Do you Itch? What is it a symptom of?

I just Googled “itch and diabetes” and found it to be a symptom of diabetes listed on many pages.

I have been having EXTREME itchyness (sp?) on my forearms. So bad that I often scratch until it bleeds. Drives me crazy really. I notice it mostly about half an hour after my insulin shot … but it is also after I have eaten coincidentally.

Is this a symptom of elevated blood sugar level or of the insulin that I am injecting?

Has anyone else experienced this?


i’m ALWAYS itchy! but nothing as bad as when my bile duct got obstructed then i was fiendishly scratching. i think i’m just basically itchy. try some neutrogena body lotion as it takes care of the general itch. are you having hives along with the itch?

No hives … just a deep, under the skin itch that is never satisfied with scratching … and just on the top of my forearms to boot.

I also get bad itching spells. I just attribute it to high sugar levels. The itching appears to be yeast infections and I do know, from baking breads, that yeast loves sugar, hence the itchy rash. It helps me to use and anti-fungal cream.

That sounds logical … I may try that. Thanks!

Thanks for the reply Leslieann. I am actually injecting in my stomach area. I haven’t had any problems in that area at all. I do plan on bringing it up on my next visit. Hydrocortisone is helping somewhat, not completely though.

For the last few years I have been having this same problem and I so know how you feel. I went to my endo, internist, and a dermatologist and tried many lotions and potions. :wink: Nothing really helped. The thing that worked the best to help it was an over the counter cream of Cortaid anti-itch lotion. It seems to get better in the summer. I do feel it is diabetic related.

As with most skin issues, do not take hot long baths or showers. Use non scented soaps. Put lotion all over your skin but make sure it is for sensitive skin.

Keep us posted and let us know if you find something that works. This winter I am not as bad off, but last winter I suffered bigtime, kind of like what you are doing now.

Hope things improve.


Really … is it localized itching … like on the top of your fore arms?


When it was really bad it was all over, and some areas had a rash but my legs and arms did not. It was overwhelming to me. I had a raised rash all over my neck, lovely. It finally left me, and I think the Cortaid helped the most, but I was given many steroid creams and this odd steroid tape from one dermatologist, that might of helped a little. I finally went to another dermatologist for a second opinion and then it was summer, and of course it was all cleared up by then with the help of the cortaid cream. She told me to come back when it flared up again and she was going to do a biopsy, so that she could give me something that would treat the known, instead of just trying different things.

So the answer to your question, :wink: I did have localized rashes, but the itching with no rash was of all over, but arms and legs were intense.

Right now I developed itching at my hairline at my neck and too busy to see MD. :slight_smile: but the all over itching has not returned.

Another thing you could try is to wash your body with Selsen Blue as it treats seborrheic dermatitis, but really you need to test your bgs more and get an updated A1C to see how your bgs are running, because constant elevated bgs can cause all of this.

Is it possible that you got too much sun. Some meds make you more susceptible to sunburn. Even on cloudy days, the UV can give you a sunburn.

Possible I suppose … but it has been going on for months.

At this point, I am really thinking it is a high blood glucose levels and the action of the insulin processing that glucose that is creating the itch - for whatever reason.

Hey Greg, It sounds like what i had. On my legs and arms. Do they some times look like pimples or blister like? You might wanna see about any signs of gallbladder. That happen to go away after i had mine out. But i still get really itchy on my feet around early dec untill it warms up. I see a poditraist for elilidel its the only thing that really helps. Well good luck. take care melissa

Hey Greg,

Maybe we should create an itching group on TU, as mine has really flared up this year again, grrrr.

omg i am having a horrible time with itching. My legs are so torn up, I can’t wear skirts without tights or boots anymore. I scratch them at night and don’t even realize it. My husband asks me if I have fleas! Im so upset with this. People say it is because of the cool weather, but I had this problem before it got cool. I have used medicated lotions, regular lotions, and cortisone. doesn’t matter, I still itch. It isn’t any better with my sugar lower now. Im just so tired of being so itchy. So I can feel your pain, and hope there is some type of cure soon!

Check out “pityriasis alba.” I have itchy forearms and itchy white patches on my upper arms. It gets worse when my system gets more sensitive due to allergies, and when the air is dry. The dermatologist prescribed hydrocortisone cream. Using the cream seems to be spiking my blood sugar dramatically - have you had this experience? I’ll try it a few more times to be sure that the cream is the culprit but it’s not going very well so far.

I had that too, especially when my blood sugars were elevated. In fact, itchiness is for me a sign that I need to work a little harder to get them down. I think dry skin exacerbates it, as does contact with wool. It used to be so bad it would wake me up at night and I’d scratch until I’d bleed. For the short-term, topical Benadryl ointment is wonderful, and oral Benadryl worked too. (You’re never supposed to use them at the same time though). Regular creams helped get rid of the dryness, but sugar control helped in the long term.

my son itches all the time, even before diagnosis 2 years ago! we saw our diabetes team the other day and the doc said he had a staph infection on his belly and buttocks (where he has been scratching the most lately.) he gave us some anti-fungal cream - fucidin- and the itching has stopped completely. the funny thing is they told us not to put his infusion sites on his butt because of possible cross contamination from wiping (if you get my meaning) but the itchy spots on his bum are nowhere NEAR any past infusion sites! they are on his tailbone, obviously not a place we could ever put a site. go figure!

Sam (he’s five) also has a raised bumpy rash on his upper arms, upper thighs and cheeks - facial cheeks that is! he’s had this since birth, they called it keratosis pilaris, and his non- diabetic father has always had it too. Looks like this kid will always be itchy :frowning:

i’ve been itchy for years, and i just got something new that came out from Neutrogena that is AAAAMAZING! it’s called Comforting creams and body wash. i’m soft with no itching for the first time that i can remember!

I have to say that my son was really itchy before being diagnosed with celiac. Now he isn’t after going gluten free. Could be coincidence. Are you type 1? If yes, you should be tested for celiac anyway.

I’ve been a type 1 diabetic for 37 years. Here’s my history on this specific problem:

When I was young, and few years after being diagnosed with Type 1, I experienced extreme lower leg itching. Brought me to tears and fits of frustration. I’m a strong soul, so that’s saying a lot. We tried every remedy available at the time, but nothing helped much at all. My doctor finally gave an opinion that I was experiencing the early stages of nerve problems. I did find a few articles on this later in life stating that the itching will eventually go away. However, it goes away because the nerves affected have died. Not good.

I’m not sure if this is the correct diagnosis of the itching problem, but it does make sense. And 30 years ago, Type 1 was not controlled nearly as well as it is today. My itching finally did get much less, from what I believe was better control and keeping my A1C scores much lower. Hopefully it wasn’t due to nerve damage. I don’t see any other symptoms of nerve problems, so I keep my fingers crossed…

As I’ve become older though, the itching sometimes has returned. It’s become harder to control my diabetes as I age, so my A1C scores have been a bit higher than in the past. Not sure if that has anything to do with it though, but it does make sense that it might. Fortunately the itching is not quite as severe as it was in the past. Any itching is not very fun. Last night I woke with a slight itching to one of my forearms. A bit of Aveeno helped it go away, but as fast as I would have liked. Lost more than an hour of sleep, which stinks!

From all this, I can recommend any of the good creams recommended here and/or by your doctor, and highly recommend tight control.