Herpes and Itchy Skin
Do you ever get the sensation of itching all over your body? I had it so bad last week that I could barely sleep. I kept waking up to scratch my back and legs, and was convinced I had bed bugs. As I developed an outbreak over the next few days, I began to wonder if the itching had anything to do with herpes. Like maybe it’s a form or neuralgia, with itchiness instead of pain. Since herpes lives in the nervous system, why wouldn’t it cause itchy sensations in other parts of my body, besides down below?
When I looked online to see if there was any connection between herpes and general bodily itching, I did find several others who were concerned about the same thing. Though others reassured them that there was no correlation between herpes and random skin itching, I did find it interesting that there was some discussion about it already. I thought maybe some of you who frequent this site might have the same concerns and some insight of your own. Are we imagining - out of paranoia - other symptoms that aren’t really there? Or do doctors not really know everything about herpes?
Itchy skin can be caused by any number of things, including eczema, dry skin, and stress. I know I suffer from dry skin since I live in a dry climate and have been regularly applying lotion for practically my whole life. But it really does seem to get worse when I have an outbreak. For example, I can tell I’m about to get an outbreak when the skin on my butt and lower back feel itchy. There is no rash there, just an irritating sensation.
I don’t think it’s simply a coincidence that I feel itchier around the time of an outbreak. But I also don’t think the itchiness is caused by herpes. I think it all boils down to taking care of myself. Before I got the outbreak (and the itches) I was feeling pretty stressed out with work. I also wasn’t getting as much sleep as before, and had a couple birthdays to celebrate. Though I’m still open to the idea that there could be symptoms we have that haven’t been formally associated with herpes yet, the reality is that my stress and unhealthy habits are probably the culprits for both of my recent issues. Just as stress and lack of sleep can bring on a herpes outbreak, they can also exacerbate any other health problem one may have, whether it’s stomach ulcers or dry skin. Or maybe stress caused my dry skin, which inhibited my sleep, which caused an outbreak. Any way you slice it, everything is related but stress and unhealthy habits are at the root of the problem.
So my conclusions are to stop blaming herpes for all of my problems, start taking better care of myself (really), and hopefully move to a tropical climate in the near future where the humidity will take good care of my skin. Okay, so maybe the last one’s a little extreme, but I do think location and climate is a huge factor in one’s health and well being.
Do you suffer from itchy skin? Have you ever worried that it’s related to herpes? How do you deal with it?
Penelope wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Sexual Health.