Ever since I was removed from liver treatment in 2009 I have had a constant itch from head to toe. My medication of peginterferon and ribaviron were killing off too many of my red blood cells. A specialist from the Colorado University Hospital told me to get off the medication. She said my gastroenterologist should have removed me from treatment within three months of being on it. However, I was kept on it for 5 months. My Gastroenterologis NEVER saw me. I was always assigned to his nurse practitioner. I was so weak and showing signs of becoming suicidel. I tried to obatain short term disability, because I did not have the strength to return to work. The nurse practitioner said they would not sign anything for me to receive short term disibilty because they might be sewed by Hartford Inc. I never could understand this way of thinking. I was VERY sick, and the patient, and the nurse practitioner was more concerned about their finances than my health and happiness. My daughter believes I developed nerve damage because I was kept on the medication for too long. I understand liver disease can cause an itch to the body, but will it EVER end? Does it stop after having a liver transplant? What is it like to live after a liver transplant? Would I be very sick still, or will I be able to run, jump, play, work, etc? I have a new gastroenterologist. And this time the DOCTOR does talk to me directly. I will have an MRI done on Oct 1st of 2011 to see what stage my liver is in. I will then be assigned to a Hepatologist from the Colorado University Hospital. I am so glad. I have soooooo many questions.
Because itching is such a nonspecific, seemingly innocuous event, many with Hepatitis C don't bother discussing it with their physician. However, there are many interventions to help incessant itching. Since pruritus can be severe enough to interfere with daily activities, those with a severe case are encouraged to report their discomfort to a doctor.
If necessary, a physician can prescribe an appropriate medication to relieve the itching. Some of the drugs used for pruritus include:
In addition, ten tips are listed below to reduce itching before you get in to see a doctor:
1. Don't Smoke - Not only does smoking reduce the effectiveness of Hepatitis C therapy, but it can also lead to Smoker's Syndrome - characterized by episodes of facial flushing, warm palms and soles, throbbing headache, dizziness, lethargy, prickling sensation, joint pain and pruritus.
2. Apply Cold Packs - Cold packs wrapped in a towel and placed over the skin cools heat and seems to relieve intense itching.
3. Stay Hydrated - Drink sufficient amounts of water to keep the entire body hydrated. For more on water and liver disease, read How Much Water Does Your Liver Need?
4. Avoid Soap - Use a non-soap cleanser such as Cetaphil or a similar substitute to prevent excessive drying of the skin.
5. Take Milk Thistle - Since milk thistle protects liver cells from damage and aids in detoxification, this herb can help prevent the backup of toxins in the bloodstream.
6. A Warm Shower - Because heat aggravates itching, make sure your bathing water's temperature is not too hot.
7. Dress Carefully - Whenever possible, wear loose fitting clothes made from natural fabrics that breathe. This prevents excess heat from being trapped against your skin.
8. Moisturize - Apply moisturizing creams at least twice a day. For best results, use only non-perfumed, mild moisturizers.
9. Don't Scratch - So that you don't engage the itch-scratch cycle and don't cause damage to your skin, experiment with rubbing, vibration or applying pressure instead of scratching. Some people report good results from rubbing itchy areas with an ice cube.
10. Oatmeal - Many get pruritus relief from taking a colloidal oatmeal bath. Colloidal oatmeal is still made from oats, but compared to breakfast oatmeal, colloidal oatmeal is ground very finely or even pulverized.
Those with Hepatitis C should be aware that feeling itchy could be a manifestation of the virus. Because it can be so disruptive, this symptom deserves attention. Besides discussing severe pruritus with your doctor, take advantage of the ten tips listed above to gain some respite from incessant itching."
I am a liver transplant recipient. My underlying disease was Hepatitis C and I had my transplant in June 2000. A transplant does not cure the Hepatitis C and it almost always infects the new liver. So you still have the virus. I treated after transplant and did eradicate the virus - I'm cured - so it can be done. It was a hard road for me and hopefully with the new medications becoming available it will not be so difficult.
I think any talk about transplantation is probably premature. See a hepatologist and get some professional advice.
Thank you for the advice. I don't smoke and I do try to drink a lot of water. I don't drink caffeine products either. I use Dove moisturizer when I shower, but I will talk to my Hepatologist after my MRI. I have SO MANY questions.
By the way, I am glad to hear you you have been cured. I take it you did not have Chronic Hepatitis C. I was told I will not be able to go through ANY treatment to rid of my hepatitis C. Thank you again ra
Yes, I did have chronic hepatitis c.
I do not know the specifics of your case but there are new drugs that will be available soon and I would be hesitant to have a lot of confidence in a doctor who says flat out that you will not be able to go through ANY treatments.
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