Up until I gave birth to my son in March, I never had any type of itchy skin problems. About 1-2 weeks after my son was born, I developed bumps on my hips. The rash looked like bug bites or an allergic reaction. I didn't think much about it at the time. I noticed it would itch worse at night. Over the next few weeks the rash moved to my butt. It became worse and worse. At the same time there was a different looking rash developing on my arms and legs. I was scratching my butt so hard it was bruising. It got to the point where I had to do something about it.
After dealing with this for a month, I went to my regular doctor and showed him. He could hardly see the rash because it would almost disappear during the day, and reappear at night. Once I started scratching, the rash would get bright red and I had these welts that would rise up. The doctor thought it might be scabies on my butt, but he wasn't sure about my arms and legs. He gave me lotion for scabies, and said if it doesn't work come back. Well, it didn't work because I didn't have scabies. I went back and this time he gave me Zyrtec and Atarax. I took it and it didn't seem to help. It probably didn't work because I didn't take it like I was supposed to. (I had a newborn who I had to attend to at night and the Atarax knocked me out) Well when I went back the 3rd time he gave me Prednisone. It really didn't help either.
Finally they sent me to the dermatologist. My husband and I took pictures one night when it flared up so bad. We were not going in there empty handed. (It was never bad during the day). Well he automatically said I had dermographism. I am taking Allegra and Atarax at night. It has since taken on another form. It has now moved from my butt to the tops of my thighs (right below the underwear line). At first the rash was tons of tiny red bumps. Very different from what was on my butt. I also got these same patches on my waistline on both sides of my back, and under my armpits. This rash is visible during the day and night.
Over the past week it has started looking like it is drying up. I think it looks a lot better. I don't get itchy skin like I used to either. I am really bothered by the whole mess. It does make me self-conscious that I have this itchy skin rash, and it is scary to think that it may never go away, but I have faith that it will eventually go away.
My 13-year-old son has itchy skin and dermatographism and has suffered with it since infancy. He mainly gets it on his upper torso and mostly on his back. It comes and goes and doesn't seem to have a specific trigger that we can isolate. I usually rub the areas with a washrag soaked in alcohol and it seems to decrease the itching some. I've tried antihistamines but he doesn't seem to respond to them at all. We have never had a blood test for that specifically, but there have been times that he has had the hives and severe fevers (104 or greater) for long periods of time in which his white blood cells are very high and no cause for the fevers is ever found. With fever reducers his fever will subside in about a week and the itchy skin and dermatographism seems to become less invasive. I wonder if there could be a link to his mysterious fevers and his dermatographism and itchy skin. Both have been a horrible source of concern for me and the doctors seem very lost.
I began to experience symptoms of dermatographism and itchy skin in late October of 2005. I noticed that whenever there was friction on my skin, from clothing, inadvertently rubbing an arm or leg across a carpet, etc., that area would begin to itch intensely about a minute later. (No sign of any redness, rash or hives. Just itch.) I quickly learned that if I scratched, the itch would become ten times worse and hives would develop. Showering or, especially, bathing would also produce the hives and symptoms. As I towelled off after a shower, I would experience a very intense, prickly itch on certain parts of my skin for several minutes. Again, if I scratched, it would make it far, far worse. I wouldn't develop hives unless I scratched the place that itched.
To make a long story short, I lived with this for several months, thinking I just had intensely dry skin or something. Using a moisturizer containing urea (I ordered a Canadian product online called Uremol) helped alleviate some of the "spontaneous" itching caused by dry air, but still, if I absentmindedly scratched, I would experience the same discomfort.
I was finally able to get an appointment with a new dermatologist last week, who diagnosed dermatographism and prescribed 10 mg of Claritin per day to start. Amazingly to me, I felt immediate relief from the itching. In fact, as I was really hesitant to take an antihistamine every day for who knows how long, I didn't take one the next day, just to see what would happen. The upshot is that, while I continue to have some swelling of skin when I scratch, and some hives, it is not nearly as bad, and I can scratch an itch now without my skin reacting so violently to it. I can shower and towel off normally without the discomfort. I don't understand how taking just one Claritin could have made such a difference, but so far it has. Winter and drier air will eventually arrive, and I'll just have to see what happens. But there's great relief in finally knowing that there's a name for this, and that there's an effective remedy for the discomfort.
By the way: the dermatologist didn't say what caused it, but it's interesting that this began around late October, after I had been on a pretty strong antibiotic earlier in the month for a bacterial throat infection that didn't respond to milder medication.