Any liver or biliary tract disorder resulting in bile salts accumulation in the skin may cause itch. Diseases include hepatitis.
The bile salts in the skin make it itch (doctors call itching pruritis). And they make your urine darker than normal. Because the bile is not passing into your bowel, your stools will be much paler than normal.
A study in Maryland, showed eight of the patients who were aged 35 to 68, had been diagnosed with hepatitis from 1 to 20 years previously, and had pruritus(itchy skin) as the major or first symptom of the disease.
Liver biopsies revealed that all patients had liver damage similar to that seen in cholestasis, a liver disease caused by stagnation of the bile in the bile ducts. Itchy skin is a ommon side effect of cholestasis.
The authors conclude that ``pruritus may be the dominant symptom in patients with chronic hepatitis C.
NB Cholestasis is a condition caused by rapidly developing (acute) or long-term (chronic) interruption in the excretion of bile.
Treatments for pruritis
Prescription medications include topical and systemic antihistamines, corticosteroids, local anesthetics, and topical immunomodulators, among others. Some lower concentration preparations of these medications are available OTC.