One of the “lesser known” menopausal symptoms is itching skin. I don’t just mean the sort of itch where a quick scratch will suffice, I mean the sort that drives you bonkers. The sort of itch that makes you feel you have ants crawling over you. Sadly, many women going through menopause suffer from it.
Alison Brown who runs an extremely helpful Facebook group Menopause Magazine offers fact sheets with advice to those who are part of the group. I asked her permission to share the fact sheet on itchy skin as it has some of the best advice I have come across for this symptom. My thanks go to Alison for the following:
What Causes Itchy Skin?
Itchy skin is experience by many women during the menopausal transition. Skin problems during, and after, menopause are closely linked with hormonal changes characteristic of this natural period of change.
Declining hormones can often trigger skin changes leading to itchy skin and can be a major life disruption, especially if it causes significant discomfort and/or disrupts sleep.
Other abnormal skin conditions affecting touch sensation, sensations of numbness, “pins and needles”, tingling, and/or pricking of the skin can also be experienced.
A small percentage of menopausal women report itchy skin symptoms of formication characterized by creepy, crawling sensations on the skin. People with formication have the phantom sensation of ants or other insects crawling on their skin.
The most common underlying cause of itchy skin is hormonal change. As the body prepares for the cessation of menstruation and egg development, levels of estrogen in the body also fluctuate and eventually begin a steady decline.
Estrogen plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin. For example, estrogen is responsible for stimulating the production of skin collagen, a fibrous protein that provides strength, resilience, and support to the skin and other tissues.
As estrogen production diminishes, dry itchy skin becomes a very common symptom. The decline in skin thickness and collagen production appears to be most rapid in the years immediately preceding menopause.
Lowered estrogen levels also decrease the body’s ability to retain moisture and slow down the body’s production of natural skin oils, which also contributes to itchy skin.
Other Rare Causes of Itchy Skin
While hormonal changes are the most common cause of itchy skin around menopause, other medical conditions can be responsible for itchy skin. While these are rare causes, they are important to be aware of, particularly in cases where itchy skin is accompanied by other unexplained symptoms.
Women concerned about the causes of itchy skin and those who experience other worrisome symptoms are advised to speak with a qualified dermatologist or other medical professional. Fortunately, itchy skin in menopause can often be successfully managed with self-care and natural treatments.
- Stay well hydrated – drink a minimum of 2 litres of water every day
- Moisturize and use chemical and preservative free moisturizers, particularly Virgin Cold Pressed Raw Organic Coconut Oil
Other websites with information about itchy skin: