What Is Morgellons Disease?

Medical Author: Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD
Medical Editors: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, and William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Morgellons disease is a little-known disorder that is often associated with nonspecific skin, nerve, and psychiatric symptoms. Some refer to it as a fiber disease. People with this disorder seem to be more likely to develop low thyroid functioning (hypothyroidism). Caucasian females from about 35 to 50 years old tend to develop this uncommon condition more than other groups, and Texas and California seem to have a higher incidence of this condition than other U.S. states.

Signs and symptoms of Morgellons disease

People with Morgellons disease often complain of skin itching, burning, or feeling like there is something crawling under their skin. They also often report that they have what look like threads, hair, or fuzz coming out of lesions on their skin. Some practitioners have observed the fibers coming out of the skin of Morgellons disease sufferers, leaving what pictures indicate are disfiguring lesions behind. For these reasons, Morgellons disease is sometimes referred to as skin crawling disease. The individual with this problem may feel that they have skin mites, springtails (collembola), or scabies that cause the skin sensation. Other symptoms that are sometimes associated with this condition include depression, chronic fatigue, tobacco use, and difficulty thinking clearly.