The sensation of skin crawling can be extremely distressing. It can cause damage to the skin as well as embarrassment to the person suffering from this condition. The sensation of crawling skin may be similar to that of pins and needles or a tingling feeling.
The medical term to explain the crawling sensation on skin is formication. Many researchers believe this is a form of tactile hallucination. Formication may occur because of several reasons including syphilis, high fever, herpes zoster and skin cancer. Formication may also be experienced as a side effect of medication and harmful drugs such as cocaine and opium. Formication may also be experienced as a delusion in those suffering from a mental illness.
The most dangerous effect of formication is scratching. A person affected with this feeling may cause themselves harm in their attempts at ridding themselves of the itchy feelings. Some causes of formication can be treated with medication to reduce this risk.
Causes of Skin Crawling
Apart from some reasons mentioned above, there are several other causes that trigger the sensation of crawling skin. Awareness of these conditions can help diagnose the problem.
Morgellon's Disease - Morgellon's disease is a condition that causes a crawling sensation on the skin. Although there is much controversy about the unexplained skin disorder, researchers at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that Morgellon's disease is not a disease caused by an infection or parasite. Most researchers believe the sores apparent with the disease are caused by people scratching at their skin. Symptoms of this condition include crawling sensation on skin, skin rashes and sores, extreme fatigue and short-term memory loss. Persons on marijuana and anti-anxiety medications are at risk of developing this disease.
Persons with Morgellon's disease may wish to consult a doctor about their symptoms in order to help alleviate symptoms of the disease. A common medication used for treating Morgellon's disease is NutraSilver.
Menopause - Skin crawling is a common problem with women going through menopause. Menopause is a time where a woman's monthly menstruation cycle ceases. This causes a variety of changes in a woman's body, including hot flashes, itchy skin, vaginal dryness, etc. All these changes occur in menopausal women due to hormone changes. Women experiencing difficulty with these problems should consider the various forms of treatment available to them.
Menopausal women suffering with the sensation of crawling skin may find relief by way of hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy provides natural or artificial replacement hormones when the body stops producing them.
Allergies - A common cause for the sensation of crawling skin is an allergy. Sometimes, contact with allergens such as fabrics and detergents may cause itching and a crawling sensation on the skin. These allergy conditions may also occur with certain foods.
Persons suffering with allergies causing skin irritation should identify the allergen and avoid contact with it as much as possible. A doctor may sometimes prescribe antihistamine medication for allergies.
Other Health Conditions - Health conditions including mercury poisoning, skin cancer, syphilis, diabetic neuropathy, Lyme disease or herpes zoster can cause the skin to develop an uncomfortable crawling sensation.
Medications - A crawling sensation on the skin is a common side effect of Ritalin or Adderall. Some prescription drugs may also list this as a side effect. Taking amphetamines or cocaine can also cause a crawling sensation on the skin.
Withdrawal Symptoms - When a patient is experiencing withdrawal from opioids, amphetamines or cocaine it can cause the patient to experience a skin crawling sensation. Alcoholics attempting to recover from their condition can also experience this condition. On some occasions this can manifest itself as a hallucination of bugs crawling on the skin.
Living with the sensation of crawling skin can be extremely uncomfortable. Therefore, persons experiencing this condition should consider medical attention in order to avoid further discomfort.