Discussions By Condition: Skin conditions

Intense generalized itching/red dots on skin

Posted In: Skin conditions 5 Replies
  • Posted By: andyhughes
  • July 16, 2008
  • 07:25 PM

This is a call, more in hope than expectation, to anyone who has endured anything like what I've experienced. Apologies for the big post but it's a big problem. I'm 21 and for about a year now I've had this intense itching - for the past 6 months pretty much every day. The first time it happened I was drumming, and my chest reddened and felt as if it were burning. That was the only time it really bothered me though - because I didn't suffer it much I didn't really think about it (and vice-versa, I believe). But gradually more things began to trigger it - namely physical exercise (being warm/hot makes me uncomfortable) and anxiousness/nervousness, both of which make me worry about itching. And that's the key thing; I can bring this on at any time, like when I'm eating, just by fretting about it. I guess a major factor in all this is discomfort. I worry, I feel a tingling/itching sensation somewhere on my body, I dread the imminent pain, the itching becomes more intense and quickly spreads throughout pretty much my whole body - the prime areas are chest, neck, backside, arms and legs. The indescribably intense pain leaves me in emotional turmoil and my heart will pound unhealthily quickly. After a minute or so the visible signs will appear: small red or pink dots (a few millimeters wide) which sting like needles up my arms and wrists (where they sometimes look like nettle-stings) and on my chest, neck and legs. The whole torturous experience lasts about 3-5 minutes, and happens no more than once a day, which will no doubt sound trivial to anyone fortunate enough never to have experienced its rabid intensity. It's like an allergic reaction to heat, excitement, fear - things which most people encounter every day.

I've seen a couple of doctors, both of whom seemed a little clueless in this field, who vaguely diagnosed my condition as urticaria and put me on drugs (anti-histamines such as fenofexodine), which have done nothing. This has had a huge impact on my life - I've always been a very active person and a keen sportsman (I would play football and swim most days), but the fear of trigggering the itching has made me avoid physical exercise whenever I can. On top of the physical pain, the daily anticipation and fear of that pain is unbearable. So there it is. Has anyone suffered anything like this? Does it have a name? Are there treatments? Please help!

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5 Replies:

  • I did some basic research. Anxiety can cause intense itching and rashes. Sometimes such problems can be related to neuropathic or phsychogenic issues. You did not say what kind of doctors you have seen. Were they dermatologists? A psychologist for the anxiety --to explore underlying causes? I realize this can be extremely painful. Try to think positive and focus on not expecting the attack. Sounds simple I know. Yoga and biofeedback may help if it is not organic. Wish you best of luck.
    Abbydoodle 138 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thanks for your reply, I really appreciate it. No the doctors weren't specialists, just GPs, the second of whom said if things don't clear up after my current medication then the dermatologist's the way to go. It's so frustrating how little they understand the condition and its severity. By now I think I probably know more about the skin than the doctors I've seen! I actually told the last one that I'm almost positive my condition isn't hives (since my skin doesn't swell at all, just stings all over for a few minutes before coming out briefly in small reddish-pink dots down my arms, hands, chest and legs), yet she prescribed me fenofexadine, which is used to treat hives! Needless to say, I've been on that for two weeks now and it's not helped at all (as I knew it wouldn't). As far as 'underlying psychological causes' go, the condition kind of feeds itself because I worry immensely about it - it's difficult not to fear something that's so painful and easily triggered, and equally hard not to feel resentful for its restrictive effects on your lifestyle and the things you enjoy doing, as I explained in my first post. To look on the bright side, it's made me try to live as healthily as I can and revelealed to me how much I took my relatively care- and illness-free life for granted - something which I'll never do again if I ever get it back! Once again thanks for your post; it's good to know you're part of a supportive network of people who understand and care about what you're going through.
    andyhughes 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • I agree with you about a hive medication not working. Talk to doctor about medication for aniety like zanex or so. Yeah you are ginea pig, but it would maybe calm you and if possible stop the cycle. It would also help let you know if it is more of a psychogenic reaction rather than environmental or such. If that doesn't work, yep start for the dermatologist. The hardest thing is trying not to think about something that you are not suppose to think about. Know what I mean. It becomes a very vicious circle. Keep us posted. Am very interested in how turns out. :p
    Abbydoodle 138 Replies Flag this Response
  • OK, I'll hold up my hand here. Looks like the docotrs, terse as they were, were right in diagnosing my condition as urticaria. I was put on more drugs: once-daily 180mg fexofenadine and twice-daily 600mg(?) cimetidine (and H2-receptor blocker, whatever that means). After a few days they had clearly taken effect and I was fine. For about a week I was hives-free for the first time in about a year. A combination of slightly decreased effectiveness and worry about the implications of taking cimetidine long-term made me revert back to just the fexofenadine. My condition returned, but no so severely as before, and having done some research got some natural substances known to assuage urticaria. These were: stinging nettle (300mg) and green tea capsule (315mg), 100mg vitamin B6 and 1500mg vitamin C daily. These are mostly natural antihistamines and over the last two weeks have worked on their own, without fexofenadine or any other drug, to keep me hives-free. However, over the last couple of days the itching has returned a bit (today it was quite bad), and I fear a gradual remission. That said, despite the itching, it's not been so bad that the visible signs have appeared. What I'm taking definitely helps - everything I've mantioned can be bought from Holland & Barrett - and I'd be interested to know if this helps anyone else. I'm still looking for extra things to take, so if anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them. My condition seems to be a kind of psychogenic (caused by anxiety/stress, about an imminent onset of the condition itself)/cholinergic (heat-related) type, and I have a suspicion my urticaria may be triggered in part by something other than histamine (which is apparently sometimes the case), but just what or how to eradicate it I don't yet know.
    andyhughes 2 Replies
    • October 2, 2008
    • 06:49 PM
    • 0
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  • I have exactly the same thing that you have! It started in exactly the same way! At first it was just like a very small area of my skin would become slightly warm and itchy feeling. It never lasted that long (minutes), then would go away. One day I was near a mirror and inadvertently looked when the itching occurred. That was when I discovered that the itching was accompanied by extremely small red dots. Almost as if it could be like the pores of my skin were encountering some level of irritation causing red pigment to increase around their tiny edges. I never, ever scratched the area at all. At most I would place the palm of my hand over the area and brush over it, just wondering if I could feel something. The closest to what I felt when this reaction occurred was "heated-skin with a fiber-glass-itch". Again, never lasted long.I went to a dermatologist. He gave me a Cortisone Injection (Steriod Shot), first. He drew blood and ran lost of tests. Then a prescription for fexofenadine. But here's the additional thing that I had, which may be different from you...I had high blood pressure. So in addition to the fexofenadine, I also got a prescription for atenolol. Personally I don't like to take medicine/pills, either. But having the red-spots/itching popping up from time-to-time, daily, was not something I could put up with.Since I have been on the fexofenadine/atenolol combination, there's only been about 2 times that it has recurred. I've been on this combination for about 2 years now.The thing is, it's not good to hang out on the atenolol, for blood-pressure, for more than 3 years. So I am coming up on the third-year and I will want to find a way to get off of the blood pressure pills. Part of that is just increasing my health even more. I am not hugely over-weight, I don't sit around eating junk-food, nor in bad health. I just have had a hard time shaking the blood-pressure on my own. Just the way my internals are.Anyway; I think I have the same symptoms as you. Stressful situations, increase-in-blood-pressure. Often times it got worse as I thought about it. Very strange. It was like I thought I had control over it (but wouldn't need these pills if I did). I have always thought that it had something to do with my blood-pressure increasing, which was causing more blood to collect in the skin. It was on my arms, base of my kneck, chest, then eventually seemed like it would occur anywhere, but the palms of my hands. I'm not sure of the exact name, if it even has one. I have never gotten a complete diagnosis from the dermatologist. In other words, we've ruled out tons of skin types of diseases. His last set of guesses, before I went on this combination, was a blood-infection. But that guess didn't last very long. We ruled that out, as it would come-and-go. His thoughts were if it were a blood infection, then it would occur and be a more consistent part of my life. Like almost hourly.I'll revisit and let you know more later, as I discover more details. Thanks.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 23, 2009
    • 06:22 AM
    • 0
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