When people write to My Skin Care Connection it is most often because they have some sort of itch. I can understand why so many people seek help or information about itching because the feeling of a constant itch can be tormenting to the sufferer. Have you ever been told not to itch and that is all you can think about? If you have ever had a cast on and could not scratch an itch, you know the torture an itch can bring. Or perhaps you have had an MRI procedure where you must remain still for up to an hour without moving. Just try not to think of itching. It is just about impossible. And I bet that some of you reading this are itchy just from me talking about itches. So there must be some psychological component to itching.
Itching can be a temporary irritation or it can be a chronic life long battle. People who have eczema or psoriasis may have to struggle with itching for decades.
Itching may also indicate that you have some sort of allergy whether it is to food or some sort of environmental irritant. Itching can also be a warning sign of a more serious problem such as skin cancer if you have a sore or spot that continues to itch, feel painful, scab, crust or bleed for more than several weeks.
There is some itching which is a neurological "illusion" as in the case of pruritis (itching without a rash) as a symptom of Multiple Sclerosis . The National MS Society defines MS pruritis in this way: “Pruritis (itching) may occur as a symptom of MS. It is one of the family of abnormal sensations - such as “pins and needles” and burning, stabbing, or tearing pains - which may be experienced by people with MS. These sensations are known as dysesthesias and they are neurologic in origin.” This type of itch is extremely frustrating as it has no external cause.
Other diseases and medical conditions which can cause itching include: liver disease, kidney failure, lymphoma, leukemia and other blood disorders, and sometimes thyroid disease. Itching can also be a symptom of diabetes.
You can also suffer from itching in sensitive places. Itching of the genitals can signal an infection for women such as a yeast infection . Another reason for genital itching can be a sexually transmitted disease including: Crabs, genital warts, and herpes . Pregnancy can also cause itching as when "pruritic urticarial papules and plaques" can develop as red raised itchy bumps on the skin during the third trimester.
As you can see, there are so many causes of itching, they are too numerous to mention. The most troublesome type of itch, however, is the mystery itch, when you can’t figure out why you are itching. If you are experiencing itching as a symptom it is always wise to see your doctor or dermatologist to figure out the cause. In the weeks to come we are going to explore even more causes of itching in depth. We will look at everything from bed bugs to poison ivy and everything in between. We hope to give you the information and resources you need to take care of that itch once and for all.