Dermatology Expert Forum
Itching arms and legs
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions regarding Dermatology issues, such as: rashes, acne, birthmarks, skin infections, rosacea, and general skin care. All questions will be answered by a medical professional.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Itching arms and legs

I am a 37 year old female.  For about 6 years I have been suffering with some kind of condition that makes my arms and legs itch terribly.  It only happens when my legs or arms are exposed (nothing covering them) and they are hot or warm.  When any type of cool air hits them I develop a painful burning itch. When you run your hand over my skin, you can feel the hives or bumps underneath, but you can't see anything.  There is no change in the color of my skin.

Some examples of times that it occurs is: if I take a bath and then put shorts and/or short sleeves on and the air conditioning is on; if I am kneeling on the carpet with bare legs and then stand up and the air hits my legs; If I am outside, wearing shorts, on a humid-hot night and a cool breeze begins to blow; sometimes when I get into a swimming pool on a hot day; more recently it is happening when I move from a room without a fan to a room with a fan.  I live in Florida, so it is impossible to wear long sleeves and long pants all the time.

When it starts, the only way that is seems to stop is if I cover up with heavy blankets or clothing and sweat for about 15 minutes or so.  During that time, the itch and pain is unbelievable!

This condition has been getting worse and worse and it is happening more frequently.  I went to the doctor a few years ago about this and he told me it is very common problem and prescribed me Cyproheptadine which he wanted me to take 4 times a day.  This medicine knocks me out and I cannot take it and if the problem is common, I have never met anyone else who has it.  Everyone thinks I am weird when I explain it.  

It is starting to affect my life more and more.  I am afraid to shave my legs because I know I will suffer afterwards.  It happens at least weekly now so I keep sweatpants on at all times when I am home.  I can't remember the last time I wore shorts.  I have tried Claritin and anti-histemines, both oral and lotions - they don't help.

The first time it happened, I was in the swimming pool and it was so bad I got out and got in the shower thinking it was the clorine.  The only medication I take regularly is Effexor which was prescribed to me when I appeared to be gaining too much weight on Paxil.  I may have switched those medications around the same time as the itching started but I can't remember for sure.   The only other thing that was going on when the itching started was that I had a heel spur and I had been getting regular steroid injections in my heel.  My orthopedic doctor finally performed an operation and cut the tendon - I believe that was the same summer that the itching started.

I really would like to know exactly what this condition is and how I can make it go away.  It came from somewhere and I want it to go back now.  Thank goodness it doesn't occur everyday...yet!
Related Discussions
242489_tn?1210500813
I'm afraid I have to agree with you that this is not at all a common condition.  In fact, I don't recall seeing any patients with this condition, as you describe it.  I think you need to be evaluated from two standpoints--skin and allergy.  It would be helpful if a skin doctor could see you when the condition is present--perhaps you could do what it takes to bring the symptoms on when you get to see the doctor.  Also, an allergist can look at you with en eye to some allergic stimulus, though physical urticaria (hives), such as those from cold or water, are usually not allergic.

Even if no specific cause is found, the challenge will be to suppress the symptoms.  There hopefully is some option in between Claritin and 4 cyproheptadines a day (that dose will knock almost anyone into semi-coma.)

Good luck.

Dr. Rockoff
11 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I to suffer from a strange itching. I asked my mom about it and she said it was hives and nothing to worry about. But they won't go away.I get little, itty-bitty bums and small discolored patches of skin. I look spotted almost. The patches turn lighter than my normal skin tone. The itching is only on my arms and legs, and it comes in waves. Sometimes I can't stand it and i scratch until I bleed and other times I don't really notice the itch. Do you have any advice? If you do could you please e-mail me at ***@**** ? I need any suggestion.  Thank you.
      -Amanda
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have this same problem. It is getting more severe as time goes by. It seems to only be on my legs.Shaving is pure hell ( the pain afterwards is horrible). It is an itch that feels almost like sharp stabbing needles. Sometimes I can swim and I am fine afterwards, other times after I swim I lie in pain for an hour. It feels like someone has dumped acid on your skin. I have tried everything. Changed soap, diet, laundry detergent, took vitiams, stayed out of the sun, got more sun, exfolitated, different kind of razors, tried hair removers instead of shaving, nothing works. There is never a visable rash except the red marks from me itching my skin. I am taking pain pills to get through the hour after I get a shower everyday that my skin is burning. After the pain my skin is fine. I have no problems till the next time I get wet. Does anybody else have this problem and if they do how do you get relief?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
About 10 years ago, after taking a shower, I received a terrible itch on my legs. I have had this itching ever since. At some point it apperared also on my arms in the area over the elbow.
Most of the time the itching starts after I take a shower, but not always. Very often when i get up in the night and then go back in bed the itching starts. Some times it starts while I am sleeping. It is triggered also by rubbing, rough materials, pressing, etc. I do not shave any more. sleep in expensive smooth cotton peracles (not satin - too soft materials that twirl around my legs also cause itching)and also always wear long pents - smooth soft cotton, but not too soft and thin.
I visited several dermatologists, one neurologist, consulted also with our family doctors, but no body has found the exact reason and cure for my itching. I tried all kinds of lotions, soaps, pills for hives, allergies, restless legs and others that knock me down. I am still trying to find out why sometimes my legs and arms are so prone to itching and why there are times when they are more resistant and not so sensitive.
The sensation is as if I have wounds covered with salt - it is itching, pinching, burning. Sometimes it is less and if I am going somewhere or am engaged with something it eventually goes away. But sometimes it is terrible - unbearable. In this cases the only thing that makes the itching go away is submerging in very hot water in the bath tub. Contrary to most medical advises about not bathing in very hot water, this makes my itch go way. I stay in the tub for 30 minutes or so.
I am still searing for information and oserving to find out why my legs and arms are so prone to itching sometimes. I am 37 years old. There is nothing visible on my skin when i have the itching.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
About 10 years ago, after taking a shower, I received a terrible itch on my legs. I have had this itching ever since. At some point it apperared also on my arms in the area over the elbow.
Most of the time the itching starts after I take a shower, but not always. Very often when i get up in the night and then go back in bed the itching starts. Some times it starts while I am sleeping. It is triggered also by rubbing, rough materials, pressing, etc. I do not shave any more. sleep in expensive smooth cotton peracles (not satin - too soft materials that twirl around my legs also cause itching)and also always wear long pents - smooth soft cotton, but not too soft and thin.
I visited several dermatologists, one neurologist, consulted also with our family doctors, but no body has found the exact reason and cure for my itching. I tried all kinds of lotions, soaps, pills for hives, allergies, restless legs and others that knock me down. I am still trying to find out why sometimes my legs and arms are so prone to itching and why there are times when they are more resistant and not so sensitive.
The sensation is as if I have wounds covered with salt - it is itching, pinching, burning. Sometimes it is less and if I am going somewhere or am engaged with something it eventually goes away. But sometimes it is terrible - unbearable. In this cases the only thing that makes the itching go away is submerging in very hot water in the bath tub. Contrary to most medical advises about not bathing in very hot water, this makes my itch go way. I stay in the tub for 30 minutes or so.
I am still searing for information and oserving to find out why my legs and arms are so prone to itching sometimes. I am 37 years old. There is nothing visible on my skin when i have the itching.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
About 10 years ago, after taking a shower, I received a terrible itch on my legs. I have had this itching ever since. At some point it apperared also on my arms in the area over the elbow.
Most of the time the itching starts after I take a shower, but not always. Very often when i get up in the night and then go back in bed the itching starts. Some times it starts while I am sleeping. It is triggered also by rubbing, rough materials, pressing, etc. I do not shave any more. sleep in expensive smooth cotton peracles (not satin - too soft materials that twirl around my legs also cause itching)and also always wear long pents - smooth soft cotton, but not too soft and thin.
I visited several dermatologists, one neurologist, consulted also with our family doctors, but no body has found the exact reason and cure for my itching. I tried all kinds of lotions, soaps, pills for hives, allergies, restless legs and others that knock me down. I am still trying to find out why sometimes my legs and arms are so prone to itching and why there are times when they are more resistant and not so sensitive.
The sensation is as if I have wounds covered with salt - it is itching, pinching, burning. Sometimes it is less and if I am going somewhere or am engaged with something it eventually goes away. But sometimes it is terrible - unbearable. In this cases the only thing that makes the itching go away is submerging in very hot water in the bath tub. Contrary to most medical advises about not bathing in very hot water, this makes my itch go way. I stay in the tub for 30 minutes or so.
I am still searing for information and oserving to find out why my legs and arms are so prone to itching sometimes. I am 37 years old. There is nothing visible on my skin when i have the itching.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have the exact same conditions as everyone on this site.  I have fond that a small relief is "Burn Aid".  I first found this in the First Aid cabinet at work and tried it in despiration.  It seems to numb the area and cool it long enough for the initial itch to stop.  

Good Luck!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have the exact same conditions as everyone on this site.  I have fond that a small relief is "Burn Aid".  I first found this in the First Aid cabinet at work and tried it in despiration.  It seems to numb the area and cool it long enough for the initial itch to stop.  

Good Luck!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have the exact same conditions as everyone on this site.  I have fond that a small relief is "Burn Aid".  I first found this in the First Aid cabinet at work and tried it in despiration.  It seems to numb the area and cool it long enough for the initial itch to stop.  

Good Luck!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
zina, it sounds like you have exactly what I have, I just wish you knew what is was as it drives me crazy.
I first noticed it a couple of years ago after swimmming when I would get an itching on the top half of my arms and my legs.
It got worse that I now can't bear to go swimming as for about an hour afterwards it itches so much that it's unbearable.
Then I started noticing it after I had a shower and again now I can't take a shower for fear of the itching.  It also happens if I have a bath if the water isn't really hot.
It has now progressed so that I often get it when I go to bed at night.  After about 10-15 mins in bed, I start itching on my arms and back (not so much my legs).  Once I start scratching to try to ease it it then becomes unbearable and I have to get out of bed until the itching stops.  
Scratching doesn't seem to give any release anyway as the itch feels like its under the skin so I can't reach it.
Strangely, I'm 37 too as was the first person in the thread - co-incidence or not ?
Sorry I can't tell you how to cure it or relieve the itching but it might make you feel better to know that you're not alone in this (or then again it might not).
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Oh - it's awful.  About 10 years ago my arms started itching for no reason.  There is no evidence of eczema or any other affliction.  I have been to 12 Drs. and 7 dermatologists and NO ONE can tell me anything about it or what is causing it.  One dermatologist suggested that it was from the sun - yet it started in February and I had NO sun at that time and it is much worse in the winter.  It wakes me up most nights - I've used steroid/cortizone creams and NOTHING takes the itch away.

Please email me if you have ANY information you would like to share.  It's driving me CRAZY!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, itching was started.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, Itching arms and Legs was started.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Hi I'm michelle I've been suffering with itching all over my body when I get out of the bath and worse if it's a shower I put moisturiser on straight after I'm dry which helps a bit but until I get clothes on it gets bad it was worse when I was pregnant. I also hav 2 get in2 a hot bath if it's 2 cold it is really bad. I do get itchy alot through the day especially on arms. When I do scrath the pain is extremly sore like sum1 has punched me really hard it's like tats on most parts of my body even when someone pokes me lightly or grabs me lightly it's really sore pain I dnt understand why it's like this an it doesn't seem like it's getting any better an it's really annoying me. Do u have any ideas what it could be? Plz help. :-(
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
563773_tn?1374250139
Bhupinder Kaur, MDBlank
Private practice
,
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank