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Old talk[edit]


Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make whatever changes you feel are needed. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in! (Although there are some reasons why you might like to…) The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. JFW | T@lk 20:47, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Q: Nerve damage can cause itching, right?[edit]

I believe (based on my experience) that nerve damage, such as spinal cord injury, can cause itching, but I don't know the first thing about it, and the spinal cord injury article doesn't mention it. Is that generally the case? Does anyone know enough to add some information about nerve-based itching? Thanks. -- Creidieki 4 July 2005 18:29 (UTC)

I have been reading the pages on itching, allergies, vomitting & diahrrea and cannot find anything connecting them. The reason I am searching is that I have had three episodes that began with severe itching of the palms, then the soles of the feet, within a minute of the start of the itching-dizziness and violent bouts of vomitting & diahrrea. The first episode was the most severe and included loosing consciousness, extended abdominal cramping and a trip to the emergency room. No doctors have been able to tell me what it was. I have learned more here than anywhere else on other issues so I'm hoping someone has heard of this. Thanks

I would say it looks like the body needing calibration due to altered nerving. My advise is then to touch or scratch lightly on the place of itching so that the body can recalibrate. When recalibration is done the itching should disappear. I also wish someone to try this claim scientifically. Davidjonsson (talk) 18:15, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Risk Factors source[edit]

The Risk Factors section comes entirely from the NCI page here. Their site policy says: "This material is in the public domain and is not subject to copyright restrictions. Therefore, no special permission is required to use it or reproduce it. However, any reproduced material should contain proper acknowledgement of NCI as the originator and the NCI Web site,, as the source".

I'm not sure how such a proviso squares with Wikipedia policy, which assumes no restrictions or authorship conditions. Tearlach 18:38, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Just mention the URL as a source. JFW | T@lk 22:55, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Cancer Overemphasized[edit]

"It can occur in people who have cancer or in those who have received cancer treatment."

  • It can occur in people who are obese or those who are on a diet.
  • It can occur in people with diabetes and people without diabetes.

Seriously, that sentence about cancer should be removed, unless other causes of itch are given proportional attention. The statement about "Pruritis can be related to anything from dry skin to undiagnosed cancer" should be the last thing said about cancer in an introductory summary. Detailed information about cancer's relation to itch should come later.

You are correct - I removed a lot of cancer stuff that was clearly over the top. Most people with itch do not have cancer; they should use less soap and use a neutral deodorant though. JFW | T@lk 00:11, 2 October 2005 (UTC)

Disambiguation Page[edit]

I think there should be a disambiguation page for this and Radiohead's Itch. Cryptic C62 13:24, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Done! -- Rmrfstar 23:19, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Help This Article![edit]

Wow, I am suprised to see how little there is about such a universal physiological function. Somebody out there with a good amount of knowledge of biological/health/physiological information needs to add lots of important information to this article. I don't have the capablitiy to write about these things, but I feel they are important. For instant, what about the strange interection between itching and scratching? Why does an itch provoke a scratch? How can this be explained scientificly? And also, why do certian drugs like narcotics (opiates) cause intense itching sensations? Something to do with histamine. there are many more unexplained questions regarding itching, please, lets try to answer them!Icculusioso 10:44, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Purpose of Itching[edit]

I would like to see something added to this article about the purpose of itching (and the desire to scratch) from an evolutionary context. Any reflex as strong and widespread as the itch-scratch reflex has to have some sort of strong selection pressure causing it to be so dominant. In our society we are often taught "not to scratch" but isn't there a greater purpose for itching, in the wild? For example, to dislodge thorns or parasites? This is just speculation though...I think this article would be greatly improved by looking up and citing some scientific articles that address this question. Cazort (talk · contribs)

How about you Google for it and enlighten us? Given that itch and pain share roughly the same neural pathways it may be a warning sign that, like pain, may be misinterpreted. JFW | T@lk 11:58, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
The article does now mention it. -- Beland 00:16, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Itching powder[edit]

How does itching powder actually work? JFW | T@lk 07:01, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Leyperson speculation[edit]

I was wondering about itching... I understand that the natural state of the nerves is to generate pain impulses and that this is naturally regulated so that we don't feel it. If we were to become heroin dependant so this regulation was taken over chemically we would suffer excrutiating pain on withdrawal until the natural regulation re-tuned. Can it be that itching is really a very minor pain reflex, and that scratching, which would naturally be pain inducing, just stimulates the pain regulation technique? This would explain how "Tiger balm" type treatments work, they give the IMPRESSION of heat and generate a real response. As someone who as a child suffered from very painful eczema I strongly remember putting a very hot hot-water-bottle on the affected area and gaining great relief. I often pinch painful itches even now, do others?. Contra thought, is "cold turkey" skin pain? I guess not.Geoff Clout 10:07, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

As far as my research went, it was a theory before (in the 90s and before that) that itch might be stimulated via the same nerves as the ones with pain receptors. However in an experiment by Martin Schmelz et al (1997) it was suggested that there are actually distinct C-fibres (affarent nerve fibres) that cause the sensation of itchiness (through a rather complcated and not well understood pathway). Apparently nerves from the pain pathway can inhibit itch though, therefore scratching helps to combat itch.


Since there is no article on Wikipedia about scratching, perhaps this should be renamed 'Itching and scratching'. Both subjects seem equally important, though it could also be simply be left as 'Itch' but expanded slightly to deal with scratching. Richard001 02:35, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree with this person. There is a section on both scratch & scratching, but both are about the DJ style of vinyl record manipulation. There needs to be a part om this page about how scratching an itch relives, or stops the itch, & my question as to why scratching an itch can feel so dam good some times. Sept. 02 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:09, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

What makes itching stop?[edit]

Histamine makes you (or a dog?) itch. Which makes you scratch. But then, what makes the itching stop? What makes the scratching stop?- 23:38, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Poor hygiene[edit]

Is poor hygiene (being covered in sweat, dirt, etc.) also a potential cause for itchiness? -- Beland 00:16, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

"pathway" several times[edit]

Itch#Mechanism says "pathway" several times. Please combine the sentences. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jidanni (talkcontribs) 03:48, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Is the difference between pruritis and pruritus, itching and the cause of the itching?[edit]

Is the difference between pruritis and pruritus, itching and the cause (sensation of discomfort in skin) of the itching? Or is that being too simple? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:07, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

where is the line drawn?[edit]

"Surgical removal of those skin layers removed the ability for a patient to perceive itch.[citation needed] Itch is never felt in muscle, joints, or inner organs, which show that deep tissue does not contain itch signaling apparatuses"

i have been for nearly 6 months now experiencing what i call joint itch. in my left shoulder, which travels down to the elbow and in my lower back, which travels down the left leg to the knee...this causes severe restless leg (and arm) and causes me many sleepless nights. is it pain or is it itching or is it both? if it is itching, then the muscle CAN feel an itch. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:26, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

"if it is itching, then the muscle CAN feel an itch." It may be a psychological thing rather than physical, like when amputees experience an itch where their limb used to be. meinsla talk 07:06, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Indirect language..?[edit]

I'm not sure if this is something that should be changed or anything, but I found the language in this page strange. I have never in my life heard an itch referred to as an article-less object; e.g. "itch" used in the same way as "pain", "nausea", etc -- one doesn't say "I have a nausea!". But at the same time, nobody ever says, "I have itch." It's always, "I have an itch."

Now, certain types of itches don't need articles; such as jock itch, joint itch, etc. But "itch", as itself, undefined as a specific subcategory of itchiness, sounds very strange to me. Is this simply a regional thing, where assigning it an article is limited to my area, or has anyone else ever actually heard someone say "I have itch"? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:50, 3 June 2009 (UTC)


The description of itching as an inherently unpleasant sensation seems a little dubious to me. Sure, it is considered unpleasant far more often than not... but its not always the case is it? Just as an example... itching induced by opiates can be a pleasant sensation for some. I have no reference as far as this subject is concerned but wanted to know if anyone had any thoughts on the issue. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:13, 17 October 2010 (UTC)

Itching increases based on ability to stop itch?[edit]

This is going to be poorly worded. But ive noticed that among my social groups that the people who seem to itch the most are those most incapable of relieving an itch. Whereas people who can relieve one no matter its manifestation point tend to not get itchy nearly that often. Me, in this case: i can touch and scratch anywhere on me quite easy due to flexibility, and ive never had itching be more than a minor, easily ignorable thing. I dont even scratch, just passing a hand over it will do the same job. The only time its a problem for me is when a wound is healing and i absolutely cannot touch it..because im going to touch it anyway. (talk) 13:57, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Oh, nearly forgot to mention. Does scratching an itch increase itchyness? I think it does but im not sure why. I guess I imagine that by scratching, you destroy skin layers, which results in greater itchyness due to the healing process. Any merit in this or is it just a shot in the dark? (talk) 13:58, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Both really interesting points. I know little about itch, but I've been reading about pain. They're both homeostatic emotions. The mildest stimulus intensity that evokes pain varies from person to person. One person may have a higher pain threshold than another. It sounds like thresholds vary in itch, too. I've only glanced at the article but didn't see anything about thresholds there. I'd be surprised and disappointed to find there hasn't been some work done on itch threshold.
In pain, stimulating the mechanoreceptors in the area affected by pain reduces the intensity of pain - hence we rub a smack. I guess the same thing is happening with itch. The higher your itch threshold, the less mechanoreceptor stimulation (scratching) will be required to quench the itch. This is speculation.
With regard to your second point I noticed this in the article

Sometimes scratching relieves isolated itches, hence the existence of devices such as the back scratcher. Often, however, scratching can intensify itching and even cause further damage to the skin, dubbed the "itch-scratch-itch cycle."

but it doesn't cite a source. Anthony (talk) 14:52, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Itch not felt in muscles?[edit]

A citation is not needed for this: it is simply incorrect. People feel a sensation that they describe as an itch inside muscles. I have it right now in both my thighs (quadriceps). Whether it is in the muscle, or fascia between them, I don't know, but it is deep beneath the skin. (talk) 18:27, 27 September 2012 (UTC)

Names of researchers[edit]

--from the MEDMOS. Lesion (talk) 14:06, 13 March 2014 (UTC)


I think this article could benefit from a reference to tests that check for the causal variable of the itch, such as skin prick tests and patch tests.--Epeefleche (talk) 01:05, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Love the photo![edit]

I think I know that guy. Barbara (WVS)   20:25, 30 March 2017 (UTC)