Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    Includes Expert Content
    Menopause - itching, burning, crawling sensation on upper arms
    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?

    Take the Poll

    1. Have you ever had this type of itch?
    2. What did you do about it?
    3. Did it work, or solve the problem?
    • Yes or No to question 1
    • Solution for question 2
    • Yes or No to question 3
    View Poll Results
    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
    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.
    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.
    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!
    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!
    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.
    lorik2014 responded:
    Elegantlady1, I have been experiencing burning, prickling, crawling and electric shocks on both forearms for almost 2 years now. Ice packs are my best friend. I also have a TENS unit, taken Benadryl, Anti-Itch creams, however, none of them solve the problem, just temporarily takes the pain away. I have created too many scabs and scars on my arms. The itching is so bad, that I've had to use a knife or a stucco wall to calm it down. It occurs at all times of the day and night, work or sleeping. I have to carry ice with me at all times. At first, I can feel my arms burning, then it gets hotter and hotter until I start scratching or apply ice. In regards to testing, I have done blood work (negative), MRI of the Neck (slight narrowing of disc space - C5-C7, X-Ray of the neck, NCV (normal), Ultrasound (negative) and most current, MRI of the Elbow (normal).

    I am 35 years old and my job entailed me to repeatedly use my arms, hands and fingers. I hope I am not in Menopause, as I am still too young. In regards to being Neurogical, I thought so too, however, the NCV test came back normal. Each time that I have test for something, it's not been active and I'm sure that's one of the reasons why everything appears normal. I am leaning towards that as being a big part of the problem. However, the tests say otherwise. When it was first happening, I thought maybe it was excessive exposure to the sun, allergic reaction, but why happening on just my forearms and why happening throughout the who day vs. happening just when I work?

    I'd like to know if anyone else has experience the same kinds of symptoms.
    pickm3up replied to lorik2014's response:
    lorik2014 I myself have a very similar problem, mine affects my left upper arm and right forearm which makes no sense to me at all. I take an antihistamine at night as the itch gets worse towards early evening and during the night. The relief doesn't last and I'm usually flying out of bed at 3.30am to put my arms under a cold shower, which helps a bit. Ice and a face cloth that's cold also helps a little. Pain killers also help stop the feeling, but who wants to be shovelling tablets in your mouth all the time. My doctor hasn't been that helpful either.

    Many of the things you have said you thought it maybe, I have also thought that of myself but it is increasing sounding like it is due to the menopause which doesn't help you.

    I hope someone somewhere can come up with a treatment that will work as it does drive you nuts and leaves you shattered.
    joaniebour replied to pickm3up's response:
    I have had this problem for about 8-10 years. I am 50 yrs old and went through menopause at age 32. I have two sisters with this problem and a cousin. My other two sisters do not suffer from this. The ice packs are my best friend too. I truly believe it is a nerve thing. Topical cream does nothing and benadryl makes me sleepy too. I wish someone could help us. I think there are probably a lot of people with this problem. It is worse near the joints and every year it starts in a different spot. This usually starts late summer and continues until November, December. There is a nerve pain pill that would probably help called Gabepentin ( not sure if it spelled correctly) but you would have to get your Doctor to let you try it. I'm sorry there are other women in the same boat as Me.
    measley replied to joaniebour's response:
    I too have this condition. I am 56, menopause several yrs ago. I had itchy forearms about 11 yrs ago. It went away, but this summer my upper arms, in particular the right one, have started up. Like other women have said, my arms get hot and then start itching, burning, sharp pains and prickling. It doesn't really feels like bugs to me but I could see how it might. I tried Benalyn pills but it didn't help much. Calamine did nothing. Benalyn anti itch spray works a bit, but not enough. I agree cold packs are the best, but a little awkward in some situations! Was hoping to find a solution here. Thanks all.
    pickm3up replied to joaniebour's response:
    Thanks for your input joaniebour. I've now seen an older female doctor, her first thoughts aren't the menopause causing the problem but medication I take for blood pressure. I have now been taken off the meds and my skin has calmed down almost overnight. I have also been given a steroid cream to use on the damaged skin on my arms. I have to say my 'fingers' are still 'crossed' as it's early days. Hope this brings the itching to an end. Like everyone else, I agree the itching drives you nuts. Good luck everyone.xx
    anginaberryz responded:
    Menopause is a normal condition that all women experience as they age. The term "menopause" can describe any of the changes a woman goes through either just before or after she stops menstruating, marking the end of her reproductive period. During that period women have to suffer from lots of menopausal symptoms such as hot flash, night sweat, mood swing etc.. There are lots of natural menopausal supplements available in the market which actually work.
    lsaranas replied to anginaberryz's response:
    Angina berry which menopausal supplements actually work.? I can't find one to help. This itching on my arms is driving me crazy. I' m ready to rip the skin off my arms.
    elegantlady1 replied to joaniebour's response:
    I have these problems too: itching, burning and so forth of both upper arms. I used ice packs from time-to-time and it did help with the problems, but only temporarily. I considered it a nerve problem maybe? Did you ever talk or, go to a Neurologist? It's spelled: Gabapentin. Yes, I feel the same way too! Thanks to all as well.

    Featuring Experts

    Mary Jane Minkin, MD, is a nationally recognized obstetrician gynecologist, with a special interest in menopause. Dr. Minkin is clinical professor of ...More

    Helpful Tips

    Hot flash & Night sweat relief
    I am 51 and started perimenopause 6 years ago. I experience hot flashes and night sweats heavily every two weeks - the time I usually ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the North American Menopause Society website