I scratch myself so much that I end up with bruises

itchy body

Itching all over the body can be caused by many illnesses.

Photo credit: Fotosearch

What you need to know:

  • Considering the areas where the itch is worst, it is likely that it is due to sweating.
  • It is also more likely to happen if you are overweight.
  • It is also more likely if you wear tight or ill-fitting clothes, if you wear rough fabrics or after shaving/hair removal.

Dr Flo,
My body is itchy, especially the armpits, stomach and area around my private parts. I scratch so much that I end up with bruises in those areas. What could be wrong?
Vin

Dear Vin,
Itching all over the body can be caused by many illnesses. These include allergies, inflammatory skin conditions, skin infections, helminth infection (worms), diabetes, thyroid disease, liver disease, kidney disease, nerve disease, iron deficiency anaemia, HIV infection and some types of cancer. It can also occur as a reaction to medication, dryness of the skin or even due to aging.

Considering the areas where the itch is worst, it is likely that it is due to sweating. It is also more likely to happen if you are overweight, if you wear tight or ill-fitting clothes, if you wear rough fabrics or after shaving/hair removal.
To treat the itching, the underlying cause has to be identified and treated.
Meanwhile, avoid scratching yourself as much as possible. You can place a cool cloth or ice over the area that is itching the most for a few minutes to relieve the itch. Use sunscreen when you are going out into the sun. Use mild soap and warm water to bathe, and not hot water. Use moisturising creams/lotion after taking a shower. Avoid clothes and beddings made from material that can trigger itching like wool and some synthetic fabrics. Instead, opt for cotton clothing and beddings, wear breathable fabric and loose underclothes and pants, keep yourself well hydrated, maintain a healthy weight, and consider applying anti-perspirant to your armpits. Some ointments can reduce the itching on the abdomen such as antihistamine or hydrocortisone. If the symptoms persist, please visit a dermatologist for review.
 

Dr Flo,
I have premature ejaculation; I cannot even last one minute.
B H


Dear B H,
The normal male sexual response cycle involves desire, arousal, plateau, ejaculation, and resolution. The average time from beginning of intercourse to ejaculation is five minutes. If ejaculation happens sooner than you or your partner would like, it is called premature ejaculation. If it happens once in a while, then it is not a cause of concern. If it is frequent and is causing frustration, then it needs to be addressed.

It can occur due to psychological and physical factors. Psychological issues include traumatic early sexual experiences, worry about sexual performance, anxiety, depression, guilt, poor self-image or relationship problems. Physical factors include abnormal levels of hormones or brain messengers (neurotransmitters), or inflammation of the urethra or the prostate.
To manage it, any psychological issues need to be addressed, if necessary, by visiting a mental health professional. You also need to have a supportive partner. Medication can be prescribed and topical creams can be used that have a numbing agent.
Other ways of managing it include:
Avoiding sexual intercourse for some time and focusing on other forms of touch to reduce the pressure to perform
Strengthen the pelvic muscles using kegel’s exercises – tighten the muscles that you would use to stop urine flow. Contract these muscles 10 times and repeat at least three times a day.
Stop-start technique – during intercourse, when you feel the urge to ejaculate, stop all activity until the urge passes, then start again. By repeating as necessary and some practice, holding off ejaculation can become a habit.
Pause and squeeze technique – during intercourse, when you are about to ejaculate, have your partner squeeze the penis where the head joins the shaft for several seconds, until the urge passes, then continue.
Use a condom to reduce sensitivity.
 

Dr Flo,
I have been having lower back pain for quite some time now. Sometimes it is after I have done a little work, but other times there is no cause. I am only 23 years old and I have been told it is not normal. Kindly help me.
Bob


Dear Bob,
Back pain is a common problem because the back supports our posture and movement and is easily injured, regardless of age. When there is lower back pain, it could be from a problem with any of the structures that make up the back including the vertebrae, discs, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and even the skin. Problems with abdominal and pelvic organs such as kidney problems and urinary tract infections can also contribute to back pain. Back pain can develop from poor posture, straining the muscles and ligaments, from arthritis, bone disease or disc disease.

Most times, back pain goes away on its own. You can also use painkillers. Other measures include maintaining a healthy weight, diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, cessation of smoking, regular light exercise, building strength in your back and abdominal muscles, standing straight, sitting up straight with low back support, your knees and hips level and your feet flat; your keyboard should be level with your elbows and do not lean your neck forward; using a mattress that keeps your spine straight; avoiding heavy things; lifting things with your back straight and your knees bent, holding the load close to your body and standing straight up, without twisting your back and getting assistance when necessary.
Since you have had the back pain for quite some time, you should be reviewed by a doctor.


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