Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Some cases of itching will respond to corticosteroid medications.
It is best to avoid scratching when possible to avoid worsening of the condition and disruption of the skin that could lead to bacterial infection.
If itching persists with time or worsens, or is associated with skin lesions, consulting a health care professional is advisable.
What is an itch?
Itch is an irritation in the skin that elicits an urge to scratch. Itches are a problem that everyone experiences and can be localized (limited to one area of the body) or generalized (occurring all over the body or in several different areas). Sometimes, itching may be worse at night. In medical terminology, itching is known as pruritus.
Generalized itch is often more difficult to treat than localized itch. Itches can also occur with or without skin lesions (bumps, blisters,
rash, or abnormalities that can be seen on the skin). An itch that is accompanied by
a visible skin abnormality usually should be evaluated by a physician and, in some cases, by a dermatologist since the problem is likely to be a condition that requires specialized medical treatment (for example, eczema, scabies, etc.).
Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on 6/27/2013
Q: Before my wedding, before job interviews, and anytime I have a bit of stress, my arms, wrists, and hands break out in an itchy rash. Can stress cause a rash? How do I prevent this from occurring, and how do I treat it?
A: Stress is one of the known triggers of hives, an outbreak of raised, red spots (or welts) on the skin that often itch.