Hormonal Link to Rashless All-Over Itching

Even If I’ve given up on a solution for the all-over rashless itching I experience on a near-nightly basis, I definitely haven’t given up on researching its possible origins.

Lately I’ve found reason to believe that my nervous system may simply be responding to the highly elevated estrogen levels endemic to pregnancy.  It’s also possibly a function of the ratio of hormones at any given time.

I have to think about the fact that the itching severity seems to be cyclical. I wish I’d been keeping a log of this symptom (along with a few other data points that might be correlated), because then I’d know whether this pattern IS cyclical or if my brain just wants to fit my fuzzy data to a pattern.

Well, hindsight is 20/20.  The best I can do is try to figure out where I probably am with my hormone levels, based on the norms, and build from there.

Hormone Levels During Pregnancy – A bunch of somewhat interactive graphs showing average hormone levels in pregnant rats over the course of their pregnancies.

As you can see in the graphs, estrogen and progesterone are both exceedingly high throughout pregnancy, until the last week in which progesterone apparently falls right before birth so as to allow oxytocin to induce contractions (this is hypothesized but not confirmed).

Wikipedia on Progesterone:

  • In addition progesterone inhibits lactation during pregnancy. The fall in progesterone levels following delivery is one of the triggers for milk production.
  • A drop in progesterone levels is possibly one step that facilitates the onset of labor.
  • And: “Whether a decrease in progesterone levels is critical for the initiation of labor has been argued and may be species-specific.”

Here are some anecdotes to explore the hypothesis of there being a hormonal cause to all this needless, diagnosis-and-treatment-resistant itching.

  • In this forum, women on fertility-induction plans complain of certain types of itchiness in a pattern much like mine (worst in palms, feet, crotch, ankles) whenever they are taking progesterone.
  • Women with Salicylate Sensitivity in this forum are concerned about the blocking of progesterone by phytoestrogens (e.g. in soy), because progesterone seems to keep the itching (one of their endemic symptoms) at bay.

Finally, just to be uber-sciencematific, here are some Yahoo Questions in which the asker seems to have a very similar problem to me. Of course no one has a useful Answer.

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