British Liver Trust
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Can what you eat contribute to the itching??

Hello all,just wondered whether or not the food you eat has an effect on the itching?

I ask this because today I've been ok however after dinner tonight the itching started with a vengeance. I had chicken breast with BBQ sauce,broccoli swede mash and a tinned tomato

About one hour later the damned itching started and won't stop.If anyone can help please reply. Thank you all.

7 Replies

I am under the impression that too much potassium may cause itching (tinned tomato?)


Yes there is a link between liver and itching, but there is also a link between histamine sensitivity and itching - the meal you describe has a very high histamine content, it is possible that has contributed. It might be worth your while checking out the symptoms/causes of histamine sensitivity and seeing if the foods listed affect you, and steer clear if they do.


Hi Gizmo. Did you try any of the anti-itch tips on your other thread? AnAn suggested anti-histamines, Findasolution suggested topical creams, I suggested dietary changes in case the itch was a bile/enzyme problem (you say you have ALD, do you know if you have compensated or decompensated cirrhosis, do you have your bilirubin levels from liver function blood tests?), Andromeda recommended different anti-histamine tablets and gave you drug/brand names.


Hi Bolly ,I haven't seen the other thread but will look after, I have Decompensated liver due alcohol, saw my consultant Monday he prescribed Destolit and said they would help relieve the itching so far no effect if anything a bit worse, driving me mad!! The consultant, when asked what the prognosis was said " if I carry on making the progress. I have so far then it's very good".my husband asked about going on the transplant list and he said it wasn't neccassary,so who knows the thing that bothers me though, is that he saved my life no doubt, he is a consultant in general medicine I have not seen a liver specialist, dietician, so am confused as to my position. I don't think there is a liver specialist at my local hospital,just have to go along with what's offered.thanks for the reply


Absolutely there is a connection (and I am so sorry you are suffering!)—keep to lean meats always, and also what liverish said about histamine sensitivity.


Hi Gizmo. Not heard of Destolit so looked it up - its for dissolving gallstones, do you have gallstones? Ironically a side effect of Destoli is, guess what, itching! The drug I was thinking of is cholestyramine which removes bile acids from the body, but I'm not a doctor so what do I know!

Did you get referred by your GP to this 'general medicine' consultant. It would probably be better if you were seeing a hepatologist, or at least a gastroenterologist. From my experience (and I'm no expert on the NHS) once you have been referred from primary (your GP) to secondary (hospital specialist) its not so easy to go back to GP and ask to be referred again. In theory you could ask your consultant to hand you over to a hepatologist - I did, and it worked. I got switched from a gastroenterologist to a hepatologist. You dont have to go along with whats offered, you can be referred to specialists at hospitals outside your area, for example people go to top London hospitals for treatment even though they dont live any where near London, so dont settle for less than what you feel is right for you.

I've never seen a dietician on the NHS - I think they are very stretched and tend to see people at end of life, i.e cancer patients or very sick patients in hospital. But you can read up for yourself on British Liver Trust website and other sources as to what is a liver friendly dient. Protein is good (as Sunnyside says) but lean meats only. As little salt as possible. Cut down on sugar too. Try to eat fresh not processed, as processed foods are full of hidden salt and sugar.

Try antihistamines if your doctor will allow, cool baths, loose clothing and moisturise skin - Aveeno products are good for people with rashes caused by medication allergies, but I suspect your itching is because you have a problem with bile acids.


You got 5 useful answers on your "Anyone know how to relieve the itching due to ALD,please It's driving me mad, I've tried CALAMINE but not very effective" thread. Have a look at it again and try some of what people suggested.


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