Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What causes chronic itching?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat causes chronic itching?


I have chronically itching skin and I'm wondering if it could be the result of a food allergy of some sort? I have tried experiementing eating diffferent kinds of meals, but I haven't noticed any big difference.


Itching, or medically known as pruritus, is a common condition. There are many causes -- some of these causes are relatively minor and require only simple treatment. Unfortunately, there are some causes of itching that requires medical attention as this can be a sign of serious internal derangement. I would recommend that you see your primary care doctor to follow up on this issue. There are many causes of diffuse itching. The most common cause is an issue with the skin. Often a dermatitis, or skin inflammation, is the cause. Normally, there will be skin changes like a rash that are associated. However, this is not always the case. The most common skin condition that causes diffuse itching is xerosis, or dry skin. Dry skin is irritated skin -- so itching results. Using a moisturizing cream like Eucerin can often help. Other skin conditions are also possible. If there are any skin changes I would recommend seeing a dermatologist, or skin specialist. There are other causes to consider. Nerve problems can cause itching sensation. Infections can as well, like chicken pox or herpes infections. A very serious cause of itching is jaundice caused by liver failure. This requires immediate medical attention. Any yellowing of the skin or eyes would suggest jaundice is the cause and requires immediate attention. Talk to your doctor.

Need more info?

See an internist today

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.