so much itching... but no rash

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   Posted 4/11/2007 6:28 PM (GMT -6)   
AHH... I am going out of my mind with all this darn itching. Lately its getting worse and my head is itching bad too, if I didn't know better I would swear I had lice but I itch everywhere. Strangely enough I don't have any rashes because of it. I haven't switched soaps, lotions, or laundry soap so I don't know what the heck it is. Do you think Benedryl will help? Any body else have this problem... Sorry to moan about this... K gotta go scratch my head now. eyes
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   Posted 4/11/2007 7:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Sorry to hear about the itching. Did you eat anything or touch anything that you are not aware of? Benedryl helped me before. I never just itch; it usually accompanied with rash for me. I hope you feel better soon. I heard that taking oatmeal bath will help.

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 102
   Posted 4/11/2007 8:01 PM (GMT -6)   
I have to use fragrant free soap, shampoo, lotion, tide free and fragrant free dryer sheets or I itch and break out in a rash. You might try this. hope it helps,


Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
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   Posted 4/11/2007 8:02 PM (GMT -6)   
when i was a little girl, i had strep in my blood stream AND impentigo (sp?) and the underside of my skin itched, which made me insane ...i just remember crying and laying on the carpet and wiggling around. my mom said that my nerves were inflamed from the infection (best she remembers the drs explaination) and that it was very rare..rare enough all the med students got to come and take a look at me horrible itching and no rash (except for the strep that broke out in sores on my face) i was out of school for four weeks because of it.
?? that's all i know about itching and no rash! maybe you've had a bug?

there are so many topical things...natural oils...steroid creams (talk about extremes!)...i wonder if anything that is made to numb the skin would help?

good luck, i hope it goes away soon!!!!!!!
jessica, 25
lupus (or something like it)
ulcerative colitis,bone loss, arthralgia,ranaud's, blood clots in fingers, blistering on top of hands, migraines, fatigue, eye pain...i'm sure i'm forgetting something (anxiety, major brain fog) 

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   Posted 4/11/2007 9:21 PM (GMT -6)   


  It sounds like you are in misery with the itching..((hugs)). The only time I have had all over itching without a rash was from dry skin. When I was loosing some hair my head itched bad for awhile before it actually started coming out. I hope you find something to give you some relief soon. Take care and keep us updated.


 Co-Mod: Lupus Forum
 Lupus,RLS,RA,Asthma,Fibro,Sjogren's,Raynaud's,Divertic, Stroke,Atherosclerosis,Seizures,Sensory Polyneuropathy
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JOB 5:18 For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.

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   Posted 4/12/2007 7:22 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Des.  I frequently have intense itching with no rash.  Regardless of if it's dry skin or a case of the crazys, here's what I found that helps: 

  • Consider taking 25mg of benedryl before you shower (my docs agree on this)
  • Do not use hot water for baths or showers (hot water robs the skin of oils more than warm water)
  • Use soap sparingly and don't scrub except in those stinky places. 
  • Wash with Cetaphil and if that makes you itch, just rinse your arms and legs- barely wash them
  • Try soaking in Aveno bath
  • Most importantly  rub Eucerin Calming Cream over your body after your bath/shower. 

I really sympathize with you!! 

Dx: SLE with CNS complications, major depressive disorder, Sjogrens, fibromyalgia, asthma, gerd, sleep apnea, hypertension, IBS
Tx: plaquenil, methotrexate, prozac, lamectil, flexeril, celebrex, lisinopril, lipitor, nexeum, seroquel, advair, actos, arthritis tylenol 
supplements: multi vitamin, B complex, C, flaxseed oil
             Better living through chemistry :D    Donna

Veteran Member

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   Posted 4/12/2007 8:30 AM (GMT -6)   
Thank you omega, Linda, Jessica, Babs, and Donna... It comes and goes and right now its gone. My skin got really dry in the winter and I didn't have this problem and now that its humid, my skin is not as dry and its happening. Its mostly my upper body (arms, shoulders, upper back, face, and head) although I do get the occasional itch on my legs. I don't know what it is either and my doc will probably just look at me funny anyway if I brought it up. I'm going to try the benedryl tonight if it starts again. I do use Cetaphil to wash my face but never thought about using it as a body wash, I may have to try that.

Thanks again, you guys are the best! :)
Co-Moderator ~ IBS Forum
Dx: IBS 1989, Diverticulosis 2004, Idiopathic Acute Colitis 2006, UCTD 2007
Meds: Plaquenil 400mg, Chlorzoxazone 500mg, Lyrica 50mg, Protonix 40mg, Naproxen 1000mg, Xanax XR 2mg, Miralax 17g, Supplements

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 221
   Posted 4/12/2007 8:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Des.

Everyone gave some great advice. My Rheumy says that this is nerve endings that are inflamed and caught up in the disease process. It comes and goes for me, but can be a definite drain to your quality of life while its happening. :(

The only thing I have found that really helps me get through it is Benadryl, lots and lots of water, and Zyrtec. Once you body adjusts to these medications, you dont get sleepy anymore. Also, on my really bad days I take Atarax.... but your body NEVER adjusts to this one, and you just have to set aside time to sleep, because functioning after taking it is next to impossible. Its definitely the last resort for me.

I hope you feel better soon!!
Mother of four, full time Systems Analyst
Sjogrens, Crohns, suspected Lupus, Pancreatitis Dec. 2005
Meds:  Medrol injections; Darvocet, starting Plaquenil in Feb.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
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   Posted 4/12/2007 9:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Victoria... that sure makes sense. If the benedryl works, than I can pretty much say that it is probably an allergic reaction of some sort and then I can go from there. I don't take any allergy meds even when my allergies are bad because they do make you so sleepy. But it may be worth it with this itch if thats the only way to get rid of it.
Co-Moderator ~ IBS Forum
Dx: IBS 1989, Diverticulosis 2004, Idiopathic Acute Colitis 2006, UCTD 2007
Meds: Plaquenil 400mg, Chlorzoxazone 500mg, Lyrica 50mg, Protonix 40mg, Naproxen 1000mg, Xanax XR 2mg, Miralax 17g, Supplements

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 4/12/2007 10:26 AM (GMT -6)   

I have it too and learned so much from the rest of you. I take Zyrtek for the itching and it helps me. If I think its gone and stop the Zyrtek it it worse. My doc said its part of the Lupus and can be triggered by the weather (dry and cold) that we have here. And since its supposed to be 50's here and its not and snowing that tells me why it isn't going away. Benadryl did help me for a while but I don't like taking two allergy meds at a time. I know they say you can, but one Pharmacist told me not to. So maybe someone else has some feedback on that.

Have you tried any of the dry skin lotions. Or even baby oil lotion has worked for me right after I get out of the shower. Its greasy for a bit but if you pat it dry with the towel it dries and works well. One doc i saw she has it and that is what she does. So I thought it was worth a try.

I hope you find relief soon.


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Date Joined Dec 2006
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   Posted 4/13/2007 4:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Hey Des, just wondered how the benadryl wored for ya. I get horrible itching once in awhile. I will be half awake and half asleep just enough to know I'm scratching all over my arms and my belly and stuff. I just figured with me it was because of the codein I take. It somtimes do that. I didn't see where you were taking codein though. I hope the meds work and you were able to get some rest.

love ya
God Bless
 Newly DX's Lupus.Possible CREST,COPD, high PB xanax,triam , Opana ER for pain, Evista for osteo,. oxygen Plaquanil400mil, . effexor. spiriva, xopenex.
Come ye, all that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
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   Posted 4/13/2007 7:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Julie & Carol... no I don't take Codeine or any new meds. I took the Benedryl and it worked OK but not completely. I guess OK is better than nothing so I'll take it. I am thinking about the Aveeno bath this weekend and I may try some of that Eucerin Calming Cream as well (this is not the first I have heard good things about that stuff). I'll let you know how it goes :)
Co-Moderator ~ IBS Forum
Dx: IBS 1989, Diverticulosis 2004, Idiopathic Acute Colitis 2006, UCTD 2007
Meds: Plaquenil 400mg, Chlorzoxazone 500mg, Lyrica 50mg, Protonix 40mg, Naproxen 1000mg, Xanax XR 2mg, Miralax 17g, Supplements

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/28/2007 8:46 AM (GMT -6)   
I have something very similar to what you are discussing--- after I shower I get a VERY bad itching/burning sensation. I do not have dry skin at all and I have no rash when this occurs. I have had this happen for the past 6 years- sometimes it's worse than others, but always there a little. Sometimes it takes hours for it to go away and I cannot function while it is going on.
I have tried taking allergy  medicines, cold showers, using different types of soaps/shampoos, medicaided lotions, eucerin calming cream, anti-itch creams (which actually made it burn really bad!), oatmeal, etc, but nothing has worked. I have seen allergists and dermatologists and no one knows anything! I even had one doctor tell me to let him know when I find something out b/c he was baffled. Has anyone actually found a diagnosis for their problems like this? Or something else that helps?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
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   Posted 8/28/2007 8:51 AM (GMT -6)   
Des, I'm sorry you are going through this. I don't get the itching as bad as what you have, but I notice a lot of times my scalp itches a lot, especially at night. The oatmeal bath sounds soothing. My daughter got some hives last week and the oatmeal bath worked really well for her along with some benadryl.

I really hope you find something that works. Take care
Diagnosis:  UCTD (lupus) 2006; Raynauds 2006; Sjogren's 2006; lupus symptoms began 2003; CFS 1991; Mono 1985
Meds:  Plaquenil 400mg; Prednisone 5-10mg; Tramadol 100mg 3-4x daily; Doxepin 25-50mg; Prevacid; Steriod Cream and Mouth Rinse for tongue and mouth ulcers; Hydrocodone 5/500 prn for severe pain; Artificial tears



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Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1950
   Posted 8/28/2007 11:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Des,
I'm having the same thing and though I don't have a rash, my skin is red tinted and when you press on it, you can see it go white, it's my histamines. I got my blood work bad and there were no raised eosinophils, which usually indicates an allergic reaction, but my hematocrit was a little high, my WBC was low normal, rbc high normal and platelets definitely high. Of course, the doc told me my blood work was normal but I read that if your hematocrit gets high it can make you itch like that all over, especially after a bath. You might want to get some basic blood work done if it doesn't go away. Because of the nausea they are doing an endoscope for tropical/celiac sprue.

Also, high bilirubin from liver, and kidneys make you itch like that. It's extremely aggravating. Nothing helped me but my pain meds and IV antihistamines at one point.

The oatmeal baths everyone recommended did help. And if you get desperate ben gay will turn the itch to burn! I hope you feel better soon!
Love, Marji
--Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less in human beings of whom they know nothing.--Voltaire (1694-1778)
Ills--Sjogrens-Lupus-like AI Disease, Hashis, Vitiligo, spinal stenosis/fusion with plate, salivary/lymphectomies, Diabetes, NAFLD, COPD, RLS, neuropathy, trigonitis, hystero, diffuse brain atrophy
Meds--Plaquenil, Evoxac, Metformin, Synthroid, HCTZ, Estradiol patch, Prosed, Klonopin, Soma, Ultram, Vicodin, Restasis, Albuterol,steroid injections, Protopic & Triamcinolone Acetonide ointments

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 250
   Posted 8/29/2007 1:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Cetaphil is a godsend -- my face cleared up thanks to that. Sometimes the tramadol makes my skin itch. Have you tried a massage oil?
Take care,
Diagnosed with lupus in May 2005
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Imuran, 50mg 2x a day
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Nexium, 20 mg / day
Tramadol, 50 mg 2x a day (as needed) and Tylenol
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2000 IU of Vitamin D
400mg magnesium
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2004
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   Posted 8/29/2007 9:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Well its been a while and the itching subsided. I'm guessing it was just one of those crazy things. I know medication can do that to you occasionally so maybe it was that. Since then, the plaquenil (I take generic) I was taking, the pharmacy changed the type of generic they used to a different manufactor so I'm guessing that the fillers in the other med was what was causing it since it seemed to go away after my refill.

I have everything that was mentioned written down though in case this happens again. Itching is the worse (btw Marji, I was lol about the Ben Gay... I seriously had thought about using my Biofreeze :-)
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Dx: IBS 1989, Diverticulosis 2004, Idiopathic Acute Colitis 2006, UCTD 2007
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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2011
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   Posted 5/25/2012 3:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Am having same symptoms as YOU!  Just deleted what I wrote & can't do it all over again.  If you see this, I checked off for notification by email when someone posts to me.
This is LUPUS.  Found articles about this.  It's crazy that we have no rashes or hives but I'm kind of thankful I don't.  At least I look normal except now that I'm having this itching flare that hasn't let up for more than 2 or 3 days since mid April, I've been feverish & having a mild lupus butterfly rash on my cheeks for the FIRST TIME! Just hang in there.  I take Allegra with a prescription called Atarax & it's helping me not being a benedryl zombie anymore.  I don't feel well & had blood work this past Tuesday & will see what my antibodies are doing probably after Memorial Day.  Nortriptilyne is often used for itching. It's a real old anti depressant class.  My rheumatologist told me to use it but I don't see how much help that will be as taking a ton of antihistimines sometimes work for an hour or two & then it all flares up all over again.  Hang in there & let's hope this lets up so Lupus can go find something else to imitate.  This is like having Chickenpox.  I also feel like I'm swelling internally as if I'm having some awful allergic reaction &
look in the mirror & see my eyes turning black (they do that when I'm not feeling well sometimes & bright red cheeks (butterfly rash).  It's crazy but I supposed we're lucky we don't have hives & rashes.  Please let me know what you rheumi thinks.  My doctor doesn't spend much time with me. He's great but there's really nothing to talk about.  He knows it's LUPUS & steroids didn't help.  So all he can do now is look at my blood & antibodies & if they're high, may put me back on methylprednisolone.  I hope not.  But this is no way to live.  When this started I was never feeling better - going to a gym & eating well.  First time since I got Lupus diagnosis that I was begining to live a normal life & then here comes this itching keeping me home like an invalid again!  Thanks for posting.  At least I know now I'm not alone.  Carol  

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   Posted 5/25/2012 7:42 AM (GMT -6)   
MissFunkMaster said...
Nortriptilyne is often used for itching. It's a real old anti depressant class. My rheumatologist told me to use it but I don't see how much help that will be as taking a ton of antihistimines sometimes work for an hour or two & then it all flares up all over again.

Since it's an anti-depressant, it will work on the itching in a totally different manner than antihistamines. Just because we don't understand how a particular medicine or treatment works doesn't mean it won't work. Why dismiss a possible solution without trying to see if it might get you some relief? I'd give it a shot.

Also, you should be using plaquenil to inhibit disease progression, and Imuran and Cellcept are alternatives to MTX if it is not working for you. Lupus is a mystery disease, and what helps one person may or may not help another -- there is no rhyme or reason to it. Perhaps you need to see a second rhuemotologist for another opinion?

Best wishes,
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously" - Oscar Wilde

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 5/25/2012 12:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I get the frantic madding itching, too. It usually hits me after sun/fluorescent lighting exposure.
Just the other day my entire left arm was terrible. Since I have dermagraphia my scratching causes red large welts. I had to rub an ice cube up and down my arm while waiting for the benadryl to kick in. UGH!

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 8/24/2012 10:26 AM (GMT -6)   
I have been at a total loss with constant itching for about 15 years, I have no symptoms of rash just itching, I can have bad days and good days and it will flare up either on my arms, or legs. I have been to many dermatologists and doctors with no result other than "dry skin" or "water allergy", which there is probably some truth as I can't go swimming and its worse if I shower, but it affects me other times to so... I started getting advise from a natural path and getting relieve (she's a life saver). Although it never fully goes away here are some things that have helped (saved) me. No showers the heat and humidity were making it worse so I switched to baths with coconut oil to coat my skin and the only moisturizer I use is 100% shea butter, I get some irritation that lasts maybe 5 min but relief lasts all day (I reapply at night). Im worse when it is damp and raining and better when I can sit in the sun, so I have been going for amber light treatments which works on a cellular level and is helping. I stopped taking any antihistamines or meds (as they dry your skin) and started on a supplement regime, Curcumin can be your friend (natural anti imflamm.), plus keeping my liver cleansed and of coarse lots of water. I was at a 100% discomfort and pain, and with a change in routine and diet and the help of my natural path I'm only hurting about 5-10% of the time. I hope some of this helps and I feel for you smhair

Post Edited (warg101) : 8/24/2012 9:29:10 AM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/7/2013 3:36 AM (GMT -6)   
My itches are ussualy on legs, sometimes arms or back. No rash - clean and soft skin... Most often they start after I take shower. Sometimes after swiming in the ocean. And then sometimes out of nowhere... Several years. Sometimes I have it every day, sometimes just seldom. And then there are days and weeks that I am fine and think that maybe it's over, whatever that is... Then it comes back. Mild, medium or so severe that I cry. Tried selfhypnosis but can't relax when the body almost goes to seisures. The blood work did not reveal any abnormalities, the doc. had no idea what's wrong with me and suggested me to try this or that (medication). I do not agree with just testing all kinds of meds and hoping that maybe something will hit... I will continue researching on my own and try to do a major body cleansing (can't hurt, not like chemical medications, right?). In the mean time when the worst comes - the only way I can help myself is applying cold to the itching areas. I would use wine cooling "glove" to wrap my leg, or just plain ice cubes. In such case get a towel to absorb the water from the melting ice. And just keep cooling and cooling, sometimes till it gets so cold that it hurts. But even pain is better then itching. Then slowly itch calms down and finaly stops. Finaly I can sleep...

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 3/6/2014 8:57 PM (GMT -6)   
I had severe itching for about two years. After countless doctors, medicines, creams, sleepless nights, allergy tests, etc I think I've finally got it beat. I believe it was anxiety. I've never felt like I've had anxiety, but after taking prozac, the itching has finally stopped. Not sure if that will help anyone, but I was going crazy so I thought I would share.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2013
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/6/2014 11:17 PM (GMT -6)   
My first post is just a couple posts up, on Jan 2013. As of today my problem is gone! One very clever and insightful homeopathic doctor was very straight and strict - take Mirena out and stop taking any kind of hormones. According her my body was not responding to her previous treatment because of the hormones that I have been feeding myself for years. After I did what I was advised (took the Mirena out and now not taking any contraceptive medications/hormones), I have been taking Sulphur every second day. Life is so much more beautiful when there is no itch! Hope this will help somebody.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2014
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/30/2014 11:37 AM (GMT -6)   
For those who itch after exposure to water, look up pruritis. It sounds as if that could be the problem.
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