Pruritis or itching is when you feel a prickly sensation or some type of itching of a body part. It causes you to want to scratch the affected area. Sometimes, this feeling can be over the entire boy. Many factors can lead to it, including your stress level and certain illnesses like some skin conditions. Itching tends to be worse when you are not distracted by something else. Some people tolerate itching better than others.
What Causes Itching All Over Body?
There are many reasons why you might have itching. Some are completely benign reasons while others are more serious (such as diabetes or kidney failure).
1. Skin Conditions
There are several different types of skin conditions that have itchiness as their main symptom. This includes any one of the skin conditions listed below:
- Dermatitis. It is a skin inflammation that leads to itchy, red rashes. However, it is not contagious and not that serious.
- Eczema, which is a chronic skin condition that leads to rashes, which are scaly and itchy. The itchiness can even disturbe your sleep.
- Psoriasis. This is an autoimmune condition that leads to irritation and redness of the skin as well as plaques that occur on the elbows and outer parts of the knee joint.
- Dermatographism. This is a rare skin condition that causes redness and itching just by putting pressure onto the skin with your fingers.
- Chicken pox. This usually occurs in children. It causes an itchy, blister-like rash, which is contagious. You can get vaccine to prevent it.
- Measles. This is another childhood illness that can cause itching all over the body. Other symptoms may include fever, dry cough, runny nose, etc.
- Scabies. Itching can be anywhere if you have scabies but it usually occurs on the arms. It is caused by a kind of mite, called Sarcoptes scabiei, which digs tiny holes in our skin.
- Fungal infections. This is mostly common among the immunosuppressed persons. This kind of infections usually appear in moist areas of our body, such as between toes or under breast.
2. Allergies and Skin Reactions
You can have itching all over the body from an allergen, an environmental substance or an irritant. This can include the following:
- Metals, such as cobalt or nickel found in some jewelry
- Cosmetics, such as fragrances, cosmetic preservatives, nail varnish hardeners, and hair dyes
- Latex and rubber
- Textiles, such as those that contain resins or dyes impregnated into the fabric
- Certain plants, including sunflowers, chrysanthemums, daffodils, primula, and tulips
- Prickly heat, which occurs mainly in conditions where the weather is hot and humid
- Food allergies or medication allergies, especially those to opioids and aspirin
- Sunburned skin can cause itching all over body, especially if you use a tanning bed
3. Parasites and Insects
You can have itching feeling in every part of body from these common pests:
- Head lice, body lice, or pubic lice
- Scabies, which is a burrowing mite that itches considerably
- Stings from wasps, mosquitoes, bees, bedbugs, and fleas
4. Internal Disorders
There are some bodily conditions that cause serious problems with itching in your body. Usually the skin looks normal but the itching persists. These include the following conditions:
- Liver disease
- Thyroid disease
- Kidney failure
5. Nervous System Disorders
You can have a nervous system disorder that affects the nerves, causing you to feel itching all over body. These include the following:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Diabetes mellitus
There are some common medications that will result in itching that can be localized or all over your body. These include the following:
- Antibiotics (especially sulfa drugs)
- Antifungal agents
- Narcotic/opioid medicines
Women can experience an intensely itchy experience during pregnancy. You can have itching of the arms, abdomen, breasts, thighs, or all over the body. Sometimes it is related to having a skin disease like eczema that is just worsened by being pregnant.
It is common to have itching all over the body after menopause. This is when women stop having periods and have a reduction in several reproductive hormones, causing the skin to itch. Loss of estrogen is especially associated with itching.
What Should I Do About Itching All Over Body?
There are several things you can do to help resolve your itching. If you know that the cause of your itching is, you can stop the underlying cause and the itching will go away. If you don't know what is causing the itching yet still want relief, these tips may help:
- Don't gouge into your skin when it feels itchy. Instead, just tap on your skin and don't use your fingernails because this can cause scratches that can worsen the itching.
- Use damp flannel to cool down the itching area. Keep in on for about thirty minutes for maximal relief.
- Take a mildly warm shower to relieve the itching.
- Stay out of the hot weather. If the body heats up, you can get a heat rash that causes itching in your body.
- Wear clothing from natural cotton and avoid man-made fabrics or wool, because they can make the itching worse. The clothing should be loosely fitting.
- Use fewer fragrances in the soaps and use less soap than you would normally use. Make use of pH-balanced skin products whenever possible.
- You can try home remedies like oatmeal baths and calamine lotion. They aren't harmful and can help you feel better.
- Make use of moisturizing creams such as Cetaphil, CeraVe, and Eucerin cream. These contain no alcohol, so they don't ultimately dry the skin and can significantly reduce the itching you are experiencing. Apply the creams at least once daily and possibly twice per day.
- Try using creams that contain one percent hydrocortisone to areas of the body that itch. You can also use creams that contain counterirritants such as menthol or camphor. Calamine lotion will relieve itching in some cases. Prescription corticosteroid ointments or creams can also be used. When applying them, put on a damp cloth made of cotton to the affected area so that the cream can better be taken up by the skin.
- Certain anti-allergy drugs can greatly affect itching all over body. These include antihistamines like diphenhydramine, Zyrtec, and Claritin. Some are sedating (diphenhydramine) while others are not irritating. If you use sedating antihistamines, you will fall asleep easily as this will help when the itching interferes with sleeping.
Should I See My Doctor?
Most of the time, itchy skin resolves without any intervention and you needn't see the doctor. If you experience the following symptoms, however, you should see your doctor:
- Itching that does not go away
- Itching that is extremely severe
- Itching that doesn't subside
- You have other symptoms, such as jaundice, spots, or swelling of the skin
- You can find no reason behind the itching all over body