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PBC Foundation
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Sudden extremely itchy red swollen hands

Hello. I have been experiencing the sudden onset of extreme itchy hands. Both hands go red and swell within minutes, but the itch is extreme. It only happens once every few weeks and does not seem to be associated with touching anything as each time I’m doing something different. It’s not hives.

I treat with an ice pack and cortisone cream which helps. It take a few hours to go down completely. It’s just so weird. The doctor has no idea. Tested for Raynauds, but negative and I know it’s not that as my sister has it

Has anyone else had any luck with a diagnosis of same. Thanks

8 Replies

Hi Demojea

I also had the red itchy palms which spread to the soles of my feet before then being all over my body. The itch was so extreme and constant. I also tried hydrocortisone cream which helped a little but it only made the skin thinner which then in turn broke easily with the scratching and bled.

After several years my GP then realised it wasn't a skin condition and referred me to a Consultant where i was diagnosed with PBC. After trying different types of medication for the itch I finally have relief by taking Urso and Rifampicin. My Consultant explained that the itch was due to the toxins not being processed properly by the liver and therefore getting into my bloodstream.

My suggestion would be to get your LFT's checked.

Hope this is of help.



Thanks. I actually did have a LFT three months ago which came back abnormal, so we repeated them about three weeks ago, and they had gone back to within normal range. My bilirubin is always high though ( Gilbert’s syndrome)

The thing is that these events have always been first thing in the morning.

I will mention to the doc next I see her, but of course you can never present the symptoms except by photos which I will now take each time.

Thanks for your help.

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According to British Liver Trust, that is true about the itch. Not bile acids but chemicals/toxins being retained in the body/blood stream👍


After getting my blood taking numerous times over the last few months I firmly believe that when you are itching more then usual your liver enzymes must be higher and your having a flare up I noticed when I'm itching more my numbers have been higher also if they are having trouble diagnosing you should tell your doctor to order a cat scan so they can see if you have any other conditions If you read my post from yesterday it will give you insight on why I believe a cat scan is important


Thanks for the advise. I will see if I can get a new blood test next time I get the itchy hands.


I get red patches on the back of my hands, waist and sometime my legs. It is unbearable. I apply Cortisone cream for a couple of days then it will go away. I thought it maybe food intolerance or allergic to some kind of detergent.

If the itchiness is caused by toxin build up, is there a test for it?




I have had exactly the same a couple of times. Had to treat it with pred last time it was really serious. My consultant doesn't think it's to do with the PBC, I'm sure it is. He always tries to help, though, and usually it just comes and goes. It's annoying because you need your hands, but it goes away.


1 like

if the itchy palms are very red and you notice your face also getting red, you can try the homeopathic remedy belladona 30 ch, 3 pellets under your tongue. if it's just mostly itchy, another homeopathic remedy which might help is sulphur 30ch. also, 3 pellets under tongue.


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