Itching For No Apparent Reason
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Written on March 7, 2023 by Sendra Yang, PharmD, MBA. In order to provide you with technically correct, evidence-based information, the content published on the blog is reviewed by authorized professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Itching For No Apparent Reason
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), also referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), continue to increase and are a public health concern [ 1 , 2 ]. In 2021, there were 2.5 million reported cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in the United States . Chlamydia remains a common STD, with an estimated 1.6 million cases in 2021, followed by gonorrhea, with nearly 700,000 cases reported in the same year.
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Different organisms cause STDs, for example bacteria, viruses or parasites. It is transmitted from one infected person to another, mainly through sexual contact [3, 4]. The type of STD you have depends on the organism you are infected with.
STDs have a wide range of signs and symptoms [ 4 , 5 ]. It is common for someone to have no symptoms and not be recognized for an STD until they experience complications or their partner is diagnosed [4-6]. Signs and symptoms may appear within a few days of exposure, or it may even take years for apparent problems to appear, depending on the organism that causes the STD. Some of the signs and symptoms of STDs may include [1, 4-6]:
Itching is terribly unpleasant, especially in the genital or anal areas. The sensation of itching on your body is a complex interaction between the skin and the nervous system . At the site of irritation, the underlying cause of STDs can trigger an inflammatory response that leads to the release of chemicals such as histamines [3, 4, 7]. The release of inflammatory mediators causes redness, swelling and nerve irritation, causing you to feel an itchy sensation . You naturally reflex to scratch the irritated skin to calm the itch. Excessive scratching can break the skin and further aggravate the inflammation on the affected skin area. If you experience symptoms of skin irritation or itching and suspect an STD infection, it is imperative that you contact your health care provider for appropriate recommendations on testing, management, and treatment .
Some STDs that can irritate the skin and cause itching are genital herpes, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection :
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STDs are not the only infections or diseases that cause itching . Other conditions to consider if you experience genital itching are eczema, yeast infections, or allergies to products (soaps or detergents). The only way to know if your itching is due to an STD is to get tested. You can contact your healthcare provider to see what tests are available to you, or you can consider home lab testing options.
With , at-home STD lab tests are available to help you stay up-to-date on your status for STDs. You can also schedule an STD treatment appointment online to virtually see a licensed healthcare provider to discuss your symptoms if you think you may have been exposed or have questions about your sexual health. From mild irritation to intense burning, itchy hands can cause extreme discomfort and even affect your daily life.
Dr Louise Wiseman explains the reasons why your hands or palms may itch, what you can do about it and when to see your GP.
Itching from simple dry skin is more common with age as our skin naturally becomes drier. Many people also find that as the heating goes on and moisture is removed from the indoor air and as the harsh winter air dries, dry skin and itching worsen.
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If only your hands are involved, it may be related to simply washing your hands with dry soap or using alcohol gel very often.
The skin may appear dry, cracked or irritated. It can be red, especially around the band between the fingers and sometimes around rings where the soap is not thoroughly rinsed off. You may have excoriations or scratches where you repeatedly itch.
• use a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free hand wash, dry your hands thoroughly after washing and protect your skin afterwards with a simple moisturiser. Likewise, use moisturizer between alcohol gel applications when outside.
• moisturize, moisturize, moisturize – as with full-blown eczema, the cornerstone of treatment is to protect the oil-protective barrier on our skin and restore the skin’s protection. Use a good moisturizer or hand cream regularly. At night, when it’s difficult, you can even use a more luxuriously rich treatment on the hands and wear cotton gloves to help the moisturizer work.
Hives Relief For The Maddening Itch
We can react to what is placed directly on our skin, causing a picture of the type “contact dermatitis” or “eczema”. This creates a vicious cycle where dry, inflamed skin on our hands itches and becomes further inflamed by itching. Skin can then become infected if our hands are not clean and the infection gets into the cracks and scratches.
The hands may have a red rash, dryness, scales, bumps and blisters and there may be a smear or crust and swelling if the infection has occurred. This is much more common in certain occupations where contact with chemicals or the wearing of gloves is unavoidable, e.g. Catering, cleaning, mechanics, hairdressing, health care.
A specific type of eczema called “pompholyx” or “dyshidriotic” can affect the palms of the hands and the outside of the fingers. These are itchy fluid-filled blisters and often worsen as part of a seasonal allergy picture or during times of stress. They can also be associated with fungal triggers. It is not always clear what causes it.
• did you work without gloves in the garden where you would have contact with plants in this area?
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• did you use different hair or skin products that came into contact with this area?
If removing the possible trigger doesn’t sort it out, you should treat the dermatitis or eczema carefully. You may need to discuss with your employer ways to eliminate the burden while still being able to work.
Gentle hand washing and emollients (moisturizers) such as for dry skin followed by treatment with a mild steroid cream (eg 0.5% hydrocortisone) may help. Do not use it for more than two weeks and if there is no improvement see your doctor who will examine you and prescribe stronger treatment and lotions. If you think the skin is infected with a secondary bacterial infection
On top of the dermatitis see the doctor sooner, because you may need stronger steroid treatment and topical or oral antibiotics. If infected, it is more likely to crust, ooze, and cause severe pain. Sometimes a simple cream combining antibiotic and steroid is all that is needed along with regular moisturizing.
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A doctor will distinguish between a diagnosis of, for example, eczema and something called pustular psoriasis, which requires specialized dermatological treatment.
Using cotton gloves or cotton liners on plastic gloves can help prevent triggers around the house while doing work. Latex-free gloves at work can help.
For pompholyx eczema, cold compresses are often given to treat discomfort and specialist treatment is given by a dermatologist.
Sometimes there can be a secondary fungal infection on the eczema or dermatitis that requires an anti-fungal and steroid cream from the doctor. It usually appears as round, red lesions on the hands or elsewhere.
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It can be in response to something we ate or came in contact with and will usually resolve if we remove the cause that caused it. Probably ‘itching on the hands’ is related to itching elsewhere. It can take several exposures for something to cause an allergic reaction and it may not be apparent until several hours after exposure.
You may see hives or a red flat skin rash (urticaria) over the hands or in some cases hands and feet especially unbearable itching with allergies and may be swollen. This is because the histamine released in our body tends to collect in the limbs.
It’s important to find and avoid the cause – look at any medications, herbal supplements, spicy foods, shellfish or unusual foods you’ve eaten. Sometimes exposure to sunlight can cause ‘photosensitivity’ with certain medications and cause redness or rash.
It is very common with hand irritation to metal and jewelry (eg nickel and cobalt) or perfume sprayed on the wrist to be a trigger.
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In the meantime, a regular antihistamine should greatly help the condition and seek immediate medical advice if you have associated swelling or breathing problems.
Use aqueous calamine cream, calamine cream or eurax on affected areas to soothe the skin and stop itching. Make sure to use sunscreen when you are
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