Itching during exercises and causes

 

The most recent theory of the cause of itchiness during exercise is related to the bodies release of  histamine during exercise, which is a known vasodilator, that is, it causes the blood vessels to dilate or open up. In some people, this expansion of blood vessels may be felt as an itchy irritation by the nervous system. The science of the histamine response is still growing and researchers continue to try to understand exactly how it works. Athletes get some symptom relief from taking an antihistamine before exercise to prevent this response. If you’re just starting to exercise regularly or have changed your level of activity, you may have less itching as you settle into a new routine. Unless the itching is severe, you may wait it out a week or so to see if there are changes during exercise.

Both physical friction and heat can stimulate mast cells in our skin to release histamine, which is the same inflammatory factor that causes the symptoms of seasonal allergies, such as runny nose and itching rash,” says Zhu. A good experiment to see if this is the problem would be to try working out in loose-fitting clothes to see if you go symptom-free.

In the second scenario, there may be chemicals left from manufacturing on new, unwashed clothing, or from softener residue on the fabric after washing. You could also be reacting to some fabric materials used to make the stretchy exercise clothing, which some people are allergic to.  “Allergic reaction does not develop all of a sudden,” says Zhu. “There is often an insidious onset, which means that your body gets sensitive over time by being exposed to the allergen.” Wash new clothes before wearing with mild detergent and no fabric softener. Notice if you react when wearing only one or a few pairs of pants and compare fiber contents to see if there is a common culprit. You may also find 100-percent cotton fabric more comfortable, itch-wise, than ones made with synthetics like polyester, Spandex, or Lycra.

Barring any mildew or mold growth on your neglected workout clothes, it’s likely the itch is related to an exercise-induced histamine response.

Histamine is a substance found in the body that’s most commonly associated with allergic reactions, itching, and inflammation. But researchers are just beginning to understand that histamine also plays a role in exercise.

Previously, a popular theory on exercise-induced itchiness had to do with blood vessel expansion, or vasodilation. The body expands blood vessels during exercise to help bring more oxygen and nutrients to working muscles, and to eliminate carbon dioxide and waste products. The idea is when blood vessels expand after a period of relative inactivity, the surrounding nerves, unused to the phenomenon, mistakenly register the expansion as itchiness.

The problem with that theory: “I’ve read no studies that support that,” says Stanford exercise physiologist Dr. Anne Friedlander.

However, new research suggests that vasodilation may, indeed, have something to do with the itch. Histamine is a known vasodilator; it increases blood flow to injured or infected tissues to help the immune system get at the problem area. And one Japanese study showed that histamine may be released during exercise to help protect the body against exercise-induced fatigue or exhaustion.

Unfortunately, histamine also sends itch signals to the brain, which means an increase histamine production in your body could induce general feelings of itchiness, which seems to be what you’re experiencing. (For more on how histamine induces itch, check out this study.)

One simple way to test this hypothesis: try taking an antihistamine before working out to see if the itch stops.

On a positive note, your own anecdotal evidence suggests the more regularly you exercise, the less sensitive you’ll be to the histamine response. So keep it up to keep the itch away.

Most people who exercise will find their skin becoming warm and will routinely sweat when the body heat becomes too much to contain. And once sweating starts, the body will begin to cool. Some people experience a type of skin irritation as they begin to heat up and this turns into the sensation of itching and burning during exercise. While this is unpleasant and annoying, it is generally nothing to worry about and can be treated with a few simple precautions.

There are a few exceptions to look out for to make sure your itching is not related to a more serious condition, but the majority of cases of itching during exercise are benign.

Three Most Common Reasons for Itching During Exercise

Dry skin, dry weather and low humidity are the most common reasons you may have itching while exercising. Dry, cold winter air is responsible for most of this seasonal skin irritation. This is also the easiest irritation to treat, by using a good moisturizer before exercising. And maintaining regular skin moisturizing daily.

Allergies and Itching During Exercise

Another common cause of itching is an allergic reaction to a new or different soap, lotion or detergent. If you have itching after trying a new product, simply change products to see if that solves the problem. Use a chart for personal products and try switching one at a time to pinpoint what may be causing the irritation.

If you’ve gradually changed each of your personal products and you’re still experiencing itching, the itching issue may be internal.

Similarly, in some people the itching come with hives, or urticaria, an allergic reaction that causes the release of histamines that dilate blood vessels and result in swelling and skin irritation.

Urticaria is recognized by red, itchy welts or hives on the chest. Urticaria can be triggered by sweating or extreme temperatures. Exercising in a cooler, dryer climate, or lowering your exercise intensity may reduce symptoms.

The most recent theory of the cause of itchiness during exercise is related to the bodies release of histamine during exercise, which is a known vasodilator, that is, it causes the blood vessels to dilate or open up. In some people, this expansion of blood vessels may be felt as an itchy irritation by the nervous system. The science of the histamine response is still growing and researchers continue to try to understand exactly how it works. Athletes get some symptom relief from taking an antihistamine before exercise to prevent this response. If you’re just starting to exercise regularly or have changed your level of activity, you may have less itching as you settle into a new routine. Unless the itching is severe, you may wait it out a week or so to see if there are changes during exercise.

Itching During Exercise and Causes for Concern

Other causes of exercise itching can include reactions between exercises, some food allergies or certain medications.

Antibiotics, some pain medications, and diuretics all have been known to cause itching during exercise for some people. If you experience this, tell your doctor or pharmacist about your symptoms and what medication you are taking. Sometimes they will recommend a cream or an over-the-counter anti-histamine before exercise.

Serious Symptoms to Look For

In rare cases, some people have developed exercise-induced anaphylaxis, which can be serious. If you experience serious symptoms such as hives, paired with severe itching that intensifies and leads to shortness of breath, and low blood pressure get help immediately.

This is a serious reaction and if not treated can lead to shock. If you have such symptoms, it is important to tell your doctor before exercising. Symptoms are often treated with antihistamines.

The capillaries stay open to allow for maximum blood passage when you’re fit, but if you’re out of shape, your capillaries tend to collapse, not allowing as much blood to pass through. When your capillaries expand, the surrounding nerves become stimulated and send messages to the brain, which reads the sensation as itching. Unfortunately, your itchy legs are the price paid for falling off the exercise wagon. So if you want to prevent itchy legs, keep up with your regular exercise routine.

Just like a red face during exercise, itchy legs are no cause for alarm, that is unless the itch is accompanied by hives. Exercise-induced urticaria is in a sense an allergy to exercise, and if you’re also experiencing stomach cramps, swelling of the face or tongue, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.

Try eating a tiny bit of high alkaline food just before, well maybe an hour… thus raising your ph a bit. We tend to be acidic and it is stored in our fat cells. As they are not at their peak performance for health under 7.3 ph this is recommended. Watermelon, Cucumber , Kale, Kelp, Spinache, Parsley, Broccoli, green drinks( such as wheat grass), or sprouts (soy, alfalfa, brocolli, mung beans). Having an acidic body is also a breading ground for cancer. Take care of your hydration. Adding lemon to water raises ph.

 

 

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