Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why do I constantly have the sensation of bugs crawling all over my skin?"
There are no bugs but it feels like it! And I have never done drugs or anything of the sort. I am 14 and this has happened for years.
Thank you for your interesting question, and I am sorry to hear about your frustrating symptoms. I would recommend that you meet with your pediatrician for further evaluation, but here are some general thoughts. The sensation of bugs crawling on the skin has a designated medical term to refer to it: formication. There are many possible causes of formication, and other aspects of the medical history are usually very helpful in determining the cause. It is most commonly seen in alcohol withdrawal, but this is unlikely in your case. Pesticide exposure or mercury exposure can cause formication if the exposure history fits. For mercury toxicity, this might include sources such as amalgam dental fillings, old thermometers, or certain types of seafood. Certain infections can cause formication, including syphilis, lyme disease, and herpes zoster. If you have been sexually active, you should be tested for syphilis. If you have been bitten by ticks, you should be tested for lyme disease. Finally, certain neurological problems can cause formication, and in the right context this should be explored further. Again, the symptom that you have is somewhat nonspecific, meaning that it by itself does not necessarily mean much. As such, you should have a more thorough evaluation with your pediatrician to figure out what might be going on. Best of luck!
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