Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Itching

I'm not sure what's going on. Back when I was going through perimenopause (the real deal, not the phoney Cushing's version) one of my main symptoms was itching. Formication with an M. Random, everywhere, keeping me awake at night, embarrassing me when I was teaching. It really does feel like ants crawling all over - hence that formication name.

(From Wikipedia:

Formication is a somewhat unusual, but medically well-known, abnormal sensation. This sensation closely resembles the feeling of insects crawling on and/or under the skin, and can also include sensations which resemble those of insects stinging or biting. There are many known causes of formication.

The word is derived etymologically from the Latin word formica, meaning "ant", precisely because of this similarity in sensation to that of crawling insects.

Formication is a specific form of the general set of abnormal skin sensations known as paresthesia, and thus it is related to the sensation known as "pins and needles", and other tingling sensations.

Some people suffering the sensation of formication find it to be annoying, others find it painful, and some find it itchy. Those who find it to be itchy may in some cases repeatedly scratch themselves until they bleed, causing skin damage and sores. (In the subset of cases where the sufferer is delirious or intoxicated because of high fever, substance abuse, or extreme alcohol withdrawal, this repeated scratching is very common indeed.)

Formication can on occasion lead to people becoming fixated on the sensation and its possible meaning, and these people may develop delusional parasitosis. This is a situation where individuals are convinced that there are real insects crawling on and/or under their skin, whereas in reality there are no insects involved, just a crawling sensation. It is fairly easy to misunderstand the significance and causality of the "creepy crawly" sensation of formication.)

During the meno phase, this itching went away when I started on HRT. When I went off the HRT and onto soy shakes I was concerned that the itching might come back. If it had, I'd have gone back on the HRT.

So, fast forward 8 or so years and it's back. I'm assuming it's a hormone thing again but I'd better not be going through menopause a 3rd time. Sheesh! Always something!