Itching all over the body

Itching all over the body is sometimes so intense that it prevents people from leading peaceful lives or sleeping well. Whole-body itching develops with or without skin lesions that may explain it. Whatever the cause of the pruritus, scratching lesions may appear more or less rapidly, with a significant risk of superinfection on the one hand, and scarring on the other. When your body is itchy, finding the cause of the itching is essential to regaining a peaceful daily life, but this is not always easy. Consulting a general practitioner or specialist is often necessary.



What causes itching all over the body?

Itching all over the body can have dermatological origins: eczema, psoriasis, etc.

But most often, pruritus all over the body has a non-dermatological origin. Pruritus sine materia is itching on the body without spots. In other words, you’re itchy all over, but there are no visible skin lesions.

Pruritus sine materia includes all types of pruritus of systemic origin (due to liver, kidney or thyroid disease, infection, medication, pregnancy, etc.), those of psychogenic origin (of psychological origin) and those of neurological origin (due to damage to the central or peripheral nervous system, or to pinched nerves) Depending on the location of the itching, examples of pruritus sine materia may vary:

  • Abdominal itching: during pregnancy, an itchy stomach is a result of both hormone levels and the skin stretching and drying out considerably in this area.
  • Itching on the bust: here again, female hormone levels are at play, in pregnant women, women before their period, menopausal women, etc.
  • Itching on the legs: a circulatory cause is sometimes found, in the form of venous insufficiency, in both men and women.
  • Itching on the hands and feet: itchy hands and feet can be a sign of liver damage called obstetric cholestasis in pregnant women, or drug toxicity in cancer patients.
  • Other locations are possible, itching on the back and neck, itching on the arms, on the shoulders, on the scalp, on the face, etc. Pruritus sine materia can be explained by liver or kidney damage, endocrine disorders, cancer, medication taken systemically, advanced age, psychological or neurological disorders.

Itching all over the body therefore has various causes. Environmental factors such as hard water, hot baths, irritating fabrics, unfavorable weather conditions, stress and anxiety add to the causes of itching and increase its intensity.

However, whatever the cause, the result is often the same: itching all over the body negatively affects the quality of life of the patient and sometimes those around them.

What are the consequences of itching all over the body?

Pruritus negatively affects quality of life by generating sleep disorders or even insomnia, a decrease in concentration at school or at work, social withdrawal, or even anxiety and depression.

Pruritus also has several consequences on the skin:

  • The appearance of scratching lesions called prurigo;
  • The risk of skin superinfection: pathogens such as viruses, bacteria or fungi then colonize the scratching lesions and change their appearance;
  • The risk of scars: when the person scratches "to the point of drawing blood", they are damaging deeper layers of the skin. This can lead to irreversible scarring;
  • The risk of lichenification: scratching causes the skin to thicken in certain places and to take on a rough and checkered appearance.

How can you soothe itching all over the body?

If you have itching all over your body, finding the root cause of the itching can often alleviate the symptoms. At the same time, a few simple tips can limit itching all over the body:

  • Take quick, warm showers, wash with a superfatted soap, a syndet or a soothing cleansing oil, without perfumes or harmful substances. Soothing cleansing oils have the advantage of neutralizing hard water and effectively relieving itching all over the body as soon as you take a shower.
  • Dry the skin without rubbing, dabbing gently with a soft cotton towel.
  • Apply an anti-itching cream once or several times a day as needed. Place the tube in the refrigerator for immediate relief. At night, keep the tube close to you to reapply if necessary.
  • Wear soft, loose and comfortable clothing made of natural materials such as cotton, linen or silk, to avoid friction and therefore itching all over the body. Same thing for underwear and bedding, softness above all.
  • Avoid overheated, polluted and smoky conditions. Remember to ventilate your home and keep it cool.
  • Fight stress. Easier said than done, especially in our modern society. When the stress is too much, take the time to practice meditation, yoga, coherent breathing, etc. Consult a health care professional if necessary.
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