• 10 months ago

    Severe Itching With No Visible Signs On Skin

    For the past 3 months, I have been dealing with an insane and progressive itch.

    I had been prescribed a liquid cough syrup (hydrocodone) for bronchitis. Normally narcotic meds make my hands mildly itchy for several days once off of the meds. Initially, my palms and feet started to itch very badly and worse at night. I ended up taking Benadryl which helped for a day and then did not help anymore.

    I visited the doctor who put me on Prednisone. While on the meds, I did not have any itching. After completing the treatment, 3 days following the last dose my itching came back but was worse and more intense. My hands and feet no longer itched but my legs and arms started itching badly. I was put on another round of Prednisone which again stopped the itching. 3 days after the last dose the itching came back again and much worse. At this point, most of my body was itching. Strangely however, my hands and feet, scalp, face, and neck did NOT itch.

    I went back to the doctor and was put on another round of Prednisone for 12 days instead of 6-7. Blood work was done and my CBC and CMP were normal.

    Again, Prednisone helped. Although the last few days on smaller doses it did not seem to help as much. I also noticed that I would then have sharp stabbing pains in ny palms but no itching.

    I ended up taking Gabapentin because my restless leg and insomnia were severe. This worked and helped the Prednisone as well.

    I just had another appointment. I still have extreme itching and no Prednisone is being offered.

    This itching is driving me insane. I have no rashes, no dry skin, no blisters, no hives, no redness. More blood work was done. My CBC showed an elevated White blood cell count (20) but that's presumably from the Prednisone. My CRP and thyroid were fine. There were no allergy/inflammatory responses found.

    I have not changed shampoo, body wash, lotions, clothes, foods, or detergents. Water, heat, and cold make no difference. I even went so far as to get fragrance free and hypo allergenic. I have cats, but have had them for 8 years. The only consistent medication has been omeprazole daily. I do not take anything else.

    I am at a loss as to what this could be. A skin issue should show some outward signs but there is nothing. I was placed on Hydroxyzine and told to supplement with Diphenhydramine and Zyrtec. None of these are working at all!

    Next steps are referrals to Neuro (to check for auto immune and neuropathic causes). They want to refer to dermatology, but the patch tests and blood work were all negative for any of that.

    What could this be? And what can I do to offset the itching? I also tried Zantac/Prevacid as an H2 blocker. Nothing but Prednisone is working and they dont want to prescribe more due to its long term nasty side effects, unless they know the cause.

    What can I do on my end? Blood work is being repeated Friday. But, I am severely itchy and cant sleep or concentrate.


  • 9 months ago

    RE: Severe Itching With No Visible Signs On Skin

    "Sounds" like aggravated nerves likely caused by allergies or stress
  • 9 months ago

    RE: Severe Itching With No Visible Signs On Skin

    Have you considered the foods you consume may cause this kind of severe itching? Some toxins build up over time and are not quickly apparent if you consume them every once in a while. Just like pet foods. It would explain why Prednisone and Benedryl work temporarily to halt the itch but how it starts up again right after. It's in your system and those medicines just mask the symptom without curing the cause.

    I gave up all breads and carbos for a month on a dare and it has worked. I was so itchy at one point I would shake and no amount of medicine or topical was stopping it for good.

    Give it a thought about what you eat since this is definitely an area that most internists and GP's are deficit in knowledge -- effects of chemicals we consume through foods and how to get to the sources of those irritants to our systems.

    You have nothing to lose except possibly severe itchiness and maybe even some weight at the same time. Go organic if it looks like breads, corn or wheat products are not it..... any grain product that is not doubly-certified organic has been heavily sprayed with serious toxins to eliminate bugs or prolong shelf life. Did you know the average grape has over 27 chemicals sprayed on it? Did you know that a non-organic apple can have a shelf life of 45 days if sprayed enough?

    Let us all know what you decide to do if you want to go this route...

    Take Care Now,
      • 9 months ago
        I'm going to try to get some backstory so this can help some more.

        In September 2015 I underwent the duodenal switch bariatric surgery. Since then I have a very strict and regimented diet. Between 100 to 110 grams of protein a day. I also eat very little carbs and almost no sugar and limited fat. Each meal contains no more than 10 grams of fat, 10 grams of sugar, and 10 grams of carbs at most. I have been trying since November to work on exclusion diet to take things out of my food to see what would happen. I've almost entirely eliminated gluten which made no difference. In June of 2016 I had my gallbladder removed due to gallstones as a complication of my bariatric surgery. I had no ill side effects other than what I believe to be some form of lactose intolerance. And it's very strange the way that it appears. Drinking whole milk and yellow processed cheeses tear my stomach up and cause bad gas pain and bloating. However if I drink one or two percent milk ( which I have been drinking 1% milk nine years after PCOS diagnosis). If I eat white cheeses such as mozzarella or parmesan then I have no issues. Some of that could be more from processing than the cheese itself. Kraft and Borden sliced cheeses affect me but the Sargento or Deli cut Cheese do not. Also even if I do drink milk as long as I keep it under half a glass I don't have much of a reaction there.

        During the time I was trying to lose weight I did everything from Weight Watchers to Jenny Craig to Atkins diet to a paleo diet none of which made a difference.

        I did come across a message board where some people who have had their gallbladder removed have had intense body itching. Basically since you don't have the gallbladder to store your excess bile it tends to excrete it's bile salts through Your Skin causing itching issues. That was done in June of 2016 and the itching started at the beginning of December 2016 which also makes me question whether thats a cause.

        Due to the nature of my weight loss surgery I have both a malabsorptive and restrictive digestive system. Because of this I have to be on a daily vitamin regimen to help supplement the nutrients that I don't absorb through food. I get my vitamin levels checked every 3 months and they have all been normal. Surprisingly my anemia and vitamin D deficiency are all now corrected. I also no longer have type 2 diabetes.

        At this point, if I lose anymore weight then I am at risk of other issues. Also, on a side note I am allergic to most fruits and have always had to supplement vitamins to make up for that.

        I would like to note that Benadryl only helped the itchiness for one day and after that it never worked again. I went to urgent care where they prescribed me prednisone thinking it was some kind of allergic reaction whether atopic or otherwise.

        I have been put back onto prednisone because the itching came back again and even worse. At this point even the prednisone isn't working as well as it has in the past. I went out this weekend and bought new sheets and new clothes just to see if there could be an environmental issue. I stayed someone's house that did not have any animals and still itched.

        I do believe that some of this is in my head as far as it goes to the extent of the itch. I have been dealing with anxiety my whole life . But I have also been more depressed and more anxious at other times than this. Most of the time if I am out and about and walking around and being active then I either not notice it as much or am distracted by other things unlike when I am home alone.

        The blood tests they ran were largely inconclusive. There was a cat dander test done which my result was equivocal. The levels go from unequivocal, equivocal, positive and so forth. Which means that my blood did react some to cat dander. I visited the vet and got a particular shampoos to use animals as well as a brush that would help get rid of that. This more so confuses me because I have had these cats for 8 years and have never had any problems nor do I exhibit the animal allergy symptoms. My eyes do not water, and my face and eyes do not get itchy. I do not have a runny nose or any type of drainage. My cats will literally sleep on my head or touching my face and I feel nothing.

        I am not sure if I had stated this last time but I have made no changes to home environments. The type of litter has not been changed, the detergent has not been changed since I make my own. All of my bathing products including body wash shampoo and conditioner are sulfate free and hypoallergenic. At this point I'm not sure what to do. I have been referred to a neurologist to rule out any neuropathic origin mainly because what I noticed with prednisone when it stopped being as effective was with taking Gabapentin which definitely helped. I also at the direction of my doctors added Zyrtec and Claritin on top of Benadryl. None of which works at all either. If I take a clonazepam then it doesn't help me enough to distract myself. They also prescribe me hydroxyzine which did not make any difference at all. I did get a new prescription for medicine called Doxepin which can help depression, anxiety, and uticaria. For me it has helped me to be able to sleep which is a godsend and sleep seems to be the only time that I do not itch. At first I was waking up in the middle of the night itching which prompted the prednisone.

        I am going to be seeing an allergist and dermatoligist. They already checked for scabies and bedbugs which were negative as well as being normal allergy markers . Again I have no rashes or blisters or hives of any kind I just get extremely itchy skin everywhere but my scalp face neck and private areas. And my skin does not have hives and it does not appear red either . I have however been under more stress lately due to losing a job and having to find another one which I have done so.

        Taking showers or baths do help for a limited amount of time. I have tried changing clothing fabric to see if I was allergic to Cotton or wool or spandex or polyester and nothing came of that either. I also change out all of my sheets and pillowcases and comforters every single day and wash thoroughly.

        The only two things that occurred before the itching started would that I contracted bronchitis and took antibiotics for that in November as well as prednisone then as well. I also had my IUD removed in November as well and I went to my female doctor who assured me this should not cause the issue.

        If for some reason it is an allergy that I could at least have a reason. But the problem would lie with long-term care since the normal allergy medicines like over the counter medicines don't work. No one wants to have me on Prednisone long-term because that can have its own side effects.

        I know that it is possible to develop allergies to things that you already been exposed to but I have had my cats for 8 years.

        Again, I am lost. Any other ideas?
      • 9 months ago
        Let's see what the allergist and dermatologist have to say but if it were me, I'd also see a Hematologist for complete blood differential....some blood diseases cause severe itching and standard blood tests may not give the whole underlying picture.
        Keep posting and hang in....you've gone through a lot and many things happened concurrently or close in time. That alone may make an accurate diagnosis take a while as all these changes have to be weighed against their effects on your whole system, not just whether you itch or not.
        TakeCare now,
      • 8 months ago
        Have you heard back yet? I have those same exact symptoms and problem. I had a WBC of 19, which was also presumably the Prednisone but seems so high. I am hypothyroid bit the goofy hospital didn't check that. Never had anything removed except uterus. I am getting very concerned. My legs are spotted badly and I worry about having uncontrollable itch forever, sheesh.

        Thanks! Hope you are doing better!
  • 9 months ago

    RE: Severe Itching With No Visible Signs On Skin

    I have a very similar story. The inside of my lower legs and feet itch at night. There is no apparent rash. No changes in my living conditions, etc.. I am on neurontin and requip with no relief. Even the benadryl no longer helps. I too have changed to all allergy proof stuff. Seen several dermatologists and no answers. The only thing we have in common aside from itching is I had a lap band for 3 yrs but had to have it removed as it ate through my stomach. I am on the schedule to see an allergist and see if there is anything else I can do. The last bad itching attack I did take a magnifying glass and was able to see little, (tiny) blisters under my skin. Not sure if its a rash starting or if its from scratching. My itching has progressed up my body. Let me know if you get any help. Had to stop the steroid shots as they ate away at the site.
  • RE: Severe Itching With No Visible Signs On Skin

    A neurologist found my issues pinched nerves!!