SEVEN YEAR ITCH?
You may be delving in to this blog title thinking I'm going to be talking about how to spice up your relationship before the rot sets in and the highlight of your evening is discussing whether Debbie Dingle's hair is actually real or whether Dec really can go it alone without Ant... Can he? I'm not sure. Anyway.
No. I'm here to talk about itching. Peri-menopausal itching. Oh. My. Word. If you're lucky enough not to have suffered this, then say a prayer of thanks to that b*tch The Menopause Fairy but read on in case you ever are unfortunate enough to come a cropper.
Aged 45, I started getting an insatiable urge to scratch the backs of my legs. This was normally (but not only) at night but peaked sometimes whilst I was in bed. I was literally tearing my legs to pieces, unable to sate myself not matter how hard I scratched. I bought creams, I tried cool baths, I used Piriton, I wore gloves to bed (those white silk ones you can buy on Amazon to wear over hand cream that made me look like a bad Michael Jackson impersonator- ehhhh heeeeee). Nothing worked.
I Googled. God am I good at Googling. I found websites and forums with all these peri-menopausal women talking about itching. HAIL BE TO THE BABY JESUS!! I wasn't getting some horrible skin disease. This was hormonal. I skipped off to the doctor, probably to get some cream and a high-five at my self diagnosis. Wrong.
My doctor tutted, said there were no links between itching and menopause and I had non specific urticaria (they don't know what it is or what causes it so stop Googling and poke up with it)... I stamped my feet a bit and asked for a referral to a specialist dermatologist (thanking my lucky stars for my work private health insurance!).
A couple of weeks later, I sat in the dermatologists office, armed with list of my itchiness - when it happened, what I felt triggered it - as it had now spread to under the boobs and the groin area which was not only driving me insane and also not making me feel terribly sexy. I don't remember there being any white gloves and a pot of Sudocream for your arse in Fifty Shades.
Whilst being slightly more considerate to my plight, my female dermatologist also said 'probably urticaria' and suggested some high strength antihistamines at night (Fexofenadine - take two an hour before bed - work like a dream) and some steroid cream (Elocon ointment) to attack this initial bout of irritation. It killed it practically overnight. It broke that itch, scratch cycle I was in.
The advice was also to not have really hot baths, use un-perfumed soaps around any delicate areas, cut down on sugar in your diet (this can exacerbate issues if you have a yeast over growth in your body - which I did) and wear cotton underwear.
The good news is, it took a few weeks to get the itching under control completely and eventually to mostly stop. I rarely get it now but if I do, I search for the trigger. It could be stress or too much sugar and it's not yet reared it's ugly itchy head since I've been taking HRT.
I still 100% think it's hormone related. Too many women in their 40's and 50's can't all be making it up...