Show Summary Details
Page of

Pruritus and sweating in palliative medicine 

Pruritus and sweating in palliative medicine
Pruritus and sweating in palliative medicine

Mark R. Pittelkow

, Charles L. Loprinzi

, and Thomas P. Pittelkow

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 January 2022

Itching (pruritus) and sweating (perspiration, diaphoresis) are physiological functions of the skin that normally serve human existence well. Itching is the sensory input arising from the skin and mucous membranes that alerts man to potentially harmful insults from physical, chemical, and biological sources. The reflex of scratching is closely linked to the perception of itch, and in most situations functions effectively as an aversive motor response to relieve the sensation and protect the skin. Similarly, sweating is a well-developed and finely coordinated sudomotor response designed to regulate body temperature and prevent hyperthermia. However, both pruritus and sweating have the potential to function aberrantly and develop into pathological conditions that create significant suffering and morbidity. This chapter provides a practical overview of the normal function and pathophysiology of pruritus and sweating, and offer a variety of therapeutic options and general comforting measures for patients experiencing these maladies.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.