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Itch (Itching or Pruritus)

What causes itching? (Continued)

Brachioradial pruritus is a neurologic condition that results in intense itching of the arms. It usually develops on the forearm over the head of the brachioradialis muscle, but it can occur anywhere on the upper extremities. This is often caused by a pinched nerve in the neck.

Itching can also result from other conditions that affect the nerves, such as diabetes, shingles (herpes zoster), or multiple sclerosis.

Irritation of the skin from contact with fabrics, cosmetics, or other substances can lead to itching that may be accompanied by rash, known as contact dermatitis. Poison ivy is another example of contact dermatitis. Reactions to drugs or medications can also result in widespread itching that may be accompanied by a rash or hives. Sometimes women report that they experience generalized itching during pregnancy or a worsening of the conditions that normally cause itching. Contact dermatitis from allergy to nickel, poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac is also a common cause of localized itching.

Itching of the scalp can be caused by a number of conditions, including dandruff, psoriasis, or seborrheic dermatitis.

Most people who have itching do not have a serious underlying condition.

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Reviewed on 5/11/2017

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