Though I am proceeding with caution, I think I may have Fibromyalgia. I am 29 and have been suffering with mysterious flare ups of conditions for several years now. Most distressing in skin sensitivities. My first flare-up occurred around the time I was to give birth to my children, and I thought I had lice or something. IN fact the dictor I went to suspected I had scabies and put me on medication for it. The fact that the cream which is supposed to obliterate the litle varmints did not cure me should have been the first indication that I was misdiagnosed. The second was that (as I read later on) scabies leave teltale straight lines in your skin, indicating the areas where the scabies burrowed, and I had none of that. Nevertheless I went through about five treatments before the itching clamed down -- which didn't happen until shortly after I gave birth. But in the meantime, I could not stop itching. The soft areas around my elbow joints and my knees were the worst, as well as my thighs. Especially on my thighs it felt like my very muscles, my bones, were itching. That flare up eventually calmed down but ever since, I have not had normal skin (where I used to have beautiful, smooth skin -- now even when I don't have a flare-up, it is rougher somehow, goose-pimpled). I have had intermittent flare ups of the condition that lasts for months to a year at a time. My worst was about five years ago when I scratched my legs raw before I got help. The more I tore my skin up the worse the itching. I was a mess. I am still trying to recover from the scars, which were resistant to healing, and it was only last year that I was able to wear shorts again, although even then I was still pretty paranoid about how my legs looked. Anyhow, during that flare-up the itching was concentrated in the palms of my hands, arms, feet, armpits, and the areas of my shins that my socks compress -- the areas of compression on my legs were the ABSOLUTE worst, which is why it was where I did the worst damage. I eventually recovered from that, with the help of some strong steroid cream until the worst of the itching passed, but I have had recurring times of sensitivity, although after that awful experience of ruining my legs and feet, I have been careful to keep from roughly scratching if I can help it. The last bout before this one was last year, during the beginning of Fall as it was starting to get cold. It lasted for about three months. Then one day I woke up and I knew it had passed -- I just wasn't itching as bad anymore. Usually during remission times, I should note that I am not altogether free from the condition, but I can at least tend to keep it at bay as long as I wear clothes and keep my skin from being irritated by rough fabrics, etc. Wearing clothes -- that's a big thing. My husband gets upset because I never like to sleep without clothes, but I just can't I itch too badly without clothes! Anyhow, since I'd started to think the changes in season between Fall and Winter may have something to do with my condition, this year Fall started and I thought I would be okay, but then it hit me again sometime around X-mas, when I was recovering from an awful cough. About a week after that illness, for which I took antibiotics, I started up with the itching again. I was dismayed; between last year and this, I had begun to suspect that maybe I suffer from allergies, and so I thought that maybe something in my mother-in-law's house (that's where we were staying) was causing me to react. The itching this time is all over, but concentrated in my entire trunk area, shoulders, arms, neck, bum, and lower back. It is particularly bad anywhere where I have the most contact with clothing, such as the areas where my bra sits (both around my ribs and on my shoulders). For a while before I caught myself, I was starting to leave scars on my neck and back. I few weeks later I still have a couple scars but I am happy to say I have been scarring myself less. I have been treating myself by taking super super hot showers (twice a day -- morning and night) and slathering myself with lotion immediately afterwards. This, combined with Allegra-D that I have begun taking in the past year for post-nasal drip, helps to keep the itching to more manageable levels. However, it is still a huge pain. I am a law student and trying to sit still in class is a nightmare. I keep having to fidget and try to itch indiscreetly here or there -- I worry that people will think I have body lice or something, it's just that awful. Trying to study is also hard, because the constant focus on the itching interferes with my concentration. I have been searching SO LONG, it seems, for an answer. None of the skin diseases seem to explain what I am going through. I don't necessarily get rashes, like in psoriasis. Goose-pimply rashes seem to appear only after I start scratching. But for not getting much of a rash, my skin sure does itch! The slightest little roygh contact messes me up. And the itch goes DEEP, it is hard to explain it any other way. My bones, my muscles, my KNEES itch. Another peculiarity: I have noticed the condition is most apparent to the naked eye after I take one of my hot showers: the places where I am itching worst, the places that react to the hot water the most intensely *bringing some relief) turn mottled red-white-and-(sometimes) blue . My hands, feet, and shins in particular go through this peculiar appearance. And so yesterday I was cruising the internet, having a bad night with the itchies and trying to find an answer that before had never come. And I thought -- why not try to find something about mottled skin? And through this symptom, I stumbled upon information about Fybromylagia. And what I read stunned me. While the sensitive skin is what has for me caused the greatest life disruption, I realized that I am experiencing all 18 tender pressure points. Previously I had thought that this was just a sign of impending arthritis but it is not so bad that I had to get emergency help or anything. It was something that I just kept thinking I had to get checked out at some point. The joint pain is worse at some times than others -- in particular, my knees, my butt, and and my right hip have given me trouble over the past few years. Those discomforts are another reason why I have a hard time studying and sitting still in class. I keep having to cross and recross my legs, then I try to sit with uncrossed legs but that's not comfortable either. I try to stretch out my legs but that's not generally possible in those cramped student chairs. Sometimes when I am home at the computer I put my legs up on the desk or sit squatting on my chair (I know it sounds funny!) in an effort to get relief, and shifting positions from time to time does help, but it is a CONSTANT struggle. Anyhow, I went ahead and checked all the classic spots and I have tenderness there. It's funny because I always assumed that to experience tenderness in many of the areas was normal (this does not include my knees and hip, which I have been thinking are somehow messed up). For instance, the tenderness along my inner-elbow joint, or the tenderness I feel when I press on my lower back/butt; I mean, why SHOULD a normal person feel tenderness there? It's not like I have been overexerting myself. But somehow I never stopped to think about it. You know, I have often told my husband that I feel as if there is something terribly wrong with me, and one day I'll figure it out. I can't help but feel as if this might be it. Aside from the aches and skin sensitivity, I am pretty sure that I may suffer to a degree from sleep dysfunction (VERY hard for me to wake up in the morning, and often experience stiffness), and I do suffer from occasional anxiety and depression, and post-nasal drip (as I mentioned -- for which I have been taking Allegra-D, as the constant throat-clearing was starting to make singing difficult). Symptoms such as itching and crawling skin are definitely worse when I am stressed. Also I HATE bright lights and I DESPISE the cold. I get cold a lot more than normal people it seems -- and how much of a coincidence is it that my symptoms seem at their absolute worst during the cold weather months? Also for the last couple years I have had some bowel dysfunction (constipation). A few years ago I stupidly went through a few months of taking laxatives for weight loss purposes. So I think maybe I screwed up my system, but then again, I have also read that people who screw up their systems with laxatives, generally take many, many pills a day over an extended period of time. I never took more than a couple pills a day (considered normal dose) and never more than 2-3 times a week. Also, supposedly your system is supposed to go back to normal after you quit. I quit cold turkey when I found out about the dangers nearly two years ago (never ever taking another pill since), but I know I am not normal now. Also, for many years I can remember going through periods of time where every day, I wake up with ripping pain in my gut. This was a symptom that was particularly bad during last year's bout; the pain coicided with my hip pain. Yet another set of symptoms I never had checked out. Since yesterday I have been doing some heavy thinking about this stuff, and I realized just this morning, as I remembered about the gut pain, that it has been many months since I experienced it. A good thing, too, because it often deprived me of being able to sleep in the early morning. Usually I would come fully awake very early in the morning, in agony, at which time I would empty my bladder, which seemed to help in taking some of the pressure off. But the pain would linger, and it was lucky if I could even get back to sleep after that. Okay I think I'll stop now. What do you think? Last year I suffered some hair loss and I went through a whole battery of blood tests that seemingly turned up nothing. I am still mystified about the hair loss (Rogaine is currently helping me to grow back my hair, but that is still a background concern), but as for the other symptoms, I think making a doctor's appointment to check out the possibility of Fibromyalgia may be one of the best steps I ever took!