Topic: severe itching

I am wondering if anyone can recommend ANYTHING that has helped or can help my mom.  she was recently diagnosed with bile duct cancer.  she is experiencing extreme itch all over her body, due to the levels of bilirubin in her system.  Any recommendation would be great, it is her biggest complaint!! I hate to see her so uncomfortable.

2 (edited by eli Thu, 06 Sep 2012 18:30:23)

Re: severe itching

Are doctors aware of extreme itching?

Are they working to bring down the level of bilirubin?

If not, you need to see them ASAP.  If she doesn't have a stent, she might need one. If she does have a stent, it might be clogged and in need of replacement.

If doctors are aware of it and are staying on top of it, these previous discussions might be of help. … hp?id=6515 … hp?id=3379 … hp?id=5953 … hp?id=2168 … hp?id=2001 … hp?id=1315 … hp?id=1273 … php?id=296

Please note, these discussions are about temporary relief from itching. You need to seek professional help to treat the underlying issue (high bilirubin).

Re: severe itching

Sad daughter...welcome to our site.   I have learned that the bilirubin is expelled through the skin and then crystallizes which in turn causes this horrible itching.  Hopefully you will be able to retrieve some pertinent information hidden in the links Eli has presented you with.  I am wondering: when had your Mom been diagnosed with this cancer and has drainage of the bilirubin been discussed?  In most instances this can be done via stenting or with the help of external drains.  Please share more with us.  I am glad that you have found us.  We care and we are in this together.


Re: severe itching

Dear sad daughter, welcome to our remarkable family, but sorry you had to join us.
Can you  tell us a little more about your Mother's diagnosis and treatment and where is she being treated? When my husband itched we had found a cream at CVS/Walgreens called Sarna and it works well but you can only use it about 10 days as it is very strong. It is also just a temporary fix. The ONC needs to know about the itching ASAP. The other thing that helped were ice bags or cool showers.
Best of luck and please keep us posted.You are not alone.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: severe itching

Hi Sad Daughter,

Welcome to the site. Sorry that you had to find us all and I am sorry to hear about your mum. But I am glad that you have joined us all here as ytou will get loads of support and help from everyone here.

My dad went through that horrible itching as well and like you, I hated seeing him that uncomfortable. He had a stent inserted into his bile duct to help get that bile flowing again and unblock the blockage that causes the itching and the jaundice. In my dads case, he had a metal stent placed but you can have either a metal or a plastic one inserted.

As the others have asked you, do you know if your mum had a stent inserted? If not, I would suggest that you get your mum seen by her doctors as this needs to be looked at now if she does not have a stent. And if she does have one already then it also needs to be investigated as well as it could be the case that a stent has clogged up causing the blockage again and the itching.

Please let us know how things go for your mum and know that we are all here for you.

My best wishes to you and your mum,


Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.