Kidney disease itching is more than just an itch

On the surface, it’s just an itch. But underneath it’s so much more. Here are some of the ways your kidney disease itch can affect your life.

How kidney disease itching affects

Your sleep

Since kidney disease itching tends to be worse at night, sleep problems are quite common.1,2

Up to 1 in 2 people with a moderate to severe itch have difficulty sleeping.1,2


This can make you feel tired during the day, affecting work, social and family life.3

Often I am lying awake for nights in a row without being able to sleep.

46-year-old living with kidney disease itching for over 1 year.4

A man sitting on a bed in a room, he is facing away, deep in thought.

Sleep is essential because it helps your mind and body to repair and recharge, so you are ready for the day ahead. It contributes to your emotional wellbeing, productivity and boosts your immune system.5 Poor quality sleep has been linked to diseases such as diabetes, stroke and heart failure. That’s why it’s important to prioritise sleep and talk to your doctor if you are struggling.5

How kidney disease itching affects

Your relationships

If you feel embarrassed about scratching in front of others or worried that people will pass judgement on the appearance of your skin, you are not alone.3,6

One third of people with severe itching say that it affects their social life, leaving them feeling lonely and isolated.3,6


Before, I was a social butterfly. Nowadays, if I’m having a bad itch day and someone invites me out for dinner, I turn them down.
It’s killing my social life
and keeping me isolated.

Patient living with kidney disease itching for 1 year.7

An elderly woman with wrinkles gazing off-camera. She has tears on her face.

Remember that perception is personal and how other people see you isn’t the same as how you view yourself. So, whilst you may be aware of your itch, other people may not even notice.8

How kidney disease itching affects

Your mental health

Living with kidney disease can put a strain on your mental health – almost 20% of dialysis patients experience depression.9

Dealing with your CKD itching on top of this can make things worse, especially if you have been struggling to get support. Combined with lack of sleep and isolation, you might start feeling depressed.1,2,6

Emotionally and mentally it’s very draining and depressing.

Patient living with kidney disease itching for 1 year.10

A man feeling overwhelmed, holding his head in his hands, possibly due toA man feeling overwhelmed, holding his head in his hands, possibly due to stress or frustration. stress or frustration.

Everybody feels down sometimes, but depression is an extreme and persistent low mood.11 It can affect how you think, feel, behave, and stop you from enjoying life.11


If you are struggling with your mental health, talk to your doctor for advice and support.

Living with kidney disease and itchy skin can feel overwhelming,
but remember that you are not alone and there is
help out there – you just need to ask for it.

Helping a loved one

With CKD-associated pruritus

Caring for someone with kidney disease itching can be difficult and it may affect your wellbeing too. That’s why it’s important to take time to look after yourself, so you are strong and healthy for both of you.

Share your feelings

If things get too much, talk to someone you trust, like a friend or family member. Try to find someone you can be honest and open with.12

Be realistic about what you can do

Remember to be realistic about how much you can do and ask for help from others if you are struggling. Learn to listen to your body and rest if you need to.12

Find time for yourself

It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but try to find time to do the things you love. Enjoy an afternoon off, or lunch with a friend from time to time.12

Look after your health

Nourish your mind and body with healthy foods, regular exercise, proper sleep and relaxation time. These things can go a long way to helping you feel good.12

To get help with your kidney disease itching, speak out


If your itch is affecting your life, don’t suffer in silence. Find out how to make your itch heard.

Find out more