Prurigo nodularis is the formation of hard, itchy bumps on the skin. It can cause scratching so intense that the skin is scratched open.
Excessive scratching of an itch causes prurigo nodularis. The initial cause of the itch is not always clear.
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Health factors that may increase your risk of prurigo nodularis include:
- Psychological conditions
- Reduced function of the liver and kidneys
- Skin conditions that cause itching such as eczema
Skin lumps are small and hard. The top of the lumps may be dry and peeling, or if it has been scratched, may be open and bleeding.
Scratching can make prurigo nodularis worse. Scratching can also cause damage to the surface of the skin and increase your risk of infection. Over time, there may also be some scarring.
A key sign of a prurigo nodularis lump is intense itching. The itching may be constant or sporadic.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and your medical history. The diagnosis may be made based on the appearance of your skin and your symptoms.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
- Blood tests
- Skin biopsy
Treatment may take time and involve different therapies to find the best one that works for you. The goal is to reduce itchiness and prevent scratching.
Prurigo nodularis may be treated with:
- Topical medications that are applied to the skin, such as steroids, coal tar, vitamin D, or capsaicin
- Oral steroids or antihistimines
- Corticosteroid injections
- Medications that suppress or modify the immune system
- Antiseizure medications
If initial treatment does not work your doctor may try:
- Cryotherapy to freeze affected skin
- Pulsed dye laser
If prurigo nodularis affects your quality of life, consider talking to a counselor. Counseling may help you better manage the condition and how you respond to it.
Work with your doctor to manage any skin conditions that cause itching.
If you have a skin condition or bug bite that is causing itching, then try to avoid scratching. Consider using over the counter itch medication or ask your doctor about ways to relieve the itching.
Last reviewed September 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.