A prickling feeling or irritation in a particular part or all over the body that results in you scratching it is referred to as pruritus or itching. The emotional state, stress and other factors which differ from person to person decide how much a person can tolerate the urge to itch. A number of medical and skin conditions, including allergies can affect itching. Itching increases when the person has very little to concentrate his thoughts on. This is the reason irritation due to itching is the maximum during the night.
I’m Itching All Over My Body—Why?
Eczema is a long term skin condition though it has been known to improve over time, especially in children. The skin becomes red, itchy and dry in eczema. The symptoms of eczema in most people follow a pattern in which they get better slightly before getting worse. The itching because of eczema can interrupt your sleep and cause bleeding from your skin. The scratching can also cause secondary infections in some people. It can also cause rash that commonly appears on the face, wrists, hands and feet or back of the knees.
Scabies is a skin condition caused by mites that dig tiny holes in our skin. Scabies is a contagious disease which can cause itching all over body at night. The skin condition also causes red spots on the skin where mites have dug holes. The disease spreads because of an extended skin contact with the person affected by the disease.
Xerosis (dry skin) is the most likely cause due to which you are drying. In this condition, there are no rashes and red spots on the area of the skin where you are feeling irritation. In xerosis the dry skin is caused by the conditions of your surroundings. Factors such as hot or cold weather, prolonged use of heaters or air conditioning and an excess of washing and cleaning can cause itching in this skin condition.
Other answers to “I’m itchy all over my body”
Additional possible reasons because of which you might be crying “I’m itching all over my body” include:
Allergic reaction. Allergies to all sorts of things can cause itching in the skin. Cosmetics, soaps, wool and chemicals can irritate a person’s skin such that it starts to itch.
Skin conditions. Psoriasis, hives, chickenpox and lice cause irritation and itching in specific areas in the body. This itching is accompanied by blisters and red spots.
Nerve disorders. Shingles, diabetes mellitus, pinched nerves and multiple sclerosis are all nervous system conditions which can result in itching.
Reaction to drugs. Itching all over the body can also be caused by improper reaction of the body to antibiotic medication, antifungal drugs and even narcotic pain medicines.
Pregnancy. In some pregnant women itching conditions like dermatitis can become severe. Moreover, some women feel skin on their abdomen, breasts, hands and thighs become itchy.
Internal diseases. When itching is caused by internal diseases, the skin appears as usual with only few scratch marks. Some internal diseases which can cause skin irritation include kidney failure, anemia, cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, liver disease as well as celiac disease which causes wheat to be imperfectly absorbed by the body.
I’m Itching All Over My Body—How to Get Relief
If “I’m itching all over my body” is a complaint you seek a remedy for, then following things can relieve your pain and stop you from causing more damage to yourself by scratching.
Stop gouging your skin and just tap it when feeling itchy
Cool down the irritated skin area by keeping a damp flannel on it
Have a shower with moderately warm water
Stop wearing clothes made of man-made or woolen fabric or whatever increases the severity of itching
While taking a shower, reduce the use of soaps or fragrances because they can cause dryness of skin. Instead while washing your body make use of moisturizing products which are pH-balanced.
Remedies like using calamine lotion and showering with oatmeal added to water are not completely proven, yet these remedies do not cause much harm and can be used by pregnant women.
Avoid going in hot weather and wear loose fitting clothes. If the body becomes hot, the intensity of the itching increases particularly if it is a heat rash.
Products like jewelry, fragrances, some cosmetics and nickel can initiate allergic reactions by irritating the skin and thus cause itching. So avoid such products.
Moisturizing creams like Eucerin, Cetaphil and CeraVe can be applied once or twice a day on the skin areas affected by itching. These creams can greatly reduce the itching by reducing dryness of the skin.
Creams which have around 1 percent of hydrocortisone can be applied on irritated skin to alleviate itching. The same soothing is also provided by creams containing menthol, calamine and camphor.
You can also apply corticosteroid cream on your skin to mitigate itching and irritation. When you have applied the cream, put a wet piece of cotton on the area so that the cream is completely absorbed in the skin.
Depending on your condition, your physician can recommend you anti-allergy drugs which are often called antihistamines. These drugs are over the counter medicines, some of which induce sleep like Benadryl while others do not including Zyrtec and Claritin. The antihistamines which induce sleep provide the additional benefit of making your fall asleep at night when the itching disrupts your sleep.
When Is The Right Time to See Your GP?
In most cases skin irritation subsides after short duration. But you should immediately consult your physician if your itching is:
Very serious and grave
It keeps on itching for an extended period of time
The itching never completely subsides
There are additional symptoms like swelling or bumps or spots or jaundice.
You must also visit your physician if you have the feeling that I’m itching all over my body for no clear reason. It can be a sign of a gravely complicated condition.
What Others Are Experiencing
“I’m itching all over my body. I was on amitriptyline which is a very strong antihistamine which I stopped taking around 8 weeks earlier. I had been on the medication for around 20 years and stopping the medicine was the moment when the itching started. My body is facing the consequences for such a long period of dependency on the medicine and even my physician does not exactly know when the body will completely adjust and the itching will stop. I can sympathise with your condition and realize your suffering.”
“I am drinking a lot of water - an average of 3 liters in a day and having a normal diet. I am also having Benadryl 6 times a day to reduce itching. My sleep is still adversely affected by the itching and I can only have 2-3 hours of sleep on a good day and no sleep on other days. I believe I am going through hell!!!”