you don't deserve it.

Another thing that helped: aqueous cream with 2% menthol. It has a cooling effect.

Hi Gizmo.

I found that natural coconut oil worked quite well for me. Got it at the 99p shop so very affordable. It helped to lubricate the skin so I didn't break the skin when scratching. Unfortunately, itching comes with the territory and there's not much you can do to alleviate it.

All the best.

Thanks everyone for your replies,

Nice to know that people are kind enough to take the time to support me,

Maybe one day I will improve health wise so thanks again.

Best wishes to you all

paulivicky in reply to Gizmo326

Hi gizmo, i have exactly the same problem, am awaaitin a transplant,it drives me to tears,the only things that seem to help me is going to the loo as much as possible to get rid of the toxins iv tried every cream lotoin etc etc, but my wife got me a big fan which when in the house is running constantly,as much coolair as you can get bud

Hi had the same but as others have said E45 has been good for me. My consultant also said, try and keep the skin cool, I was really bad at night with my feet and legs, I put on E45 then keep my feet on top of the covers. My consultant said witch is so true, your GP is not a liver specialist, they no little bits of lots of things, when they study to be a doctor they do all of it in the hospital, and after they come to the end they then choose a field that they want to go into. That is why we have consultants in there chosen fields. Listen to your consultant and ask things, write them down before you go. They know best about your liver and all that comes with it good luck.

I had this itch all over my body. Ask your doctor for atarax it's work grate I hardly itch with them but the itch is under your skin it's nothing like a normal itch, u can't scratch it away it won't work. I have no nails and I tore my legs to bits with scratching. So ask for atarax. Good luck

It's from bile acid salts accumulating at your ankles and other areas. I had sooooo bad. My ankles are very itchy as we speak

Also ask for Atarax. I had 2 transplants back in 92. I've done it ALL as have some on this thread. It's a nightmare when you're so itchy and NO ONE UNDERSTANDS How horrible it is, my kids suffered as daddy didn't want to play with the much, but definaltely a bile duct issue. Have MRCP if the can STENT a closed duct. That is your best shot

I had a terrible rash that started in January I went to three doctors and the first one said it was due to hot shower. I just wasted my time with that one. My rash kept getting worse and worse (face only) the dermatologist prescribed Fluocinolone Aceonide Oil. It brought great relief, so much so that I was using it all the time as it brought relief only when it was on. Unfortunately it thinned my skin to dangers level. The doctor forgot to let me know that it thins the skin. But it was my fault as I did use way more than prescribed. I noticed that stress and caffeine would flare up the rash.

Anyway, after 10 months of miserable , nonstop itch I went for allergy tests and found out that my blood pressure medication (metropolol) was causing the itch. I have been using this medication for 5 years and never had a problem. Go figure…anyway switched medication and have been itch free for 2 months now.

I hope my experience can be of help.

My husband legs have been extremely itchy and broken out. Nothing had seemed to work. So I decided to give foderma serum try and it works great.

Dream cream from lush really helped my husband's itchy skin

Granny doll

This post is years old - literally..... 😕

Hidden in reply to ThreeSmiles

7yr itch. Time to move on. 🙄

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