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Includes Expert Content
Skin Rash and Uncontrollable Itching
lajollasands posted:
I developed a red, pimple-type rash on my upper back and chest about 2 mths ago. It began itching a lot. It has now been 2 mths and I still have a rash on my upper back and chest and now lower back, thighs and abdomen (near belly button). I have been to my Dermatologist several times and he has no idea what it is. Once, he did a scraping to check for scabies which was negative. The itching has been almost non-stop. It intensifies every night when I go to bed, and often keeps me awake scratching for 3-4 hrs. Just last night I slept 9pm-midnight and I have been up ever since. I am missing work today because of it and recently had to miss 5 days work because the itching was so unbearable.
I sat at home with a cold washcloth on my stomach and on my back. I had 2 Prednisone injections at the first appointment, was prescribed Clenia scrub for my shower, Triamcinolone Cream for a while, all in which nothing has helped.

I had been taking 2 Benadryl at night to sleep, but that finally wore off and did not help at all. I have been on Atarax now for a couple weeks. He first ordered 1-3 at bedtime (10-30 mg). I have been taking (on my own) up to 100 mg Atarax a day just to get by. Yes, it makes me tired and sometimes sleepy. The effects only last 2-4 hrs for me.

I feel like it has gotten so unbearable, I don't know what to do. When I am up for the day, shopping, working etc, I can put some of it out of my mind and function. However, when I go home and sit down, it intensifies and bedtime is a nightmare now....

I have washed everything in a dye-free, scent-free Tide. I am at my wit's end over this. (FYI: I am a nurse).
acevitton responded:
I have this as well. Went to another dermotologist today since the first one had no idea. He took a biopsy and wont know for another week. I use a stop smoking aid. I am beginning to think I am alergic to it since I use no soap, only clear free detergent, etc like you.
lajollasands replied to acevitton's response:
I feel for you. After I wrote that on Saturday, I got a hold of my dermatologist at home. I was at the point of going to the ER for relief. He increased my Atarax, ordered a cream for scabies called "Permathrin" which is a one-time application and then again in one week. I do not have scabies, but he said the cream may help. He also ordered a pill for sleep. That night, I applied the cream neck to feet and took 2 sleeping pills and slept for the first time in 2 months, free from itching. It was wonderful.
However, the itching has started back. I went to the dermatologist yesterday and he took a biopsy, too. I did not sleep well last night even with the sleeping pills.

I hope you (acevitton) get relief.
acevitton replied to lajollasands's response:
Thank you for responding and I hope you get relief . I can't sleep either for the itch. Glad you had the biopsy like I did. I wont find out til Monday what it might be. I've actually had itchy patches for years. Sometimes I just dealt with it with over the counter creams since doctors didn't know what to do. Now, it is too bad, so another round of doctors seems to be in order.

If you don't have scabies, why were you being treated for it? My son had scabies a long time ago. We did a 1 week treatment and it was gone.
lajollasands replied to acevitton's response:
The reason he gave me the cream that treats scabies is because he said it may help with the itching. I just got some more cream but am waiting to use it toward the end of this week because I am going out of town on Saturday for one week and want to be at home for the second application a week later. I am taking 25 mg Atarax while at work, which helps with the itching (even though it makes me a little tired). Last night I took 2 sleeping pills and was able to sleep most of the night with only minimal itching.
I will probably get my biopsy results in a week or less.
You mentioned having itchy patches. That sounds like excema to me. Have they mentioned that?
acevitton replied to lajollasands's response:
They have not mentioned eczema, only hives. I can't wait to hear results on Monday. In the meantime, the allegra and zyrtec seems to be working today.
lajollasands replied to acevitton's response:
I only mentioned eczema because you described some white patches. I am glad the Allegra and Zyrtec are helping you. I currently am maintaining my sanity with the Atarax 3 times a day (I could take more if needed) and the sleeping pills at night. My itching is much decreased, although occasionally I have a little itching The best part is to be able to sleep the past couple nights. That, in itself, is a miracle.

I don't think I mentioned, but my Dermatologist said when I return from my trip to visit my Dad, if I am still having problems he will next, try phototherapy. It is UV (ultraviolet) lights and would be a series of exposure for 5 minutes 3 days a week in his office.

I was hoping on this web site we would also get some responses from an MD regarding our discussion.
acevitton replied to lajollasands's response:
Yeah, I've heard of phototherapy and I had a nice little giggle at your "frenzy itch." I get into that so many times. Once I start with a little scratch, it can turn into a frenzy. I have to be very careful.

I keep looking for an MD to reply. I will post my derm's diagnosis on Monday and see if one comments.

Good luck!
lajollasands replied to acevitton's response:
Back from my trip to see my Dad. Itched very frequently there. The first night I spent there, I woke up with the rash on my back extremely reddened and itching. Makes me think it was his sheets, but not sure. I still have not heard my biopsy results, but I will call my Dermatologist tomorrow.
I was hoping for a comment on here from an MD.
Hope your results came out ok. Either way, we would just like to find an answer as to why we are having this problem.
acevitton replied to lajollasands's response:
I posted my biopsy results in hopes of hearing from an MD, but no reply.

I have chronic hives. He wants me to have some blood work done and then send me to an allergist. I am going to wait until after the Holidays. I am still itching, but continue to take allegra and zyrtec. I am also drinking at least 3 cups of green tea daily. I was reading some to the other itchy skin problems on here and someone swore that green tea tablets reduced her itch. I haven't been to the health food store yet, so just drinking the tea to see if I can tell a difference. So far none.

I have read other entries here and on other web sites from a lot of people who have chronic hives. I was surprised at how many people have this problem and how many don't know what causes them to itch. Some of them have had it for years. Most have been to allerigst who can't tell them what is causing their hives. Not very reassuring.

Let me know what your results are...I am curious if it will tell you a definitive answer.
lajollasands replied to acevitton's response:
I am glad you got at least an answer on your skin problem. I have never heard of chronic hives, but will research it. I assume you are seeing a Dermatologist? I certainly wish you some itching relief (especially through the Holidays).

I had not heard back from my MD so I called him last Monday. He was waiting to talk to me when I visit him next Monday, to discuss my biopsy results. But he discussed it a little over the phone anyway.

It seems my biopsy showed I have a disease called "Grover's Disease" (Benign papular acantholytic dermatosis). He said it is not terminal nor is it cancerous.

I started a frantic online research and found that 1) it is usually found in men over 50 (I am a woman 59), it can last 6-12 mths (I am now on month 3), it can go away after that and never come back or it can resurface at some time later.

There are guesses to the cause but no definite reason found. Some say they had high mercury levels (and some said that was from the silver fillings in their teeth). Others say it is from clogged sweat ducts, or dry skin, or over-exposure to the skin.

They offered several treatments. I am going Monday to start phototherapy. The bad part about that is it can become more inflammed right after the phototherapy and then improve. Also, I am going to ask him about Tetracycline.

Anyway, if you get a chance, please look up "Grover's Disease" and see what you think.
acevitton replied to lajollasands's response:
I haven't looked up Grover's yet, but I will...It's wierd that we are both 59 year old women with skin problems that have developed within the year. My itch is a little better with all the meds, but it is always there, it seems.

Again, good luck to you.
SweetMe7272 responded:
This sounds like the same exact thing I had. I was on and off
steroids for months and then used a cream called Fluocinonide which did help. Finally, I saw the fourth dematologist who prescribed using a tanning bed for about 10 minutes a day a few times a week. It has dried up most of the itchy patches. THe ones around my belly button and the back of my legs are huge but they're finally drying out. Maybe you could try that. I feel for me. I do. There were four months I didn't sleep a wink - not even Ambien knocked me out because the itching is so intense and it's a deep, deep itch. Good luck. Hang in there. Try the tanning bed!
Mohiba K Tareen, MD replied to SweetMe7272's response:
Dear SweetMe,

Thanks for your insight!

There are even better options that the tanning booth- an option called phototherapy (light therapy or narrowband UVB). This emits a special wavelength of light that has been proven to NOT cause skin cancers while effectively treating many skin conditions.

Unfortunately, the tanning bed can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer in the future

I hope that helps!
Dr. Mohiba Tareen
Tareen Dermatology, Roseville, Minn
Castle Connoly's America's Top Cosmetic Dermatologists
Adjunct Assistant Professor Univ of MN Dept of Dermatology
moptop replied to acevitton's response:
I had a terrible problem with hives until I figured out I am allergic to soybeans. They are in everything from soup to salad dressing to frozen pies. I now cook package free. Maybe this is something you eat daily without knowing.

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Mohiba K Tareen, MD is a board certified dermatologist who has an innovative practice in Roseville, Minnesota. Tareen Dermatology ( www.TareenDermato...More

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