What to Do About Night Itches That Don't Respond to Treatment?

incredible groin itch/nocturnal - Only late at night--every night in bed. OTC or prescrpt. useless! 5 dermatologists cannot solve this. No bed mites or bed bugs. NOT psoriasis. NOT fungus. No ointment, cream or salve works OTC or prescript.. Heavy doses of antibiotics during winter illness DID clear this up temporarily. Age 72, excellent health. Tried alcohol and camphor...nothing. I am not a doctor but I suspect this must be treated internally. Can you help?

Doctor Answers 2

Itching Treatment

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Gosh, this is a tough one without knowing your full medical history and evaluating your lab work. The symptoms you describe sound terrible. The causes for itching (pruritis) are myriad, and the temporary clearance with antibiotics (which ones?) doesn’t point to a particular diagnosis. However, in refractory cases of itching without known cause (idiopathic pruritis), I often find ultraviolet light therapy works beautifully. Narrow band ultraviolet light B helps to calm itching by reducing inflammation and deactivating “C” fibers, the small nerves that carry the sensation of itch.

New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Nocturnal groin itch

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Your plight seems terrible! itching disorders are often worse at night when other daytime distracting stimuli are removed and the mind can focus more on the symptoms of the groin itch. There are many causes for groin itch and unfortunately they are often not diagnosed while multiple creams are tried and they make the thin and sensitive skin in this area more irritated. Eventually a condition called dermatitis medicamentosa occurs and it is relieved only when all the medications are tapered off. The orginal problem still remains. Is it an external cause such as a reaction to laundry detergent, fabric softener, perfumes in dryer sheets in undergarments or linen that are used at night? Is it a reaction to an internal problem, such as a pinched nerve in spine or groin, or a side effect of an internal disorder that needs to be diagnosed through blood tests, chest x-rays or cat scans.  After all the work up, there may unfortunately still be no answer. Some old time remedies might help and it might be worth seeing a more seasoned dermatologist or traveling to a tertiary care center that specializes in dermatology, such as the Mayo Clinic. Your doctor might try varioius creams or solutions after examining your skin. Keeping the area cool and dry may help. Pramasone, Sarna, Oatmeal, Gentian Violet solution, might be tried, but again, dermatitis medicamentosa might develop. I wish you the best of luck obtaining relief of your symptoms.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

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