Unexplained Itching

Posted by bjbednarz @bjbednarz, Nov 28, 2020

In early 2019, I began to itch all over my body. I had no rash or otherwise physical evidence as to why I was itching. I had taken some medicine that I think started the itching, but when I stopped the medicine, the itching did not stop. I have been to multiple doctors, have had numerous blood tests, full body MRI, and stopped other various medications, but to no avail. It seems like there is a glitch between my brain and body. My brain is telling my body it itches, but there appears to be no reason. I’m being tortured with this itching. Can anyone please help?

Hi @bjbednarz I never had an allergic reaction to medication until recently. I did experiments till I found the culprit. I too had itching skin but also a rash. FYI, stopping a medication does not mean the itching will stop at the same time. Usually if medication is to blame for the reaction, the itching will stop when the drug is no longer in your system. Think of antibiotics. Some people develop a reaction after completing the drug 10 days as prescribed. That is because the level of the drug reached a point their body could not handle. Did you start a new drug at the time and did you continue with it? Did you discuss other ways your skin may become itchy with your doctor? The cause may not be internal at all. It may be external. Did you start anything different when doing laundry? Have you been scratching all along? Did you look into scabies being a culprit? Just some things to give a thought. Hope it helps. Toni

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I had suffered from unbearable, endless itching night and day for over 20 years. It came out of nowhere.
Turns out, it was due to stress- from an unhappy, loveless marriage. I started divorce proceedings in March. My itching is 95 percent gone.
Stress can do terrible things to our bodies. I wish you luck. Itching makes life unbearable.

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Have you tried calamine lotion, or other good brand body lotion?
It’s possible it’s the fabric of your clothes. I know Dacron and polyesters fabric will make me itch, but all cotton is fine. Also wool can scratch the skin, making you itch.
Maybe it’s the detergent you are using? A good dermatologist might help you.
Do you have dry skin? Is it worse in the winter when the heat is on?
Hope you get some relief. Bug bites can also cause itching.
Funcountess

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Also ice packs, my freezer is full of them

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@funcountess

Have you tried calamine lotion, or other good brand body lotion?
It’s possible it’s the fabric of your clothes. I know Dacron and polyesters fabric will make me itch, but all cotton is fine. Also wool can scratch the skin, making you itch.
Maybe it’s the detergent you are using? A good dermatologist might help you.
Do you have dry skin? Is it worse in the winter when the heat is on?
Hope you get some relief. Bug bites can also cause itching.
Funcountess

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I'm under the care of a dermatologist, who is running out of ideas to help. I've changed deodorant, laundry detergent, shampoo and multiple types of both OTC and prescription allergy products. I basically only wear cotton. I've also tried multiple prescriptions for pain block medications. None of them worked. I don't need to block pain, I need to block itch. They travel different paths. And apparently no one has invented an itch block medicine yet.

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@mannix

I had suffered from unbearable, endless itching night and day for over 20 years. It came out of nowhere.
Turns out, it was due to stress- from an unhappy, loveless marriage. I started divorce proceedings in March. My itching is 95 percent gone.
Stress can do terrible things to our bodies. I wish you luck. Itching makes life unbearable.

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Thank you, no one can understand how bad it is if they haven't been there. I'm told to just stop scratching, and the itch will go away. It doesn't work like that. If your brain tells you it itches, your innate response is to scratch.

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@bjbednarz

I'm under the care of a dermatologist, who is running out of ideas to help. I've changed deodorant, laundry detergent, shampoo and multiple types of both OTC and prescription allergy products. I basically only wear cotton. I've also tried multiple prescriptions for pain block medications. None of them worked. I don't need to block pain, I need to block itch. They travel different paths. And apparently no one has invented an itch block medicine yet.

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I still take gabapentin, 400 mgs three times a day. Benedryl can help, but I took so much that it stopped helping as much. Ice packs provided temporary, but very helpful relief. Try Cryomax brand, they stay cold for a number of hours.
As I mentioned in a previous post, stress is a big cause as well.

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Hi @bjbednarz, I added your discussion to the Skin Health group.

You may also wish to review this related discussion:
– Brachioradial pruritus. (severe itching on forearms and neck, no rash). https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/brachioradial-pruritus-severe-itching-on-forearms-and-neck-no-rash/

You say the itching is all over your body. I think @artscaping can also relate. She has been experiencing neuropathic itching. Like @mannix, I believe her situation was worsened with stress.
@bjbednarz How long has it been since you stopped the medication that you suspect may be the culprit? Does stress seem to aggravate the itching?

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@avmcbellar

Hi @bjbednarz I never had an allergic reaction to medication until recently. I did experiments till I found the culprit. I too had itching skin but also a rash. FYI, stopping a medication does not mean the itching will stop at the same time. Usually if medication is to blame for the reaction, the itching will stop when the drug is no longer in your system. Think of antibiotics. Some people develop a reaction after completing the drug 10 days as prescribed. That is because the level of the drug reached a point their body could not handle. Did you start a new drug at the time and did you continue with it? Did you discuss other ways your skin may become itchy with your doctor? The cause may not be internal at all. It may be external. Did you start anything different when doing laundry? Have you been scratching all along? Did you look into scabies being a culprit? Just some things to give a thought. Hope it helps. Toni

Jump to this post

Under the doctor's care, I've stopped different medications definitely long enough to stop the itching if that were it. I have no rash. I did start a new medicine when I started itching. But I stopped it immediately. That was in January 2019, and I've never had a single day without itching since. I've taken medicine for scabies, to no effect. Thank you for your response. I'm praying that someone, somewhere will say, oh yes, I was itching and I did this and now I'm cured. If not cured, then itch relief.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @bjbednarz, I added your discussion to the Skin Health group.

You may also wish to review this related discussion:
– Brachioradial pruritus. (severe itching on forearms and neck, no rash). https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/brachioradial-pruritus-severe-itching-on-forearms-and-neck-no-rash/

You say the itching is all over your body. I think @artscaping can also relate. She has been experiencing neuropathic itching. Like @mannix, I believe her situation was worsened with stress.
@bjbednarz How long has it been since you stopped the medication that you suspect may be the culprit? Does stress seem to aggravate the itching?

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All various pruritus that I've studied, google, you know, has specific places of itch. I itch from the top of my scalp to my knees. And what I find odd, is that if one arm itches, the other arm itches identically. Both halves of my body itch equally. Neuropathic itching sounds the most likely cause, but a Neurologist did an MRI from the top of my neck to the bottom of my tail bone, and could not identify anything she thought might be causing the itch. I still believe Neuropathic itching is the culprit, but how to pinpoint the exact reason and fix it seems to be the problem. I haven't taken any of that medicine since January 2019. I guess I probably have as much stress as the next person. Nothing in particular especially stressful. I will definitely check out @artscaping.

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@bjbednarz I once started itching the same time I had changed my laundry detergent. As a result I switched back to my previous brand but it wasn’t the culprit. I had no medications so I new it was not that. I finally got relief after applying the cream for scabies and washed it off my skin. Apparently I was in contact with someone who had scabies. I never would have thought at first it was the culprit. Good thing I tried it. I had no rash. The itch was driving me crazy. I hope you find answers soon. Something will ring a bell for you through all the different experiences here on Mayo Connect. I wish you well. Toni

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@bjbednarz

All various pruritus that I've studied, google, you know, has specific places of itch. I itch from the top of my scalp to my knees. And what I find odd, is that if one arm itches, the other arm itches identically. Both halves of my body itch equally. Neuropathic itching sounds the most likely cause, but a Neurologist did an MRI from the top of my neck to the bottom of my tail bone, and could not identify anything she thought might be causing the itch. I still believe Neuropathic itching is the culprit, but how to pinpoint the exact reason and fix it seems to be the problem. I haven't taken any of that medicine since January 2019. I guess I probably have as much stress as the next person. Nothing in particular especially stressful. I will definitely check out @artscaping.

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@bjbednarz Since you suspect neuropathic itching have you tried Low-dose (0.025 – 0.1%) topical capsaicin or taking systemic sodium channel blockers, such as carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine? Maybe they will offer some relief.

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