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?

@rashida

I have tried Cerave and also Cetaphil. Everything I have tried – creams, lotions, ointments, shampoos, etc., prescription and OTC, allopathic or naturopathic – has worked for the first couple of applications then stopped working.

I live in Toronto, Ontario. We don’t have the store, AD Rescue Wear, here but I will look for clothes in that fabric.

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@rashida Have you used oatmeal ? put some in water or take a bath with it oatmeal is soothing I use to give my pts this for the itch

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@rashida

Thank you, Chris!

My dermatologist, who I had been seeing for the past five or six years, has retired as of last November, and he has passed me on to another dermatologist, with whom I have yet to get an appointment because of his patient backlog. I have held out seeing this new dermatologist because he has been highly recommended by my retired dermatologist who has been the best I’ve seen in all my years of skin problems.I figure if HE (who was Head of Dermatology in the hospital) has recommended this one, he must be good. Even my family physician called his office and was told about the backlog of patients and that they “will call” (I get the feeling my dermatologist has transferred all his patients to this one guy)! That was six weeks ago. Still waiting! Will call his office again on Monday.

Here, you can’t see a specialist without a referral from your doctor. It took me several years to find my last good dermatologist (two or three before him were no help to me) and now the one who was of some help has retired and I seem back at square one! I have even lost my ophthalmologist because he has cut back on his patients during the pandemic and is seeing only the most urgent cases – of which I am not one!

My itching mostly has been due to dry skin for years, and it’s all over my body, especially my back. It definitely gets worse during the “winter months” which can be from start of October to end of April. I have no rashes in my body, just my psoriasis patches which, aside from the nasty patch on the lower back of my head and nape of neck (THAT, is another itch that is even worse than my regular dry skin itching!) have been pretty much under control now such as it is – presumably because of the two 2.5mg weekly and the Stelara – except for the scalp and elbow.

I use no fragrances, use only fragrance free, sensitive skin detergent, don’t use any cosmetics other than lipstick which I rarely wear anyway – especially since the past year of masking. My clothing is all cotton against my skin (flannel nightgowns during winter; yes, I have wondered if the flannel is causing the itching but I itch during the day, too)! I know I cannot wear wool or lace, even as trim that could touch my skin, e.g., neckline, sewn into seams, etc. I slather myself with moisturizers a plenty and even use pure, organic coconut oil on my body – on my scalp too, before I shampoo. I only shampoo whatever little hair I have once a week because my hair and scalp is so dry.

In my experience trying various products and remedies, I discover something that works like a charm a couple of applications or so, stops working before long! Everything “good for you” doesn’t seem to be, for me! Someone once suggested I rinse my hair with apple cider vinegar (my scalp was clear of psoriasis at the time, but I have dry, frizzy hair). which I did, cautiously diluting it with some water, and nearly went through the roof because it burned my scalp! I cannot even take apple cider vinegar in any form internally – gives me major heartburn! And it – as well as lemon juice – are supposed to be alkalizing! 🤷🏻‍♀️

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Hi @rashida, it's true that there are quite long waiting lists for dermatologists in Toronto, especially now during the pandemic. Good for you for being persistent and following up. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Another option you may consider is to contact your family physician for a referral to a different dermatologist.

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@lioness

@rashida Have you used oatmeal ? put some in water or take a bath with it oatmeal is soothing I use to give my pts this for the itch

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I have done that, too. Gives temporary couple hours’ relief than I’m back to square one. My body doesn’t itch all overat the same time – seems different areas if my body take turns in itch attack – except the psoriasis patch on the back and nape of my nect; that is a constant itch. Hopefully the Stelara injection I took on the 22nd will kick in soon – it doesn’t provide instant relief, unfortunately.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @rashida, it's true that there are quite long waiting lists for dermatologists in Toronto, especially now during the pandemic. Good for you for being persistent and following up. As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Another option you may consider is to contact your family physician for a referral to a different dermatologist.

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Thank you, Colleen! Apparently there are long waiting lists for all specialists but it seemed there was some miscommunication about my referral between Dr. Shear, my former dermatologist and the new one. I finally got a virtual visit with the new dermatologist on Thursday! Long story short: he said to wait a few weeks to give the Stelara a chance and if the next dose (in May) doesn’t work I am to contact hm and he will recommend something else.

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@artscaping

Good morning @rashida. As the saying goes, "I feel your pain" and the frustration of trying to find something that works. Is there any way you can see a dermatologist in Toronto?

How long have you had this unwelcome and irritating "itch"? I can see that you have tried many products seeking relief. Where does the itch start? On your arms, legs, scalp? Do you have a rash also? And may I ask, do you know if you also have symptoms of neuropathy?

I have been fighting what I just call the ITCH! for a couple of years. You must be careful with products. I am going to attach a link to my most recent post. I have some relief right now by using Tacrolimus ointment .01%. It totally works but you can't use it every day as the ingredients include some strong elements. You will need a prescription.

I see you have connected with @tim1028. His recommendation to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize is a good one and coconut oil is a good "comfort" candidate without allergens.

Here is a link to my last post. Since I wrote that I have found that my external antagonists are Fragrances I and II. You may need to change some of your daily cosmetic and even laundry products. Even fragrance masks can be a culprit.

That's enough for this morning. Let me know what you think and if you want additional explanations. I am wishing you quiet sleep and a sunny day and will help you in any way possible. Here's the link.
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/the-itch-an-update-about-testing-and-treating/
May you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
Chris

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Hi Chris, I think you asked me if I had neuropathy and I can’t remember on which thread you asked that or whether I answered that question so I’m doing so here – possibly again!
I haven’t been diagnosed with that, but I do have pain in various parts of my body (just like my itching, each part takes over from another!) but that could be because I also have fibromyalgia, and in 2006 I had a bad case of shingles, and a minor attack about eighteen months to two years ago.

I am new to this site and have joined about four threads I think, but keep forgetting which thread I have commented on and have to wade through several comments before I find responses to one of mine. I know I am not going about it the right way so could you please tell me how I can follow threads more seamlessly?

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I had horrible itching years ago that nothing helped. Tried prescription creams and Benedryl to no avail. It was awful. My dermatologist told me of a patient of his who was helped with an itching problem by bathing in water with baking soda. He repeatedly told me to totally avoid eating anything acidic. This included juices, potatoes, soda, tomatoes, acidic fruit, catsup, all processed foods that included anything with acid in the ingredient list. I didn’t want that many restrictions in my diet so avoided following it until the itching was so bad I was desperate for help. So I did as he said and totally avoided all foods with any hint of acidity. In 3 days the itching was gone. I knew that was the cause because I could bring back the eczema and extreme itching by drinking a glass of orange juice. After a few years of following this diet, the reaction to acidity lessened. I no longer have a problem with acidic food but clearly remember when I did. It’s worth a try.

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@rashida

Hi Chris, I think you asked me if I had neuropathy and I can’t remember on which thread you asked that or whether I answered that question so I’m doing so here – possibly again!
I haven’t been diagnosed with that, but I do have pain in various parts of my body (just like my itching, each part takes over from another!) but that could be because I also have fibromyalgia, and in 2006 I had a bad case of shingles, and a minor attack about eighteen months to two years ago.

I am new to this site and have joined about four threads I think, but keep forgetting which thread I have commented on and have to wade through several comments before I find responses to one of mine. I know I am not going about it the right way so could you please tell me how I can follow threads more seamlessly?

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Good morning @rashida, what's happening? The list of your diagnoses and health incidents is almost overwhelming. However, I don't immediately read neuropathy. Maybe forerunners to or causal of neuropathy.

And I am glad you found a dermatologist and can connect through telemedicine.

And now to how to find your four threads on Connect, What device are you using? Here are some tips for a laptop. When you return to the top of any page, you will see two things that can help.

Attempt number 1
Step 1: Across the top of your screen you will see the word HOME and then Groups. When you click on Groups, you will see every connect group in alphabetical order. Skin Health is one of those groups.

Step 2: When you click on Skin Health you will be taken to a welcome page and a list of all discussions in chronological order. You might recognize a familiar discussion or others you can explore later.

Step 3: If you click on a Discussion you will be taken to a page just like this one where you can choose "Oldest to newest" or Newest to Oldest on the right-hand side to view the posts.

Attempt number 2
Step 1: On the right-hand side at the top of the page you will see a blue bar with the word "APPOINTMENT". Next on the left is your frame (we are awaiting your beautiful photo) and a down arrow.

Step 2: Click on the down arrow to open your profile. Click on the word Profile. As you move down the page you will see all of your own posts chronologically. That might be a good resource for you.

Attempt number 3
Step 1: To the left of your frame….you will see an envelope (for private messages) a bell and a magnifying glass in an empty box. Enter a user that you are seeking, e.g. "@mollymcgee" or a few words about the discussion you are following e.g. "itching everywhere".

Step 2: A drop-down will open with prior searches from which you can choose. If none of the printed options fit just click again on the magnifying glass and see if it has enough information to find your post.

Good luck. This is the first time I have walked someone through these options. Let me know if it works for you.

May you have contentment and ease
Chris

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I have itch but I also sometimes get hives and have eczema. It is a terrible thing to deal with, no matter the cause.

I get relief from general itch (not eczema, unfortunately) from Eucerin Roughness Relief lotion. The ingredient list reads like a pre-workout supplement – lysine, threonine, histidine – can stabilize mast cells. Arginine and citrulline are interesting as they could increase nitric oxide (NO) production. Increased NO may help you – or it could go the other way. Patch test, I guess. Red light (Photobiomodulation) will also increase NO production.

I like the epsom salt bath idea. Topical magnesium chloride ('magnesium oil') might be something else to try as it has helped me with pain – most likely neuropathic pain. Another thing that has helped me a lot with sciatica and plantar fasciitis is static stretching – holding positions at least 2 minutes several times a day. Not pleasant but much better than plantar fasciitis. If your itch is sort of like neuropathic pain – these things might help. I also take fish oil; static stretching promotes release of resolvins – substances that promote resolution of inflammation; DHA is needed for resolvin production.

You may want to look into how much of the various B vitamins you are getting from diet and supplements (and what forms). Cronometer is an app that can help with that.

Hope you find something that works.

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Forgot to mention the importance of clean air for skin conditions. Air quality is often overlooked in comparison to things that directly contact the skin and food sensitivities. This is especially relevant to people living in urban areas. From a quick search, I see that airborne cadmium and particulate matter have been implicated in psoriasis, for example.

I have found some modest improvement from using a home air HEPA filter; in pre-pandemic times I have worn a 3M half respirator when working in places with high levels of air pollutants (e.g., a cat rescue shelter – lots of particulates and ammonia from the cat litter). Now that there is a pandemic on, I can wear a face mask without being viewed as 'eccentric' . If you can find an N95 mask, they are good for most things, but don't wear one that is past its expiration date or has been stored improperly as they can degrade and make things worse (my own experience). Home HEPA filters can be expensive but there is a video on YouTube by an allergist showing how to make a filter out of a box fan and a furnace filter.
~
PS – ACV also kills my stomach, but this was not always the case. I have had GERD off and on for many years and found that broccoli sprout smoothies (look up Rhonda Patrick for information on this) gets rid of it – worked much better for me than PPIs and seems to do something for the disease rather than just symptoms. For a few years AVC actually helped my GERD (temporary symptom relief) then something changed when I started having all my skin hypersensitivity reactions. The GERD flared up again and I tried ACV (It takes a few days for the broccoli sprouts to start working) and OMG my stomach pain was so awful – I felt I had been stabbed. ACV contains not just acetic acid but also histamine, yeast residue and of course apple. My skin issues started up around the same time my daughter started having her Celiac and oral allergy syndrome symptoms. I believe our health problems were most likely triggered by an infection of some kind.

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@artscaping

Good morning @rashida, what's happening? The list of your diagnoses and health incidents is almost overwhelming. However, I don't immediately read neuropathy. Maybe forerunners to or causal of neuropathy.

And I am glad you found a dermatologist and can connect through telemedicine.

And now to how to find your four threads on Connect, What device are you using? Here are some tips for a laptop. When you return to the top of any page, you will see two things that can help.

Attempt number 1
Step 1: Across the top of your screen you will see the word HOME and then Groups. When you click on Groups, you will see every connect group in alphabetical order. Skin Health is one of those groups.

Step 2: When you click on Skin Health you will be taken to a welcome page and a list of all discussions in chronological order. You might recognize a familiar discussion or others you can explore later.

Step 3: If you click on a Discussion you will be taken to a page just like this one where you can choose "Oldest to newest" or Newest to Oldest on the right-hand side to view the posts.

Attempt number 2
Step 1: On the right-hand side at the top of the page you will see a blue bar with the word "APPOINTMENT". Next on the left is your frame (we are awaiting your beautiful photo) and a down arrow.

Step 2: Click on the down arrow to open your profile. Click on the word Profile. As you move down the page you will see all of your own posts chronologically. That might be a good resource for you.

Attempt number 3
Step 1: To the left of your frame….you will see an envelope (for private messages) a bell and a magnifying glass in an empty box. Enter a user that you are seeking, e.g. "@mollymcgee" or a few words about the discussion you are following e.g. "itching everywhere".

Step 2: A drop-down will open with prior searches from which you can choose. If none of the printed options fit just click again on the magnifying glass and see if it has enough information to find your post.

Good luck. This is the first time I have walked someone through these options. Let me know if it works for you.

May you have contentment and ease
Chris

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@artscaping Thank you! Yes, I am a mess of conditions, and a veteran of surgeries and procedures (thankfully the last surgery was a laparoscopic gall bladder removal some twenty years ago), lol, which is why I follow that many threads at Mayo Connect! Have been learning a lot through the various members’ experiences. 😊

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@rashida

@artscaping Thank you! Yes, I am a mess of conditions, and a veteran of surgeries and procedures (thankfully the last surgery was a laparoscopic gall bladder removal some twenty years ago), lol, which is why I follow that many threads at Mayo Connect! Have been learning a lot through the various members’ experiences. 😊

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@rashida Me too! I'm a real veteran of so many of the conditions discussed on Mayo Clinic Connect!

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