Itchy skin, no visible signs

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ItchySkin
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Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/27/2010 1:17 PM (GMT -6)   
I have itchy skin. There is no rash or any visible sign. My itching started when several changes happened in my life - 1) I used some diatomaceous earth to get rid of bedbugs (ugh, but they're gone now), 2) I moved into another apartment that had just been sprayed for cockroaches (ugh again), 3) the seasons changed, and 4) my diet changed because of the non-availability of fresh fruit.

As I said, there are no visible signs. It is not terribly intense, but keeps me from sleeping - I often drag myself into class having got two hours of sleep. I cannot learn or perform nearly as well as normal like that and worry that I will not be able to do well at all in college unless this problem is fixed. Usually when it is bad I itch a little all over, with itchy "bursts" coming every two to fifteen minutes, depending. Having the wrong kinds of fabrics pressing up against my skin definitely make it worse, but it itches even when nothing is against my skin.

The allergist tested me for food allergies, and all were negative. The dermatologist had no idea at all. The GP had lots of blood work done - gluten intolerance, liver function, iron levels... the only thing unusual was my level of eosinophils, which were high (60 of some unit, then 30 about a month later when I had more blood work done. 30 is high but pretty close to normal, I believe. There was no improvement in my symptoms during this time).

I have tried using skin moisturizers, avoiding soaps/creams/moisturizers, changing detergents, avoiding highly processed foods, taking shorter and cooler showers, eating or avoiding several foods that I suspected might be related (no change)... the only thing that seemed to help was avoiding my apartment, but now that I've gone back home for Christmas (and have a new condo to return to after Christmas), my itching is back and almost as bad as ever. It sometimes gets better for a few days with no pattern I can see -it did that during my move to my new condo, started to return the morning before I left, and then got worse over the past two days while I've been at home across the country for Christmas.

If it matters, I also have intermittent diarrhea, starting several months before my skin began to itch.

I've been trying for the last two months to solve this problem, but it feels like I'm chasing ghosts. So many possible causes, but none of them I see that match my symptom profile. I guess my top suspicion is still an allergy of some kind, but does that seem possible to you guys? None of the five or so doctors/NPs/etc. I've seen have any idea what to do. What is wrong with me?!?

Red_34
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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22022
   Posted 12/27/2010 4:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Such a mystery! I really have no idea :( We are not doctors here but hopefully someone will come along and answer your question. Have you tried Benedryl to help you sleep? What about oatmeal based skin lotions? Have you ever had your apartment checked for mold?
SHERRY
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs)/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds Syndrome~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis/GAD - Klonopin (.25mgs)

ItchySkin
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Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/27/2010 4:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Yeah, I'm hoping that somebody has experienced some similar problem that will at least help point me in the right direction!

I have tried benadryl, and it does help quite a bit. Unfortunately, it also makes me very drowsy the next day. When I wake up in the morning with itchiness, I can't really take benadryl, because it puts me to sleep. But yes, Benadryl is one of the two things that really makes a difference. The other thing is... Atarax, I believe - basically like benadryl in terms of both effects and side effects. Oatmeal based lotions and colloidal oatmeal baths don't seem to help much, unfortunately. I do believe that the apartment I lived in until two days before going home for the holidays DID have at least some mold, though. The closet where I kept my clothes always had a mildewy smell, as it was a "wet" wall, being next to the bathroom. I'd say that mold is my top suspect, and if that is the case I should be feeling better soon. I got itchy again when I came home for Christmas, but I was also feeding some friends' horses, and I know that there is always mold in hay (especially this hay - I had to throw a lot of it out!). Thank you very much for your reply!

Joan M
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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1607
   Posted 12/27/2010 5:01 PM (GMT -6)   
hi...you might have eczema, have a doc check you.  if necessary see another dermatologist.  you do not have to be an allergic person to have eczema though it is prevalent among allergic people. 
 
i suggest delsum blue shampoo and dove soap ... both recommendations from doctors.  unfortunately a lot of doctors including specialists are very poorly trained and do not care about their patients. 
 
hope things improve hugs for you
 
hugs hugs hugs more hugs hugs hugs hugs more hugs hugs hugs hug

SmurfyShadow
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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 12/28/2010 7:25 AM (GMT -6)   
There is a dye free benedryl. My man has to use dye free benedryl or he is well non existant lol. I would find him the next day alive... heck I tried one time dumping water on him and that didnt even wake him up! He was so funny when he had surgery... I had to work, he came home, well the doctor gave him vicodin... never ever give a person that kind of pain killer when benedryl knocks them out. You get a high, loopy, sleeping man. He'd wake when I call him, but not remember the conversation. He'd kiss me one minute, next he is snoring... after two days I grabbed those vicoden and hid them and put some asprin next to him instead. He would sleep from that, but at least wake up and be coherent. Anyhow, try dye free benedryl, if you cant find it, ask the pharmacist for something with the same compounds and ingredients. Theres something else he takes, oh I cant remember, but theres something else he can take that doesnt make him drowsy.
Don't Care Bout Nuffin No More, Guess I shouldnt even be in this world

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22022
   Posted 12/28/2010 7:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Do you itch all over? Like an inside itch that you can't reach? If so, I get that too after ingesting things with hazelnuts. I don't have any other allergic reaction to hazelnuts other then the all over itch, but I think my allergy is getting worse because now they make my throat itch as well.

What about a Benedryl cream or spray instead of oral? Not sure if that is an option though if it's all over itch.
SHERRY
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs)/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds Syndrome~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis/GAD - Klonopin (.25mgs)

Judy2
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Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 9361
   Posted 12/28/2010 3:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Benadryl used to make a topical lotion that helped itching but didn't make you drowsy. You might try that.

Also, and this sounds awful, but if you're showering often you might try changing that. Clear back when I was in college a dermatologist told me I should never bathe or shower more than once a week. I thought that sounded gross, so didn't cut back. In the past few years my skin has gotten so itchy that I have scars from scratching myself in my sleep, and I've also recently developed psoriasis. I now shower once a week and apply moisturizing lotion liberally. In between, I wash the essential areas well with soap and rinse with warm water. Soap only touches my armpits and genital area. My hands inevitably touch soap and water too often. I puncture vitamin A gelcaps, squeeze the oil onto my hands, rub in and then apply lotion.
Ulcerative colitis diagnosed in 2001. In remission since 2006 with Remicade.
Osteoarthritis
Grave's disease successfully treated with radioactive iodine and now on Levothyroxine.

Co-moderator thyroid forum

ItchySkin
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/29/2010 8:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Huh. Does that actually help, Judy? Did you not know that you had dry skin beforehand? My skin seems perfectly moist to me.

Red_34, As for the itch itself - it is not an 'inside' itch, really. It feels like it is on the surface of my skin, and it goes away as soon as I scratch it (but another one inevitably appears soon after). It doesn't take much of a scratch to get rid of it, but there are SO frequent that I often can't get to sleep anyway.

I don't believe I have eczema. My skin looks totally normal, even to a dermatologist. I inspect it very frequently, actually, hoping to find some sign of what is causing the itch... but I never see anything out of the ordinary, at least not that is consistent across my hole body.

SmurfyShadow, does dye-free benadryl keep him from being drowsy? If so, I need to get myself some of that!!

Thank you all for your ideas. I really, really appreciate all of them!

ItchySkin
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 12/29/2010 8:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Er... I know this is sort of unrelated, but I originally tried to post this on wrongdiagnosis.com, since it was the first health-related forum I saw that looked respectable. However, the moderators never posted my messages! Any idea what that was about? It was rather disheartening - not even being able to talk to people about my skin problem. Again, I'm very thankful for all of your help and support!

msfroggi
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 12/29/2010 8:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Itchy, I have the same thing going on...It's really  bad at the very tops of my arms...I've had the rheumy and the dermy look at it and they don't know what it is.
The Dermy did say that she thought it might be tiny nerves under my skin causing this, she said that I should go to the Neuro.
There's no rash, not even red...just very very itchy!!!!
I had chicken pox back when I was about 8 yrs old, I then developed what my great grandma told me was the mad itch...I would have welps all over and they would itch and then go away like there wasn't ever any thing there...
Everytime I go and have my BP check, as soon as they take the cuff off I sit there for a good 10 minutes just scratching the top part of my arm...
So, I'll keep searching for the answer to this mystery and you let me know if you find anything yourself...
 
 
Thanks, msfroggi :-)

Alcie
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Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3459
   Posted 12/30/2010 10:59 AM (GMT -6)   
Itchy -
A lot of people are allergic/sensitive to their soaps and skin products. The ones containing gluten, wheat or oats could be prime suspects. A lot of skin products have perfumes and preservatives. I use only hypoallergenic products and grease up while damp (on advice from my allergist) with very non-allergenic oil or moisturizer. If you have any food or chemical sensitivities, you can't take them externally either.

Simple dry skin causes most of my skin itching, although it is aggravated by scents and colors and preservatives. I even got a back creme applying pad with a handle to reach the middle of my back. Not drying all the water off before applying oil is part of the secret.

I use only All Free-and-Clear detergent and always use double rinse cycle. When in the hospital I have to ask for double-rinsed sheets and towels or I itch uncontrollably. I use only unscented fabric softener - when I use any at all! Towels dry better without being softened. I mostly use (unscented) dryer sheets on my husband's shirts and slacks to combat static and reduce ironing.

Benadryl tablets are much safer than the liquid, which has preservatives. Try Alavert instead, because it's non-drowsy. The Benadryl skin product has zinc oxide and camphor. "Inactive" ingredients Cetearyl Alcohol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Diethylene Glycol Monostearate, Methylparaben, Polyethylene Glycol, Monostearate 1000, Propylene Glycol, Propylparaben, Water.


Msfroggy -
Do you have tiny raised bumps? It could be keratosis pyriformis. Google pictures. Half the people have it, mostly without knowing, or thinking they have zits. It does no good to pick them. Only oiling up while damp from shower helps, and even that is no cure. It's hereditary. Maybe it's something else, because derm docs should know this one, although PCPs usually don't.
Alcie
 
 

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22022
   Posted 12/30/2010 11:21 AM (GMT -6)   
Alcie just reminded me of something. There are other anti-histamines that you can try that doesn't cause day time drowsiness. I forgot about this! Besides the Alavert, you can also try Clariten, Sudafed or Zyrtec (zyrtec should be taken at night because it can cause drowsiness). Lately I have been having that "invisible" itch when I go to sleep but at no other time. I stopped my Zyrtec for a short while and I was having some weird skin reactions...that invisible itch, blisters on my legs and an all over body rash. I just started taking Zyrtec again and I just realized that I didn't have that invisible itch last night.
SHERRY
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs)/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds Syndrome~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis/GAD - Klonopin (.25mgs)

msfroggi
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 12/30/2010 12:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Good Morning, Alcie
There are no bumps or anything. And like ItchySkin says, it will itch like crazy, I'll scratch and then in a few seconds it's back to itching again...
Sometimes when I go to sleep at night, I will slide my hands under my face and if I lie on the top part of my arm the itching starts. I had said to the dr. that it seemed like a cirrculation thing.
I don't know, I am going to so many different dr. these days that it ain't even funny.
Last Nov. I was leaving work alot with painful ankles and knee and my PCP ordered an arthritis test done on me and told me that I have Lupus and sent me to a Rheumy, she puts me on Plaquneil and says she thinks it might be Fibro....I'm just sick of being tired and tired of being sick...

Msfroggi

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 3459
   Posted 12/30/2010 3:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Poor Froggi.
I've got the fibro but fortunately not the lupus. My SIL has that + fibro and suffers. Those two seem to often go together. Do you have the red mask-like patch across the nose and cheeks? No arthritis?

Itchy - Did you try getting real serious about double rinsing laundry, using only dye and perfume-free detergent, no skin cream but maybe a little oil or vaseline? No makeup. Brush teeth with baking soda.
Everything's got so much junk in it, it makes it hard to figure out skin irritants. Just changing products doesn't mean you got rid of the preservatives, additives, coloring ...
An awful lot of food sensitivities can't be tested for. You have to keep a food log and then do challenge testing yourself.
Alcie
 
 

SmurfyShadow
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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 12/31/2010 4:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Dye Free doesnt make him drowsy. And clariten was the other one... I knew I would recognize the name! Thx Red lol. Both those he can take. Also check into your medications. Some medications cause itchy skin.

For example: My chemotherapy makes me itchy as heckeroo. I use Vasiline Intesive Care Lotion (Non Fragent) to help relieve it
Don't Care Bout Nuffin No More, Guess I shouldnt even be in this world

msfroggi
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 12/31/2010 8:47 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Alcie,
I get the butterfly rash when I take prednisone...but then it goes away when I quit taking it....
I have what looks like spider veins across my cheeks all the time...
My PCP took me off work Apr 22nd of this year and I filed my disability...I have been turned down for the third time now...got a lawyer on it now
I've told my lawyer that whom ever keeps denying me needs to come live with me for a week...my hubby agrees.
LOL


Msfroggi

Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 22022
   Posted 12/31/2010 8:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Msfroggi.....look into Rosacea. Spider veins on the nose and cheeks are a symptom of rosacea. I just got diagnosed with it even though my face doesn't turn red but on occasion. However, I have fine spider veins on my nose from repetitive reddening over the years.
SHERRY
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma and Alzheimer's, Co-moderator-UC
~Left sided Uc-'92**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**
Colazal(9 daily)/6mp(50mgs)/Bentyl-Prilosec~allergies-Singulair/Zyrtec~Reynauds Syndrome~OA-Tylonel Arthritis~Scoliosis~Sacroilitis~Dry eye-Restasis/GAD - Klonopin (.25mgs)

S.E.F
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 1/7/2011 12:22 PM (GMT -6)   
It sounds almost like you have Fleas O.o. Insect problems are a possibility, do you feel less itchy when you wear less clothes? Like sleeve less tops? Because even though the test didn't show it, you could be allergic to things like cotton, or polyester or other things your clothes are made of. Also you could have insects living in your clothes, like fleas :/. I know its strange, but i stayed round a friends who has a dog and i had a fleecey jumper. When i got back home, dear god, the itching, my jumper had fleas from the dog!

I'm not sure what else to suggest though... It could be psychological (which i can't spell :P). But thats a whole other situation...

Don't give up and don't lose hope =]

-Lizzy

It's Genetic
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 1540
   Posted 1/7/2011 1:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Look at some of the ingredients in bath products that you use. Soaps,
toothpastes, etc. They may contain sulfates (sulfur-like substances) to which some people are sensitive. Sulfates are included in more foods and
cleaning products than we realize. It's worth the time to do a search on
them and to eliminate them from use for about one or two weeks to determine if your symptoms improve without sulfates in your system. If you do improve markedly, you'll know to try to avoid those products containing sulfates.

Some of us are even sensitive to the ingredients in fabric softeners used
in our laundry dryers or washing machines.

For food tests, I much prefer the blood tests than the prick tests for
analysis. If the allergy is there, it is going to show up more likely with
the drawn bloodwork in my view. And I say that because prick tests never
indicate an allergy to wheat in me, but drawn blood tests show a mild
allergy to it every time.
 
In regard to food allergies, the body has a level of tolerance in which it
does not show food sensitivities, but overload the system with a specific product, and the allergic reaction is going to exacerbate symptoms.
 
It helps, also, to know whether or not you have an inherited allergy gene.
You automatically become more alert to something that might be bothering you, because you become more aware of how the gene causes your system to react to substances inhaled or ingested or applied to the skin.

Post Edited (It's Genetic) : 1/7/2011 11:49:18 AM (GMT-7)


ItchySkin
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 1/14/2011 11:54 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't think it is fleas - I've been in a home with fleas before, and this is quite different. I don't have persistently itchy spots (like any kind of insect bite would produce), just so many different itches springing up that I often can't sleep.

"tchy - Did you try getting real serious about double rinsing laundry, using only dye and perfume-free detergent, no skin cream but maybe a little oil or vaseline? "

That sounded like a good idea to me, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to have helped. I've had blood allergy tests done, all for food. I have switched laundry detergents. I've been keeping a log of what I eat and where I've been...looking back on a few weeks' worth of notes, I still have absolutely no idea what is causing the itching. It seems to follow cycles of getting better and worse over the course of a couple weeks. I've seen a bunch of different specialists and still nobody has any idea. I don't think I'm ever going to figure this out =(

couchtater
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 12239
   Posted 1/15/2011 10:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Have you thought about bedbugs?
Joy

Razzle
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 4050
   Posted 1/15/2011 12:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Have you been tested for liver problems? Liver problems can cause extremely itchy skin with no rash or sign of any problems with the skin.

Speaking from experience...
-Razzle

Chronic Lyme, Bart., Gluten & Sulfite Sensitivity, Many Food/Inhalant/Medication/Chemical Allergies & Intolerances, Asthma, Gut dysmotility & non-specific inflammation, UCTD, Osteoporosis, etc.; G-Tube
Meds: Ceftin, Singulair, Claritin, Domperidone, Milk Thistle, homeopathy, probiotics, etc.

mel-
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/15/2011 10:13 PM (GMT -6)   
food intolerances can cause your symptoms (itchy skin, itchy underarms and diarrhea). a food intolerance will not show up in an allergy test because you are not actually allergic to the food but have an intolerance for something else in it. you can read on wiki etc about food intolerances to learn more about the differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance.

I've had allergy tests and am only allergic to eggs and yeast but chicken makes me sick as a dog with itchy body, underarms, hives and horrible diarrhea. but I'm not allergic to it, just intolerant. same diff, still have to avoid it !

good luck.

msfroggi
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 1/19/2011 8:01 AM (GMT -6)   
S.E.F....No I don't have fleas or bedbugs!!! LOL nono   In fact, got so freaked out bout the bedbug thing that my husband said he was gonna have me committed....cuz there for a few days I was stripping the sheets off and takin my pillow and whappin the bed like crazy before I would even lay down...LOL
 
Hey Itchyskin...found something that works...Dermy told me to try BenGay....I bought the store brand and it worked fine....I've had to use it twice but it keeps the itch away for 3 to 5 days yeah
 
Now if I can just find a pain medication that worked on me like darvocets did...tried tramodal, no good...now I'm on Lortabs 5's....blah, do NOT like this spacey feelin at all...plus they GIVE me a headache, so I have to take IB's with it to get rid of that shocked   UGH!!! Does it ever end!!!!
 
Thanks and God bless,
Msfroggi turn

SmurfyShadow
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 2386
   Posted 1/21/2011 3:24 AM (GMT -6)   
When is the last time you didnt itch? And what is different from then to now?
Don't Care Bout Nuffin No More, Guess I shouldnt even be in this world
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