Pruritus is the sensation or the urge to scratch. If this sensation occurs at old age it is known as Senile Pruritus. This condition can be termed as a long term condition extending over 6 weeks among the elderly. Pruritus is by no means a life threatening disease but the constant urge to itch and scratch can give a person many sleepless nights, and can also cause mental stress, depression and have a negative impact on ones day to day life.

Let’s have a look at some of the most common causes of senile pruritus.

  • Dry skin: this is the most common cause, as aging skin tends to dry out more often.
  • Certain skin changes: A decrease in skin surface lipids, or a reduced production of sweat and oil, also the skin takes more time to repair.
  • Certain diseases: Seborrehic dermatitis and statisdermatisis may cause irritation of the skin. Other diseases that can cause senile pruritus are liver diseases, kidney disease, diabetes and depression.
  • Medications: Certain drugs used for treating high blood pressure, calcium blockers and thiazides.

Common symptomsof senile pruritus:

  • Redness
  • Bumps, spots or blisters
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Leathery or scaly texture

How can it be treated?

The use of moisturizers will ensure your skin stays smooth and will help prevent drying. Do not scratch the lesions it will only make it worse. In certain cases if the itching goes to an extreme the use of anti-allergy drugs will help relieve the sensation. Ensuring simple steps such as applying moisturizer, wearing loose clothing, taking a bath in lukewarm water will help to keep your skin dry free and hydrated.

Senile pruritus is not a life threatening disease but it can cause a lot of discomfort and anxiety issues. In case if the itching worsens, visit the dermatologist immediately.