A close up image of a mans chest, his shirt is undone at the top and he is iching his chest.

How to calm your kidney disease itching

While your doctor will always be there to look after you, there are lots of ways you can relieve itching from kidney disease at home.

Tips and tricks
A close up Image of woman scratching her upper chest, it looks visibly uncomfortable.
Avoid scratching. Instead, pat

It is tempting to scratch and the urge can be overwhelming at times, but this can break your delicate skin and cause bleeding or infections, so try to pat the itchy areas instead. This will give you some relief, while protecting your skins barrier.1

A close up photo of a bathroom shower head with with water coming out of it.
Stick to short baths and showers

Your skin makes its own moisturising barrier from natural oils, but soaking in water can strip off that layer and cause irritation. To keep your skin’s natural oils intact, try to take short baths or showers.1

Close up of a woman's arms, washing her hands in a sink.
Stay away from hot water

Try not to bathe more than once a day and use warm instead of hot water. This will stop your skin from drying out and becoming irriated.1

A close up photo of a woman's hands applying moisturizing cream to her hands.
Limit soaps and foaming body washes

Many foaming body washes and soaps remove the natural oils from your skin (even those that claim to be suitable for dry skin). Instead, try choosing moisturising creams or prescription bath oils.1 Ask your doctor or pharmacist for recommendations on the best products.

Ice cubes in a close-up shot, glistening and transparent.
Use ice for a quick fix

Cool temperatures can give you temporary relief from the itchiness.2 Try laying a cold flannel soaked in moisturising cream on your itchy skin, or apply moisturiser that has been kept in the refrigerator.1

An untidy bed with white sheets and pillows.
Keep cool night and day

Hot temperatures can make your itch worse, so it can help to keep cool at night with lightweight bedding made of breathable fabrics and loose clothing that won’t make you sweat. If you feel hot during the day, use a fan to cool down.1

Close up of a woman in a vest with her arm across her chest holding her arm.
Be generous with moisturiser

If you have dry skin, your itch will feel worse. Using moisturising creams liberally can help to prevent dryness and scarring.1

A person cooking in a kitchen with steam rising from a pot on the stove.
Follow a low-phosphate diet

One of the jobs of the kidneys is to keep phosphate at the right levels as too much can lead to serious health problems.3 For people relying on dialysis, the kidneys can struggle to perform this job. Many foods naturally contain phosphate and high levels in your chronic kidney disease diet can cause or worsen your itching.3,4 Following a low-phosphate diet can help you to manage your phosphate levels.
Try eating fresh, unprocessed foods.3,4 For more help with your CKD diet, speak to a renal dietitian. 

Medication for itching

Prescribed by your doctor

Kidney disease itching can be difficult to treat, but there are a few prescription medicines that may help some people.5


For more information about prescription medicines for itching, speak to your doctor.

Your kidney disease itching stories


You are not alone in this. Right now, millions of people across the world are battling their itch too.6–8
Here are some of their stories.

Find out more