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Itching driving me crazy!

Discussion in 'Hypersensitivity and Intolerance' started by justy, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Hi, its not sucvh a major symptom compared to others so i've mainly tried to ignore it, but now im wondering if there are theories out there about what is causing it. I thought that this might ppoint me in the direction of which way to go with general treatments ie is it immune related, infection related etc.

    My itching is
    Usually in the evening when im sitting on the sofa
    Sometimes in bed, but n ot usually
    All over my body - head, arms , legs trunk, back all at the same time
    comes and gos - i might have it for a week every night then it gos away for a week or two.

    I have'nt got a rash - but if i itch the tops of my arms go very bumpy. I do have a fire on in the evenings so it is warm - could be realted to that maybe. I have a dog who sometimes has fleas but we de flea him regularly and i dont get bites.

    I havent tried antihistamines. It was just as bad on a gluten free sugar free diet as it is without one.
    Any thoughts? any fellow sufferers?
    Justy.
  2. Valentijn

    Valentijn Activity Level: 3

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    It could be a reaction to something other than gluten, something that's basically triggering your body to release histamine from the cells it's stored in. I get that reaction both from gluten and from egg whites.

    I think there's lists online of certain foods that are more likely to cause this to happen.
  3. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    I have similar itching. Antihistimines have helped a lot with it.
  4. hurtingallthetimet

    hurtingallthetimet Senior Member

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    my skin gets dry and itchy also..not sure why...maybe its psorasis not sure of spelling..my hubby has it and it casues itching but he has the small red patches with it...
    maybe its someting your taking and its just causing itching and not a rash? or laundry or body soap?
  5. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    All sounds horribly familiar to me, Justy. My 'itching' has resumed again recently...

    Sofas are the worst for me, especially old fabric ones, and especially ones that have been heavily treated with flame retardants. So my sofa is semi-aniline flame-retardant-free leather.

    The main thing that has made a difference for me is to be extremely mindful of everything I'm wearing and what I'm sitting on when the itching gets better or worse, and then to avoid environments that provoke the itching and to look for clothes that minimise it. 100% cotton has generally been crucial, but it is harder and harder to find these days, and it's no guarantee - lots of clothing has been treated with stuff like formaldehyde at some point (I'm guessing it often gets sprayed with flame retardants if it's stored in a warehouse or something) and there doesn't seem to be any requirement to label clothing based on that treatment. Also, sometimes the fine print identifies that the trimmings (thread, seams etc) aren't guaranteed 100% cotton, and I sometimes react to them. For me, most of the time it seems like a non-local effect, like you describe: it's all over my body. But over the years I've discovered that the reaction is provoked by something I'm in contact with. Once I was detoxed and in an environment without irritants, and the itching calmed down, I was then able to notice what the things were that provoke the reaction. At the very point where it starts - just as a light tickling or mild itching - it tends to be a local effect and I can figure out from that what piece of clothing is causing it. About half an hour after that, though, it becomes impossible to isolate the cause, because I'm itching, burning, tingling all over. So I have to be really diligent and mindful, and not let it get out of control. Basically, when it starts up again, my life goes on hold until I've figured out what the cause is.

    As others have mentioned, diet makes a difference too. If I'm eating the wrong stuff (which is a very long list, particularly including wheat/gluten, eggs and many other things), then the sensitivity is greater. And the other way round as well: when my itching's bad because my clothing is 'infected' (with whatever) then my digestion is worse as well.

    Hot baths are a relief for me as well, and finding any kind of oasis where the sensitivity is reduced or eliminated is a crucial first step in my experience. The effect lingers for an hour or so after exposure, so it can be hard to tell when an environment is 'safe', but after a while it gradually subsides. And the whole effect is cumulative: it is fairly slow to build up past the threshold where I start to feel it, and also fairly slow to subside.

    I would love to find some explanation for this whole sensitivity, why it began, and how it can be reversed, but I've never come across such a explanation or treatment. The only thing that has been effective - and it's made a huge difference to all my other symptoms - is to identify all the many subtle triggers, and to be vigilant (though not necessarily strict as far as food is concerned) about avoiding them. Food and environmental sensitivity tests (going beyond what the NHS tests for as regular allergies) were crucial, those tests identified all the triggers I'd already figured out, plus a few more I wasn't aware of which made a big difference. I got these from Allergy UK and I'd strongly recommend contacting them and finding out whether they can suggest a similar test that's available near you. Other than that, experimenting with extreme patience with what is in your environment when you feel better or worse is the main thing that's worked for me.

    I really hope you find something that makes a difference for you, Justy. This itching really is better described as pain - neuropathic pain - and it is horrendous, it really does drive me crazy too, I've had it for 17 years, day and night, and pain is a better word than itching, honestly. It's horrible, but the hopeful aspect is that there is some subtle logic to it, there are reasons why it comes and goes, so it should be possible to improve the situation even if I still don't know how to eliminate it completely.
  6. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Thanks foe the replies.
    I did notice the other day that i felt much better and the itching stopped when i took my clothes off and put a cotton nightshirt on. I do prefer to wear natural fabrics, but its so hard to get them and afford them (plus we have clothes moths tht have eaten all my pure wool jumpers)

    My sofa are very very old - i dare not replace them due to flame retardants in a new one, i dont use any perfumed washing powder - eco only, and natural body care products.

    Mark - i think you are right about catching it early - as sson as it gets more intense it starts to spread and then nothing helps until i get changed and move rooms.Actually itching the itch is the worst thing i can do and leads to a severe worsening.

    I will definately think some more about foods. I have changed my diet a bit recently as i desperately need to lose some wieght - and the itching has increased since then.
    Thanks all. Justy.
  7. Mark

    Mark Acting CEO

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    Bingo!

    Yes, it's very difficult to get hold of cotton particularly, the price has gone through the roof in the last year or two. I was doing well with M&S until recently, but the latest set of 100% cotton clothes I bought there is no good. :( I was doing well at Primark for a while until the prices went up - stuff doesn't necessarily have to be really expensive, just the right kind of fabrics. I haven't had good results with the expensive stuff you get online for MCS sufferers, but haven't tried very much. Mainly I cast around a variety of shops and try on as much as I can...now that I'm tuned in to the effect, if I trust my instincts I can usually get a pretty good idea how something is going to work out in the first few minutes. Always a knackering experience though because I have to get through a lot of stuff that I react to in the process...

    That's most of my other suggestions already covered then. :( I use the washing balls, I found that all powders, even Eco ones, are a problem.

    Actually everything you've described does sound very similar. Except that for me I have found that the nature of this itching is that each individual itch has to be rubbed gently (not scratched), they basically never subside on their own, once they start, they just grow and grow and get more painful until I touch them. One little touch and they go...and start up somewhere else moments later. Moving around a bit sometimes helps. I've actually wondered whether the actual problem I have is that somehow what's broken is the 'cancellation' part of the neurology - natural little itches are not getting 'cancelled' as 'irrelevant' for some reason and that's why I'm so sensitive. But...I don't know...

    Another thing is that I have found that, for me, the itching fundamentally prevents proper deep sleep. When the itching is 'on' severely, I will have a night or two where I just can't sleep at all because of the pain. Then, of course, I am just exhausted. After that, I will be able to fall sleep because I'm so sleep-deprived, and actually at that point I'm not feeling the itching, my skin is more 'numb', it's as if I go far enough past a threshold that I don't feel it any more in order to sleep. But the key thing is: once I'm in that state, I sleep, but not properly. That's when I wake up feeling absolutely trashed, more exhausted than ever. No more itching, just exhaustion. And the longer that goes on, the worse it gets, and within a few days I'm sleeping 14 hours and waking up absolutely exhausted. That has been happening again in recent weeks (and I haven't found the replacement clothes I need yet, but I definitely know it's the clothes that are fundamental, most of them have "gone bad")...and after a week or so of it, my neck and back pain came back again, then I started getting muscle weakness, then joint pain, then losing concentration...when I'm not able to truly sleep, it's clear to me that my muscles are not physically recovering during sleep as they normally would. I had chronic back and neck pain for years and years, saw every specialist going...then one day I got new bed and bedding along the lines described above, and the leather sofa, and overnight, my neck pain was gone - one good night's sleep, the first in many years, was all it took to fix that!...

    Figures - dietary factors are correlated for me. My theory is that it's all 'skin' - effectively both one's skin and the lining of the gut define a surface, a boundary between the inside of the body and the outside world - consider the topology of it and it makes sense that anything affecting the overall sensitivity of one would also affect the sensitivity of the other. Food sensitivities are different for different people of course, so 'eat a healthy diet' is just not good enough advice - a classical healthy diet can contain foods that some of us are very sensitive to; the problem foods include quite a lot of stuff that is "good for you". For me, my fallback solution when things get tough is beef, potatoes and peas, plus cheese and fruit smoothies. Luckily I can tolerate dairy and fruit. Elimination diet confirmed for me that really only that basic diet is fine for me. Oh, and if the weight gain is basically bloating round the stomach, for me that turned out to be inflammation of the gut due to wheat/gluten, and as soon as I cut that out my stomach flattened out again without any exercise or reduction in eating required; I lost weight too.

    All just my own experience, but there must be other people for whom all this is relevant as well...I hope somebody finds it helpful and I hope you get your itching under control Justy.
  8. justy

    justy Senior Member

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    Thanks Mark for the reply. I wonder if the itching thing is more common in those of us with noticable MCS. My MCS is not severe but i had it before the M.E, since i was a child.
    Do the waswhing balls really clean your clothes? i have considered them before and will think about them again (or maybe STOP thinking about them and just buy some!)

    It is interesting that you refer to clothes going bad - i had some bras that just made me itch and itch but i couldnt afford to replace them, recently i bought three new ones and threw the old ones out. The new ones are not cotton, but the itching from wearing the old ones has completely gone. Would this relate to some sort of fungal infection maybe?

    I also wobder wether its neurological and nit really in the skin as such, i have had a lot of neurological problems in the past.

    My final idea was wehter this pointas to a particular infection - i was hoping someone who knows about these things might pop in with an idea. Im sure ive read elsewhere that some of the co infections can include itching as a symptom but cant remember where i saw it.

    I'm so sorry that you are having these problems with sleeping - that is the sort of thing that can throw you right off kilter.
    Take care, Justy.
  9. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    Mark, I completely agree with you. I also think that the tight junctions are affected by our form of CFS. Unfortunately I have no idea what causes this barrier disruption but I haven't come over a solution either. What I do know however is that skin, gut and BBB integrity are connected in some way. It could be that they rely on the same resource regarding integrity e.g. skin uses up resource to protect itself from allergens and the following scarcity of the resource leads to a weakening of the BBB as well. It also could be that basic mechanism behind all three parts is the same and gets triggered by the same cause e.g. tight junctions open following a wrong signal. I really hope that some drugs will be made available which address this problem.
  10. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    I had severe itching as well, but it vanished when I started taking lower doses B12. Not sure if it was related, but higher doses B12 can cause itching.
  11. Foggy

    Foggy

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    I have severe itching too.

    The only way i've found to 'control it' is antihistamines (day and night), wear and sleep in natural materials only i.e. cotton, bamboo etc and use non-soap stuff - at the moment I'm using Pinetarsol (stinks to high heaven but it works).
  12. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

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    I have itching and/or rash. I am not sure if the rash appears and itches me first, or if I am itchy and then my scratching causes the bumps.

    I think I have liver and/or kidney problems, but it says those usually cause itching all over. Mine is not in every part of my body. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/itchy-skin/DS00847/DSECTION=causes

    I wish I knew why. I think I am being exposed to mold and/or other toxins in the place I live now :( I don't know if the itching started as soon as I moved, or soon after. It could have started before. I was exposed to more chemicals in the months before moving.

    I know mine is not from bedding or clothing or furniture. I doubt it's from food either because I have varied my diet with no effect.

    Mine does respond well to antihistamines.
  13. Calathea

    Calathea Darkness therapy

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    I get itching if I'm on codeine, and antihistamines seem to work pretty well for that. I think they're quite mild as meds go, worth trying. Have you had any medication changes recently?

    The diet sounds worth peering at in detail. Perhaps it's your lunch?

    I too have to be careful about fabrics, toiletries and detergents. I like cotton for next to the skin, wool might be a natural fabric but it gives lots of people the itchies. I use Oliva soap, it's basically just saponified olive oil, and my current laundry liquid is Clearspring. Bear in mind that I'm vegan too, which restricts which products I can use. There's always the difficulty of finding something which is mild enough not to irritate my skin, but will actually do the job and get my clothes clean. Washing balls were a bit of a con last I checked, though, you're basically just washing your clothes in water alone and adding a tiny bit extra friction. You'd be as well to try washing your clothes with no detergent at all, giving it long enough for residual detergent to work its way out of your machine, and see if that's enough for you.

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