Why Am I So Itchy?
posted by Orem Family Medicine | November 20, 2019
Although allergies are a common reason for itchy skin, especially when paired with a rash, many non-allergic conditions can cause itching. If you aren’t sure what’s causing your itchy skin, talk to your doctor. You can also use the following guide to give you an idea of what could be making you itch.
It may sound simple, but dry skin is a common cause of itchiness, especially in the winter months. To soothe your dry skin, use moisturizer regularly and avoid long, hot showers.
Mosquito bites are usually easy to see, but bites from other pests, including bed bugs, head lice and dust mites, may not be as obvious. Your family doctor can determine if bugs are responsible for your itchy skin.
As you get older, your skin changes. By age 65, your skin becomes thinner and contains fewer natural oils, which causes dry, itchy skin. Other conditions common in seniors (such as shingles) can also contribute to itchiness.
Certain medications, including aspirin, prescription-strength pain relievers and some blood pressure drugs, may cause itchy skin as a side effect. Severe itchiness can also be an adverse reaction to the medications used for cancer treatment.
Damage to a nerve, whether it’s the result of injury or a disease, such as multiple sclerosis or stroke, can cause itchy skin. Itchiness caused by nerve damage is usually contained to one area of the body, and it isn’t accompanied by a rash.
In many cases, a change in the condition of the skin is the first or only sign of skin cancer. The change is often visible, but sometimes cancer causes an itchy spot to develop.
A persistent, annoying itch may be a warning sign for disease inside the body. Itchiness can be a symptom of conditions that affect the blood, like Hodgkin’s lymphoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Liver diseases, such as hepatitis C and cirrhosis, can also cause itchy skin, as can diabetes, HIV and an overactive thyroid gland.
If over-the-counter itch treatments aren’t working, or if you can’t determine the cause of your itch on your own, you may need to visit your family doctor. Once your doctor identifies a culprit, he or she can recommend a treatment plan.
“Not All That Itches Is Allergy.” American Academy of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology (AAAAI).
“10 Reasons Your Skin Itches Uncontrollably and How to Get Relief.” American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.