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Very strange itching problem
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Very strange itching problem

I've been having this odd itching problem all over my body since the end of January. I first noticed it while at work and it felt like someone was standing behind me lightly poking at my head with a feather. Generally it's not an itch that I actually have to scratch - just a light brushing with my and or fingers makes the itch stop at any given location on my body. It affects my scalp quite a lot and has made it very difficult to sleep at times. It also wakes me up from sleep too occasionally. I've been to my family doctor and even to a dermatologist as I had been concerned of parasites on my body. Since I have no rash or lesions of any kind, my doctor ruled out any kind of parasite. The dermatologist unfortunately just wanted to mask the problem and not determine its cause. I lost my insurance just after seeing the dermatologist (back in April) so I have been unable to pursue any kind of treatment since then. I'm thinking that I am allergic to something but have not been able to figure it out so far. I can tell you that I feel the tingling/itching more when I begin to sweat (especially in bed), and if I look at my arm while the tingling/itching is occurring, I can often see individual hairs on my arm twitch or bend over by themselves. Keep in mind that I am careful to be sure that I am not breathing on my arm as I am observing this. Here's what else I can tell you:

1. Feels like bugs crawling on me
2. Flares up a lot in bed - I often have to sleep with sweat pants and a t-shirt on to help alleviate the itching.
3. AC running in bedroom can help.
4. Not so bad after showing.
5. I have dry skin - possible cause.
6. I have very dry patchy spots on my knuckles and knees which the dermatologist called Xerosis.
7. I have changed soaps and shampoos with no affect.
8. I am suspecting dryer sheets so I do not use those anymore, however I use a community dryer so I'm sure others are using dryer sheets, so if this is the cause I'm going to have a tough time factoring that out (for now).
9. Does not seem to be a food allergy - I did not change anything in my diet or routine just before the condition started.
10. I notice the problem mostly on my scalp, my eyebrows, my goatee, arms and legs. It used to be worse on my chest also, but not too much lately.
11. In bed, I can have my arm positioned under my pillow and will feel it flare up. When I remove my arm and look at it the sensations slowly begin to fade away plus I can see a few of my arm hairs individually reacting by either quickly twitching or slowly laying down, almost like they're reacting to static, but I find it hard to believe that static is causing this problem.
12. If I start to sweat while sleeping, I can feel it all over my forehead very profoundly, like every pore is litterly popping like popcorn.
13. Wearing a ball cap can make it flare up on my scalp.
14. Stopped taking vitamins and Propecia - no help.

Any ideas as to what's going on - want to be sure I'm not dying from this :)
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242489 tn?1210500813
I don't really know.  It doesn't sound like parasites at all.  I'm not sure you have any skin problem at all.  It may be that you are thinking so intently about your skin that you are magnifying ordinary skin sensations to the point where they are bothering you.  (Your exceedingly meticulous recounting of sensations suggests this.)  This is what we call a diagnosis of exclusion--all other diagnoses have to be ruled out.  You may need to spring for another doctor's visit to verify this or find an alternative.  Not having health insurance does not completely rule out seeing a doctor, and unless you see one, I don't know how you are going to assure yourself that you are OK, as I believe you are.

Good luck.

Dr. Rockoff
Avatar n tn
Thanks for your reply. Trust me when I say that I've personally ruled out the "all in my head" theory. One definitive reason for that is that this condition has been able to repeatedly (and very profoundly) wake me up at night. Plus I can physically see and feel individual hairs move on my head and my arm (like they are reacting to something). As for being meticulous, I do software testing for a living and am trained to be very meticulous and highly analytical in problem solving - and boy do I have a problem. Please understand too, that if you had a condition where it felt like bugs were crawling on you, you would try to relay any and all information that you could to a doctor. It's funny how easy it is for people and doctors to just run to the "all in your head" theory when they don't have an explanation - and very frustrating too!

I will be getting insurance again soon and plan will be seeing my doctor again. I've already had a blood test and ruled out liver problems. I would like to rule out any neurological conditions as well. Thanks again for your time - I primarily was just wondering if you'd ever come across such a condition in your experience. I guess I'm the first one.
Avatar n tn
I have exactly same type of itch...this is my story. I am demented and tormented by it and in fear of vitiligo having to be faced by me.  Again can't seem to get to bottom of it and it is all affecting my self esteem.Myself and my partner have suffered from intense itching which we believed
to be scabies for nearly a  year and a half which we believed originally to
be scabies due to his mother becoming infected as a result of her job.
However applicaion after application of derbac, lyclear and Qeullada M did
nothing to relieve the symptoms. We got some releif for up to a couple of
weeks or more at a time and the tlast time was for 6 weeks and then it
returned again. we did all the washign and cleaning involved in getting rid
of the infestation, bed clothes, clothes, foot wear etc and then over a year
after first becoming infected I have in recent couple of months developed
white patches on various areas of my body including backs of hands, skin
under cuticle of each finger, abdomen/torso, inner thighs and across feet
where joining with toes is. Also on arms near fold..I fear vitiligo but we
still have the itch and it will come and go every couple of days. We have
stopped applying the derbac and have been doubting it even is scabies but I
am now thinking it must be as the itch symptom s are exactly as for scabies
etc my partner has developed small growths on arms etc a small number as
well as very very flaky skin on scalp and face. He also has a huge blister
on sole of one foot which dries up and leaves huge very veyr white crusty
thick skin. He developed red "blood spots over his body during the  past
year and half which never went in most cases. I do not have these howeer, I
did have a few but then they disappeared overnight usually. Please help I am
waiting to see a dermatolgoist and i am in dreaded fear of beign told I have
vitiligo as i have these hypopigmented spots on various areas. It is really
affecting me.

Please anyone help.... I am hoping that it is something like a fungus or both the itch and the white patches or at least taht the white patches are as a result of the itch/fungus /scabies or whatever but even at that can anyone tell me if hypopigmentatin due to post inflammatory cause can be reversed in time etc? I am feeling sooo low over this and the uncertainty and lack of support here ie Ireland, where waiting lists to see a dermatologist like any other specialist is so long. I have an appointment eventually now for 10th December but I dread hearing the word Vitiligo.

Please anyone who can advise me I would be interested in hearing from you.

Avatar n tn
OMG>>> someone else has the same problem as me... however mine is a little different. Mine as well as yours, mostly occurs at night when I'm getting ready for bed. After lying down for a min. or two. I also have little red bumbs in patches of my body that itch like crazy!!!! i dont know what to do and if anyone could help that would be great. I do have dry skin and I have used Coco butter to keep moisture in but that does no good and when it does its only for a few min. Also have tried the anti itch cream from benadryl and also hydrocortisone... still nothing.
Avatar n tn
hey now its on the bottoms of my feet and the palms of my hands... i dont know what to do and this is killing me. if anyone can help PLEASE DO....!!!!!
Avatar n tn
Hey guys. These last 2 examples do not seem to be what I have, as I have absolutely no visible marks of any kind that are associated with itching. I just got back from Cancun where I was for a week and a half. The problem did seem to go away somewhat while I was there - but not completely. My first 4 or 5 days there I still noticed it, mostly in bed. Towards the end of the trip, I did not notice the problem as much. The problem definitely became noticeable again when I got home in bed at night. I just can't put my finger on it, but it really kind of seems like I'm allergic to something in my home environment, like dust or some other airborne particle - particles when accumulate on my bed and get all over my body when I lay down at night. It's very strange, but at least it doesn't seem harmful. I mainly want to rule out any neurological condition, plus I want to make sure I'm not contagious in any way. No one else shares my bed so I can't tell if it's just me or not.
Avatar n tn
I had this a few years ago. My face felt like it had a million worms under my skin. (also felt like I had carbonated blood)and the feeling of being lightly brushed with a feather.
I had an intensely itchy rash on one arm which worked its way across my my neck and down my other arm. I saw a doctor who diagnosed the rash as Scabies. I believed this diagnoses as we have a dog that had caught FOX MANGE about the same time I started to itch. After months of treatments I arranged an appointment with a skin specialist. She assured me that I didn't have Scabies and my trouble was very dry skin.
(No wonder with all the Scabies treatment I was having.)

I am a type 2 diabetic and went on a fairly low carb diet to control high blood glucose and I'm convinced this is what cleared the itching and rash. I also took half an asprin to thin my blood and a multi vitamin daily.

To this day I don't know what I had or where I got it from or even if it was connected to Diabetes. It nearly drove me crazy.
Avatar n tn
I have the exact same problem as Itchy05.  Verbatim!!!  I had it last spring.  I concluded I had scabies (even though I didn't have the typical sores) so treated myself, repeated, with scabies remedies.  It finally went away after 3 whole months (or maybe it just corrected itself) - I actually left my house for an entire week after bombing the whole place (I was determined to kill any little bug that might be doing this to me.  I finally won the battle last summer.

I thought I would never have to endure that ailment again but strangely enough it's back. But I honestly don't know how it could be scabies again!!!  Does anyone on this thread take Valtrex regularly???   Or perhaps have a water garden??  (I know it sounds crazy).
Avatar n tn
BTW, I also take Propecia, and apply Minoxidil.  And since I work out also, and my itching seems to be worse in the groin and armpits (areas that sweat the most on me), I'm wondering if some strange combination of drugs being sweated out through the skin is causing this irritation??  Or perhaps I'm scratching my head as I sleep then scratching other areas of my body thus transferring Minoxidil to those sites thus causing the problem.  

Of course, all these little theories don't explain why 1-2 hours after going to sleep, I wake up not just from itching but mostly due to a sudden heat flash.  

This waking up hot and itchy is a telltale sign of scabies which is why I always arrive back at the same conclusion.  I just can't believe I'm getting these little buggers after 40 years of living and now twice in a year's time.  

Trying to think what changed in my life just prior to this problem arising:

1. I joined a gym (thus sweating more)
2. I started on Proscar (finasteride)
3. I started on Minoxidil

And I take Valtrex.   I have to think this must have something to do with it even though my symptoms seem like textbook scabies.  I just can't believe scabies is that prevalent!!
Avatar n tn
I think I do have the same thing as you. I can be sitting on the couch, or walking through wal-mart, or playing XBox, and my ENTIRE body just starts itching. It does not matter what I do, I cannot get rid of it. It goes away on its own after a few minutes of agony. I do not show ANYTHING on my skin. My hair doesn't even do anything. I have no clue what it is at all. I'm going to a doctor later today for it, among a couple other things. Maybe he can tell me something.
Avatar n tn
Itchy05 could not have described better the symptoms I have. That ichty and crawling sensation on my scalp and skin, including my feet. It is 6 months now and I thought that I was going to be crazy. I first thought that there were tiny flies or fleas and I used insecticide all over the house with no success. I recently bought a microscope and scrabbed my skin to see some moving microorganism. I am still tring to develop a better technique to focus and to iluminate and take pictures. In the meantime, I have been searching the web and recently I found some information about mites that live in the sebaceous glands and swetglands. I even found pictures and a movie of the mites. It is starting to make sense and I know that it is not in my head because my partner has similar problems, mostly on the scalp. If anyone is interested, I can provide the link to the movie of these mites. That website has also information about some soap with zinc oxide and sulfuric acid and some creams. I just order those products but I have no idea if they will work. I have read some testimonials that it helped cure scabbies and acne which this mites can cause in the long run. For now I do not have scabbies or acne, only the itchy-crawling symptoms. I find very interesting the comments about the person that had diabetes and the symptoms have gone away now. I will do a bit more research on that as well. I am looking forward to hear from other people's experiences, especially for a treatment that works! I know that showering before going to bed and changing regularly bed clothing helps. I wash my cloths also with detergents that have enzymes that destroy proteins and that seems to help also. I will try the soap and the cream which I recently ordered from a website but apparently  it will take weeks before the mites are eliminated. I will share my experince in about a couple of months from now.
Avatar n tn
A related discussion, Itchy skin ,driving me mad was started.
Avatar m tn
A related discussion, Itchy04 please respond was started.
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