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EnviroBecca 11-02-2007 12:20 AM

This has happened to me several times now. What the heck causes it???

I'm going about life as usual when I feel a sudden itch somewhere on my thigh, under my clothes. Really sudden, almost painful in its intensity. So I scratch it. A moment later it itches again. After about the third scratching, I start to wonder what's up (and resist scratching, with gritted teeth!), and when I get my clothes off I find an area about 2"x3" (the area I scratched) covered with small bright red dots. Very soon they get larger and turn purple. It doesn't spread much beyond the original area, but the dots blur into each other. Sometimes it swells just a little. Putting ice on it right away reduces the purpleness and swelling.

Once I've resisted scratching : for about half an hour, it stops itching. The dots heal slowly over several days.

It looks to me like my scratching is breaking a lot of capillaries under the skin, causing a cluster of tiny bruises. What I don't understand is why my capillaries would be so weak. I mean, I scratch myself that hard pretty often without any sign of this, but this particular type of itch makes these dots cover the whole area all of a sudden. Once I'm paying attention to the "character" of the itching, after I've realized what the problem is, it feels different than the itching of a mosquito bite or poison ivy; it's like something suddenly crawling or dripping on the inside of my skin.

I have low blood pressure, if that means anything. I sometimes wear compression stockings and have never had this happen with them on.

I don't think this is contact dermatitis because it's always happened to one small area of my skin that had not been treated differently than the surrounding area and had been covered for hours. It's never happened at times when I've been rolling in the grass or anything unusual.

It's always on my thigh but not always in the same place--anywhere from near the hip to just above the knee.

Incidents are months apart usually. Once it happened in a different spot about 12 hours after the first.

Please help! I tried to look it up online, but the only similar things I found were symptoms of rapidly fatal diseases! :

EnviroBecca 11-05-2007 06:55 PM


Gitti 11-06-2007 09:58 AM

Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
... the only similar things I found were symptoms of rapidly fatal diseases!
I would forget about that and try some food grade vitamin C.
A very good brand from the health food store. You may just be lacking?

I think your capillaries may be busting when you feel the itch (crawling, dripping) and broken capillaries are a sign of lacking vitamin C.

JMO but may be worth a try.

Just thought of a question: Do you smoke? No need to answer but if you do, you are for sure lacking vitamin C.

MJoKirk 11-06-2007 10:28 AM

this has happened to me before. i think it is when the itch is under your clothing (atleast it has always been under my clothing, esp. jeans). I think it is becuase when you scratch through your clothes it is just kinda pressure more than scratching, and the pressue ends up causing a wierd bruise. Its like, wierd pressure, that moves across the skin, thus popping capillaries. Like, the nerve endings that cause the itch arent really satiated with the pressure, unless you move the clothing and directly scratch the skin. Try moving the clothing out of the way (if that is indeed the problem for you) and see if that helps. I hope you understood that, I know my explanation wasnt the HTH!

jumpincholla 11-06-2007 01:35 PM

My best guess is anemia, but I don't think that fits your description really. If you are that concerned I would seek medical attention. I always find it better to talk to someone (ie a doc) when I'm really concerned and if everything is fine at least you have peace of mind.

jlutgendorf 11-06-2007 01:46 PM

Don't know what it is, or what causes it, but I've done it to myself a few times!

Once, I was in the shower, enjoying the hot water and had an itch on my thigh. I just scratched away for awhile, sort of zoned out. Got out of the shower and my partner freaks out about my leg! I had these huge giant dark red scratch marks all the length of my thigh. It looked like I had been mauled, but didn't hurt one bit. Took about a week to go away.

I also sometimes get them on/around my shoulder and collar bone.

I would guess it's something to do with heat, intensity of scratching and thinness of skin.


EnviroBecca 11-06-2007 06:04 PM

I'm not anemic--I just recently had a test--but the Vitamin C theory is an interesting one. I don't smoke and do eat fruits and veggies, but it's possible I'm not getting enough C. I have a bottle of C capsules that I am always forgetting to take. I'll find a way to remember and see if that helps!

My chiropractor said this is caused by stress, and it's true that the time I asked him about it and several of the other times, I had been very busy and agitated for a few days. What got me worried this time was that it happened when I didn't think I was under stress.

I've been meaning to ask my PCP about it but forgetting when I'm there for something else. He does same-day scheduling, so I guess the next time this happens I should go in right away so he can see it instead of just hearing my description.

Thanks for the ideas! Any more?

poppysmom 11-07-2007 12:21 AM

This summer I saw a dermotologist for an ongoing itchy spot that became a bruise and continued to itch - for a year. He told me it was quite common, I had irrited the nerves in that spot and it was a cycle that would just keep on going. He gave me a topical cream for 2 weeks and told me to ease up on the hot water in the shower because that makes it worse. Anyway, my bruise & itching are gone now. Hope that helps...

sackman 09-23-2013 04:56 PM

Did you ever figure this out? I'm having the same problem?? Please help!

EnviroBecca 09-23-2013 06:01 PM

Hi, Sackman. Sorry this is happening to you too. I never did figure out any physical reason for it, but as for the association with stress, I can tell you in retrospect that by the end of 2007 I was way down a rabbit hole of constant excessive pressure on myself and accepting some mistreatment from others and pretending everything was fine. The trouble had started in January, and by November what I was thinking of as normal life "not stressed" was ridiculous. It took me about two years to admit it and get help. Now I haven't had this happen in a long time.

So, I suggest evaluating your schedule and worries and trying to take a clear-headed look at your stress level and see if you can take things easier. The possible physical causes people suggested are good ideas to investigate, too.

Good luck!

Crystal Styles 12-05-2013 03:57 PM

Wow I have the EXACT problem, on the outer thigh, started feeling itchy, scratched it and scratched it underneath jeans, then looked at it, small red dots, looked at it gain later it was a huge bruise and very hot to touch.

Curlysuezy 05-31-2014 11:59 AM

Me too!
Thanks for the info! My wife is having the same problem. She is red haired, and fair skinned. The stress element makes a lot of sense. Has anyone learned anything additional about this topic since this thread was last active?

GaiaGirl 06-02-2014 03:20 PM

Sudden itching/bruising
I have the exact same thing... and it only happens when I'm either 1) under a lot of stress, or 2) recently and suddenly relieved from a lot of stress. (A.k.a. it happens all the time, but only started happening once the stress in my life kicked it up a few notches.)

The Vitamin C is an interesting idea, as is iron deficiency. I tend to lack both at times, and when I start taking multivitamins and Vitamin C tablets, it doesn't happen as often. My doctor said it might also have something to do with weather -- skin tends to be more sensitive when it's unusually cold or hot. She said it's not anything to worry about unless I'm having other weird symptoms, too.

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