Itching is an irritating sensation that arouses the need to scratch the skin. Sometimes it can also be painful. Often, you feel a part of the body itches, but sometimes you can feel itching all over your body. Along with itching, you may also have a rash or hives.
What is Itching:
Itching is an extremely unpleasant sensation of irritation of any part of the skin that can cause a significant inconvenience to a person. Usually, itching is the response of the body, aimed at removing the irritant from the surface of the skin (for example, removing a corrosive substance or the skin of an insect). In other cases, itching may serve as a symptom of some diseases. Constant itching of certain areas of the skin or the entire surface of the body can cause thinning of the skin, its damage in the form of combs and cracks, as well as inflammation. There are local itchy skin (itching in the anus, in the groin, itching of the head, etc.) and general itching, covering the entire body. The main causes of skin itching are skin diseases (allergic, fungal, inflammatory, etc.) liver and bile ducts, kidneys, diseases of the nervous system, and mental disorders. Due to the fact that the cause of the itch can be a variety of diseases, the diagnosis of itching (establishing its cause) can be very difficult. In most cases, the diagnosis of itching involves a dermatologist. Treatment of itching depends on the reason that caused it.
Symptoms of Itching
The best example of the symptom is the irritation that appears on the skin after scratching. It is a sensory reflex towards a stimulus that cannot be stopped or controlled. It is not always physical because it can also be due to neurological causes (the well-known “tics”).
In the case of dermal itching, it involves irritation in different degrees. It is not felt in the muscles or in the joints, because it is superficial. Itching may have various symptoms and degrees of intensity. The moment we feel the urge to itch and we scratch, the itching becomes pain or redness. Some of the physical symptoms of itching are hives, dry or cracked skin, scaly appearance, and blisters or bumps.
It can sting the skin of certain small areas, such as an arm or leg, or the entire body. Itching of the skin can occur without any other noticeable change in the skin. Some other symptoms of itching are as follows:
- Packages, spots or blisters
- Dry and cracked skin
- Skin with a scaly or tanned texture
The itching may be due to several external stimuli such as mechanical, electrical, chemical, or thermal stimulation. Any of them can trigger a reaction that is induced by the histamine of the skin, which causes irritation and the desire to scratch.
The most common cause is dry skin, which can be caused by exposure to harmful elements such as air conditioning or heating, environmental pollution, cleaning products, baths with very hot water, wet areas, etc. When the itching is excessive and the person scratches, it can cause bacterial infections or permanent scars.
- Other signs of itching can be skin disorders such as
- dandruff or hives
- Diseases such as chickenpox
- serious disorders such as anaemia
- thyroid problems
- celiac or hepatic disease
- pregnancies because they dry out the skin
- Diseases of the nervous system and allergic reactions to drugs or creams
Causes of Itching
Possible causes of skin itching include the following:
The causes of itching can be very different. Currently, dozens of diseases are known to be the main or secondary symptom of itching.
Below we will consider the most common causes of itching and describe the characteristic features of itching and additional symptoms characteristic of each disease, accompanied by itching:
- Neurodermatitis: (lichen planus) is considered one of the most common causes of widespread or localized pruritus. Severe itching is known as Pruritus. While moderate itching doesn’t usually harm, Pruritus can create complications. For neurodermatitis, the main characteristic is the appearance of very itchy skin areas (always in those places where the patient can reach to scratch or in places where the skin is constantly rubbed), which very quickly coarsen, become rough and become covered with small tubercles. A few days after the onset of itching, the area of the affected skin begins to turn pale in the centre (skin repair). The skin regeneration zone gradually spreads to the edges of the site, which, in this way, gradually disappears. As the skin recovers, the itching subsides.
- Contact dermatitis is an acute inflammation of the skin, which is a manifestation of an allergic reaction to the skin on the allergen. The main symptoms of contact dermatitis are locally pronounced itching, redness of the affected area of the skin, the appearance of blisters with their subsequent opening and ulceration. Contact dermatitis, as a rule, develops in the area of brushes after more or less prolonged contact of the skin area of the patient with an irritant (allergen, for example, medicine, dye, etc.).
- Atopic dermatitis is an acute inflammation of the skin of an allergic nature, which, as a rule, occurs even in childhood. The cause of atopic dermatitis is the genetically caused intolerance of certain substances called allergens. The main symptoms of atopic dermatitis: itchy skin, redness of the skin, the appearance of crusts in the affected area. As a rule, atopic dermatitis affects the face, neck, limbs and anterior surface of the baby’s abdomen.
- Fungal skin lesions (lichen, dermatophytosis) is a group of skin diseases caused by various kinds of fungi. Dermatophytosis (lichen) can affect the scalp, the surface of the body, limbs (especially the fungus affects the skin of the feet). Fungal skin lesions can cause various symptoms, one of which is itchy skin.
- Pediculosis – the accumulation of the human skin by parasites – lice. As a rule, pediculosis develops on the scalp and can cause permanent scalp itching. Inspection of the scalp during pediculosis reveals the presence of eggs or larvae of lice, as well as small bloody crusts that appear when combing.
- Scabies – a skin disease caused by an itch mite. Itching due to scabies is observed on the wrists, between the fingers, on the front surface of the abdomen, and also in the groin. Itching, when scabies exists, is usually worse at night. Scabies is characterized by the onset of pruritus from a limited area of the skin and a gradual spread to neighbouring skin areas.
- Insect bites – bites of many insects (mosquitoes, mosquitoes, bees, wasps, hornets, bugs, mites, fleas, spiders) can be accompanied by severe itching, pain, swelling and redness of the skin in the bite area.
- Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease, the exact cause of which is currently unknown. The main symptom of psoriasis is the appearance on the skin of well-delineated areas with reddening and whitish scales (from small to large) on the surface.
- Skin itching can also occur in people with dry skin, especially in old age, when the sebaceous glands are almost not functioning, or in seborrheic patients in which the sebaceous glands produce too little or, on the contrary, too much sebum.
Diagnosis of Itching
Diagnosis of diseases, because of which the itching appeared, depends on its localization.
When skin itching is observed, one should consult a dermatologist. The doctor assesses the skin condition. If necessary, the patient is referred to an oncologist and a haematologist (when there is a suspicion of lymphogranulomatosis or skin cancer). Diagnostics consists of the following stages:
- Visual examination of the body and lymph nodes. When an enlarged lymph node is detected, a biopsy is made from it.
- General blood analysis.
- Biochemical blood test, determination of blood glucose.
- General urine analysis.
- When there are foci and suspicious elements on the skin – dermatoscopy, scrapings.
- Ultrasound of the abdominal cavity organs,
- If patients complain of an itch in the anus, consultation and examination with a proctologist are needed. The survey includes:
- Visual inspection.
- Finger inspection
- Recto-manoscopy – examination of the rectum and part of the large intestine with the help of a rectoscope.
- Colonoscopy is an endoscopic examination of the large intestine.
- Analysis of faeces for eggs of the worm and protozoan microorganisms.
- Stool analysis that determines the quality of food digestion (coprogram).
- Ultrasound of the abdominal cavity organs.
Prevention of Itching (natural remedy)
Treatment for all forms of itching depends on the underlying reason. A rash on the neck attributed to an allergic reaction, such as urticaria, poison oak, or ivy, usually goes away on its own.
The main clinical conditions will require a personalized treatment with the possibility of correcting itching with said therapy. For several other harsh neck episodes, you may have the ability to calm down and also minimize the signs and symptoms of these natural remedies and easy lifestyle changes:
- Wear loose shirts that are made of 100% cotton to stop irritability.
- Use Aloe Vera gel on an itchy rash to relieve pain and itching pain.
- Laundry linen, towels and bedding with moderate cleaning agent without perfume.
- Use a paste in the itching area developed with water and also vitamin C.
- Add cooking soda to a trendy bathroom for a 15 to 20 minutes soak treatment.
- Stay away from scraping the neck.
- Keep the skin hydrated with clean water throughout the day.
- It uses important anti-inflammatory and antiallergic oils such as tea tree, sandalwood, jojoba and chamomile.
- Prevent direct sunlight.
- Increase your intake of vitamins C and E.
- Stop smoking cigarettes and stay away from the smoke
- Restrict or prevent caffeine and alcohols, as these elements may attract moisture from the skin.
- A rough neck could be an annoying condition induced by any variety of internal or external triggers. Irritation usually resolves on its own, however, in cases where it does not, further examination may be required.
For itching caused by serious underlying conditions, you must seek clinical attention. A lot of cases of the itchy neck can be treated by making some life modifications and also using a natural remedy.
Treatment of Itching
Once a cause is identified, treatments for itching of the skin may consist of the following:
Popular home remedies for moderate itching:
- Cut a large onion into slices and apply on the skin, fixing with a gauze or bandage. If it is a large area, rub the onion on the skin, without pressing, for a few minutes.
- Prepare a hot water bath and a cup of baking soda. Stir well and insert the itchy part, leaving 20 minutes. If the itching is on the whole body, do immersion bath with this mixture.
- Apply magnesium milk or witch hazel water to the affected area and in a few minutes, the discomfort will disappear. Repeat if necessary.
- Boil two tablespoons of lime, valerian or chamomile in a cup of water for 5 minutes. Drink as an accompaniment to the main meals. These infusions have a tranquillizing or sedative effect, being very good for cases of nervous, emotional or anxiety itching.
- Apply Aloe Vera gel or aloe directly on the affected area. You can cut a stem and rub it gently as well.
- Apply a high-quality moisturizer on the skin. Put cream (Cetaphil, Eucerin, CeraVe, others) on the affected skin at least once a day.
- Apply an ice pack or cold pack to the area where you feel itching. Another option is to directly rub an ice cube. This is not recommended for cases of urticaria or itching due to cold allergy. In this way, the blood vessels of the dermal surface are contracted and the number of irritating histamines that are being produced decreases.
- Wrap 1 cup of cornstarch and several crushed or macerated chamomile flowers in a thin cloth. Dip in the tub or container and then apply to the affected area.
- Boil a few tablespoons of oatmeal in flakes until paste forms. Let it cool and apply to the areas that sting you. Place a bandage or gauze.
- Macerate all night long 1 tablespoon of sarsaparilla root in a litre of water. The next morning boil for 20 minutes and drink 1 tablespoon each day, fasting preferably.
- Fill the tub with warm water and pour a litre of orange blossom water. Stay in the bathroom for 15 minutes. This is for cases of generalized urticaria. If it is only in one part of the body, pass a cotton ball soaked in orange blossom water.
- Boil a handful of nettle, another of sage and another of lemon balm in a litre of water. Drink three cups a day until the itching stops.
- Cut a handful of leaves and flowers of mauve very finely. Mix with butter until you get a homogeneous cream. Place in sterile gauze and apply to the affected area, letting act for a few minutes. Besides being good for itching softens the skin.
- Boil for half a pint of water with the stems of two celery sticks for 10 minutes. Strain and use the liquid to soak a bandage or gauze, which you should apply in the area that itches. Let it act throughout the night.
- Avoid scratching whenever possible. It covers the area that itches you if you cannot avoid scratching yourself. Cut your nails and wear gloves at night.
Apply a cream or lotion to relieve itching on the affected area. You can also use over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream for a short time containing at least one percent hydrocortisone may temporarily relieve the itching accompanied by redness and swelling of the skin. A calamine lotion or creams with capsaicin can also provide relief.
Skin itching can affect the quality of your life. Prolonged scratching and itching may increase the intensity of the itching, and possibly result in the following:
- Skin Lesions
- Scar formation
Itching is a fairly common phenomenon that has many causes of a different nature. Sometimes under this harmless at first glance, a very serious illness can hide.
Therefore, at the first symptoms of bodily itching, you should immediately consult a doctor. Early diagnosis and timely treatment will help to preserve the most important thing in life – health.