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Menopause - itching, burning, crawling sensation on upper arms
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Elegantlady1 posted:
I am a 61 year old woman (w/menopause ever since 45 years old) having an itching, burning sensation (like bugs crawling on skin); on my upper arms. I have had this problem several times before. Usually I'll put some anti-itch cream on that area, and seems like it will work, but it keeps on itching -- I scratch it, but it still doesn't stop for awhile (an itch going on forever). Also sometimes I will place a freezer blue ice pack on it and that helps for a bit -- calms it down. The itch is still there though. This type of itch is so hard to get rid of and calm down. You scratch and it still keeps itching. This itching problem really drives me nuts and can be hard to deal with. Have any of you ladies ever had this problem? I wonder if this has to do with my menopause, or is this neurological? Does anyone have some advice, or knowledge here?

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Mary Jane Minkin, MD responded:
Dear Elegantlady1,
This is a very interesting problem, There is classically described in menopausal symptomatology a condition known as "formication" (note how I spelled it!)-and it is technically described as a feeling of ants crawling up your skin! However, what puzzles me is that this is usually noted early in menopause-so it would be unlikely to develop after many years, which is sounds like it has. But it would be totally reasonable, if it has been going on for many years, to do a brief trial of transdermal estrogen, to see if the symptoms resolve. I would more likely think of this as a dermatological condition-have you tried something like the antihistamine Atarax (Vistaril?) or even systemic steroids, for a brief period to see if it resolves? At least these investigative interventions would guide you as to the cause of these sensations.
Do let everyone know what has happened, and if you try any interventions.
Good luck,
Mary Jane
 
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An_252897 responded:
I'm so glad I saw this. I am 39 and had a hysterectomy 5 years ago which I believe has put me into early menopause. I too have had that itchy sensation. I could never see the bugs I thought were crawling on me. At first I thought it was fleas and spent hundreds having my house and yard treated but never saw the first flea. Then I just wrote it off as dry skin although my skin is oily. Benadryl helps some although it makes me sleepy. That combined with the other effects of menopause do not help. Anyway, this post made a lot of sense to me and helped confirm I'm not going out of my mind, as menopause often makes you feel.
 
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Anon_6061 replied to An_252897's response:
An_252897 - Since the hysterectomy put you into early menopause, are you having other symptoms besides the formication? Have you considered taking estrogen? Estrogen has been a lifesaver for me.
 
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Elegantlady1 replied to Mary Jane Minkin, MD's response:
Dear Mary Jane,
Thanks so much for your info and advice! I will look into this for sure. I had followed about this kind of information in the past here on Webmd. I haven't tried the above that you mentioned. I recently increased my dosage Evamist (1-3 sprays daily) back up to 3 sprays daily. I'm taking Evamist w/Medroxyprogesterone 2.5mg. I was doing 2 sprays daily for awhile. Before I got your reply I almost was thinking that this would be a neurological problem, because I was not seeing any visible rashes, or anything like that. I'm suppose to see a Neurologist the month of August, but maybe I should go to a Dermatologist instead, or go back to my GYN. What is your opinion? Thanks again!
 
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Elegantlady1 replied to An_252897's response:
Dear An_252897,
Yes, your welcome! I know how this can be a really big problem, and especially seem to compound everything else as well. I know what you mean about seeming out of your mind -- my husband certainly knows this about mine too. I'm taking estrogen too. What I have been doing is rubbing a cream called Eucerin Calming Cream daily moisturizer on my arm, along w/putting some ice in a bag, or wash cloth and then placing on the arm for a bit. Helps for a little bit. Maybe try some of the anti-itch creams. Another thing would be to buy a Froggs Toggs cooling towel and carry it around with you for whenever the itch starts up again. These cooling towels can be bought many places -- Target, Walmart, Bed & Bath. I'm thinking grocery stores too. You can see my response below also to Dr. Mary Jane Minkin. She sure has been helpful! I hope everything works out for you!
 
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Elegantlady1 replied to Anon_6061's response:
Yes, Anon_6061,
I recently increased mine again on my Evamist. You can also see my response to Dr. Minkin. You never had the itching problem? Well, that is wonderful if you didn't! I guess a good amount of women do. This is terrible having this problem -- makes you feel like you are going nuts! Enjoy your day.


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