Aquagenic Pruritus (itching after bath): causes, treatment

Aquagenic Pruritus

A lot of persons have this condition where they itch after a bathe. This condition where you itch after a bath is known as “Aquagenic Pruritus”. The itching may begin immediately after a bath and can last anytime from minutes to an hour or more.

It is important for you to know that Aquagenic Pruritus is a very common condition, and that you are not alone, so you should not feel weird or think its something out of the ordinary. It happens to both male & females, whites & blacks, young & old, rich & poor, so you should not feel strange about it.

Table of contents

What is Aquagenic Pruritus

Aquagenic Pruritus is a rare medical condition characterized by mild-severe itching after contact with water at any temperature. The symptoms of the disease (itching) may begin immediately after contact with water and can last for an hour or more.

Know that this is different from a similar condition known as Aquagenic Urticaria, where itching also occurs with skin discolorations or rashes.

Causes of Aquagenic Pruritus

The exact cause is not known yet, but there have been suggestions of what could lead to it such as;

Genetics/Hereditary: There have been cases where it is inherited or shows in families. In this situation, more than one person in that family have the condition.

Medical conditions: there are other medical conditions that can lead to this. An example is a condition known as Polycythemia vera, which is a condition where your body makes too many red blood cells. Hepatitis C can also cause the disease as well as other less common conditions.

Medication: some drugs like

  • bupropion (prescribed for smoking cessation)
  • clomipramine (an antidepressant) and
  • chloroquine (antimalarial drug) can cause the condition as well.

Symptoms of Aquagenic Pruritus

A person having this condition would experience;

  • intense itching after a bath which can be mild or intense
  • usually no rash or changes on the skin during the itch.
  • other sensations could be burning, stinging, or prickling, that consistently develops after contact with water.
  • the reactions usually starts within minutes of pouring water on your body and can last between 10 minutes to 2 hours.
  • The legs are usually affected the most, followed by the arms, chest, back, and abdomen.
  • Very rarely, it affects the face.
Aquagenic Pruritus, itch after bathe
Itch after bathe is a very common occurrence. Image Credits: Helou Clinic

Treatment for Aquagenic Pruritus

There is no exact treatment for Aquagenic Pruritus that has been approved, due to the fact that the main cause of the disease has not yet been understood.

However, there are a few suggestions of things that you can do to help with this condition. They include:

  1. Change the temperature of the water
  2. Don’t Use sponge
  3. Use baby oil
  4. Don’t use antiseptics
  5. Use baking soda
  6. Delay Cleaning your body
  7. Medication
  8. Drink Enough Water
  9. Avoid Food Allergy
  10. Vit D might Help

Change the Temperature of the water

A lot of persons have gotten relief from this condition by switching the temperature of the water they use in bathing. You can also try this out. If you usually use cold water, you should try using boiled/warm water. Whereas, if you do use boiled water, then you should try a cold water bathe and see if you get any improvement.

Don’t Use Sponge

As funny as it sounds, this has provided solutions to the itch after bathe that most person go through. Simply bathing with just water with or without soap can do the magic. If changing the temperature of the water does not do it for you, try bathing without sponge for three days and see if any changes occur. You should do it both with and without soap (maybe in the morning and evening) and see the effect. This might just be all you need.

Use baby oil

For some people, simply adding some drops of baby oil to their bathing water was enough to stop the itch after bathe they experience. You can also rub the baby oil on your skin either before or after bathing.
You can try this out and see if it works for you.

Dont Use Antiseptics

If you are adding any antiseptic to your bath water, I’d suggest you suspend it for some time and bathe without it, to see if you get any relief. Your body might be reacting to the antiseptic and this might just be all you need.

Add baking powder

If none of the above has worked so far, you can try adding a little baking powder to your bathing water, and see if you get any relief from the itching after bathe.

Delay Cleaning your body

This is a solution that has worked for a number of persons. If you experience this itch after bathe, and all the other suggestions haven’t worked for you, I would ask you to try not cleaning your body for about 15 minutes after bathe and see if you itch. If you don’t itch, then the problem might be from your towel.

Medications

If the itching still persists despite all the above attempts, it is possible that the itch might be due to a medical condition, hence, You should see a doctor for more assessment & to get medications that can help you with it. There are some “anti itching” drugs that can help.

Drink Enough Water

A number of persons have obtained relief when they drink enough water, pointing to the fact that the condition could also be caused by dehydration. You can try this too.

Avoid Food Allergy

For some people, a strict avoidance of the food substances that you are allergic to (such as: wheat, gluten, dairy (milk), refined sugar, etc was enough to do the magic. You would have to try this out for up to a month before you see any real results or conclude that it does not work out for you.

Vit D Tablets may Help

Some other persons with this condition stopped having the itch after bathe whenever they go out for a good amount of time in the morning sun. The early morning sun (7-9am) helps the body in the production of vitamin D. Taking Vit D supplements did the magic for these people. You should see your doctor for the necessary prescription.

Feel free to ask any questions you might have below, and I’d do well to get back to you on it.

Authors

  • Dr. Egemba Nonso Bobby popularly known as Aproko Doctor on social media. DR. Egemba holds an MBBS degree from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. Founder of @DHealthyThreads, an Actor and a loving Husband. You can follow Dr. Egemba on: @Aproko_Doctor

  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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