Health Diseases


Itching - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Itch is a common problem. Itches can be localized (limited to one area of the body) or generalized (in which itching occurs all over the body or in several different areas).An uncomfortable sensation in the skin that feels as if something is crawling on the skin or in the skin, and makes the person want to scratch the affected area.It is a a contagious skin infection caused by the itch mite; characterized by persistent itching and skin irritation .

An itch that is accompanied by lesions usually should be evaluated by a physician and, in some cases, by a dermatologist since the problem is likely to be a condition that requires specialized medical treatment .Itching can profoundly affect quality of life. It can torment the patient and cause discomfort, stress, loss of sleep, concentration difficulty, and constant concern. Itching can take place in the whole body or in some specific body part. Itching, known medically as pruritus, has a great variety of possible causes. It may accompany various skin diseases such as hives, eczema, contact dermatitis (allergic reaction to materials contacting the skin), insect bites, prickly heat ,and scabies.

Itching is a tingling or uneasy irritation of the skin that makes you want to scratch the affected area. When itching is generalized and persistent, medical help may be needed to determine and treat the cause.Generalized itch, for obvious reasons, is more difficult to treat. Itches can also occur with or without skin lesions (e.g., bumps or blisters). An uncomfortable sensation in the skin that feels as if something is crawling on the skin or in the skin , and makes the person want to scratch the affected area. Dry skin, especially in older people, can cause generalized itching. In some women during the later months of pregnancy, itching may occur without any skin lesions. Many drugs, including barbiturates (sleeping pills), can cause itching.

Itching, also called pruritus, is an unpleasant sensation of the skin that causes a person to scratch or rub the area to find relief. Generalized itching can accompany some internal diseases, and sometimes may be the only troublesome symptom. Among such diseases are gallbladder disease and uremia (often associated with hyperparathyroidism, or excessive functioning of the parathyroid glands in the neck area).Severe scratching can injure the skin causing redness, bumps, and scratches. Injured skin is prone to infection. Itching instinctively leads most people to scratch the affected area. Different people can tolerate different amounts of itching, and the threshold of tolerance can change due to stress, emotions, and other factors.

Causes of Itch

Here are the list of the possible causes of Itch:

  • Exposure to water and hot baths
  • Skin diseases like Psoriasis
  • Presence of parasites on the body
  • Itching is associated with a variety of factors including skin diseases, blood diseases, emotions, and drugreactions as well as by cancer and cancer treatments.
  • Contact irritants (such as soaps, chemicals, or wool)
  • Parasites such as pinworm
  • Reactions to medications and substances such as antibiotics (penicillin, sulfonamides), gold, griseofulvin, isoniazid, opiates, phenothiazines, or vitamin A
  • Pregnancy
  • Chemical irritants -- such as detergents, fabric softeners, feminine sprays, ointments, creams, douches, and contraceptive foams or jellies.

Symptoms of Itch

Some sign and symptoms related to Itch are as follows:

  • Scaly patches
  • Development of blisters
  • Itching is often worse at night or at times when there are no distractions.
  • Heavy infestation may cause fever , chills, lymph node enlargement, and liver and spleen enlargement.
  • Intestinal symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhea (which may be bloody).
  • Prolonged scratching

Treatment of Itch

Some common treatment methods are as follows:

  • wearing loose-fitting cotton clothing
  • avoiding high-friction garments such as belts, pantyhose, and bras
  • maintaining a cool environment with a 30% to 40% humidity level
  • Change out of wet clothing, especially wet bathing suits or exercise clothing, as soon as possible after completion of the activity.
  • Avoid feminine hygiene sprays and douches -- despite the popular belief that they may help, they often worsen itching.
  • Take up an enjoyable hobby that distracts from the itching during the day and makes you tired enough to sleep at night.
  • Try over-the-counter oral antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl).
  • Use moisturizer on the skin, particularly in the dry winter months. Dry skin is a common cause of itching.
  • Apply cold compresses to an itchy area.



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