How to Stop Itching from Fibromyalgia: Effective Relief Strategies

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Written By Dr. Marcus Yu Bin Pai

MD, PhD. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician from São Paulo - Brazil. Pain Fellowship in University of São Paulo.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause various symptoms, including widespread pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties. One lesser-known but equally frustrating symptom is persistent itching, which can significantly impact the daily lives of those with fibromyalgia.

Understanding how to stop itching from fibromyalgia is essential to improving the quality of life for those affected by this condition. In this article, we will discuss the possible causes of fibromyalgia-related itching and explore a variety of practical tips and solutions that may help alleviate this uncomfortable symptom. By taking a proactive approach, individuals with fibromyalgia can better manage their itching and focus on overall well-being.

Understanding Fibromyalgia Itching

fibromyalgia treatment

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and tenderness. One lesser-known symptom of fibromyalgia is itching, which can be frustrating and disruptive for those who experience it.

Itching in fibromyalgia, also known as pruritus, can be caused by various factors. These may include:

Since fibromyalgia affects the body’s central nervous system, it can lead to heightened sensitivity to pain and skin sensations, including irritation and itchiness. Additionally, fibromyalgia patients often experience imbalances in neurotransmitter levels, such as serotonin, which can contribute to itching sensations.

Fibromyalgia itching can range from mild to severe, impacting any body part. Understanding the factors behind fibromyalgia itching is essential in creating a plan to alleviate the discomfort as much as possible.

Topical Remedies

purple ribbon fibromyalgia rheumatic

Topical remedies can be beneficial in providing relief from itching associated with fibromyalgia. They offer a targeted approach to address localized discomfort directly on the affected areas. Here are a few topical remedies to consider:

  1. Over-the-counter creams: Many over-the-counter creams containing soothing ingredients, such as aloe vera, hydrocortisone, and calamine, can help reduce itching. Apply these creams as directed on the packaging.
  2.  Moisturizers: Dry skin can often exacerbate itching sensations. Using a fragrance-free moisturizer can help keep your skin hydrated and soothe any irritation. Look for products containing hyaluronic acid or ceramides for additional relief.
  3.  Essential oils: Some essential oils, such as peppermint, lavender, or chamomile, have soothing properties that may help reduce itching. Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil before applying them to the skin to prevent irritation.
  4.  Cooling gels: Gels containing cooling agents, like menthol, can help bring immediate relief by providing a cooling sensation to the affected area. Apply sparingly following the instructions.

Remember to patch-test any new products on a small area of skin before using them on larger areas to ensure you do not have any adverse reactions. If you continue to experience persistent itching, consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation and personalized treatment recommendations.

Oral Medications

Oral medications can be an effective option for managing itching associated with fibromyalgia. Several commonly prescribed medications may provide relief.

Antidepressants: Although primarily prescribed for managing depression, some antidepressants can help alleviate itching. These medications work by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain, which can help to reduce the sensation of itching.

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac)
  •  Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor)

Anticonvulsants: Originally developed for treating seizure disorders, anticonvulsants can also help manage itchy symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. They work by blocking certain nerve signals that contribute to itching.

  • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  •  Pregabalin (Lyrica)

Antihistamines: These medications are commonly prescribed for allergic reactions, but they can also help relieve itching by blocking histamine, a substance that causes itchiness in the skin.

  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
  •  Fexofenadine (Allegra)
  •  Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any new medication, as they can recommend the most appropriate treatment for your needs. Remember, following the prescribed dosages and guidelines is crucial to ensure the best results.

Non-pharmacological Interventions

Fibromyalgia itchiness can be managed through several non-pharmacological approaches, which focus on alleviating symptoms without the use of medication. The following tips can help reduce itching and improve your overall quality of life.

Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and meditation have been shown to help reduce stress and discomfort related to fibromyalgia. Practicing these techniques regularly can help you manage itching and other symptoms.

Cool Compresses: A cool, damp cloth to the itchy area can provide temporary relief. Be sure to avoid extreme temperatures, as this can aggravate your symptoms.

Moisturizing: Keeping your skin hydrated is essential for minimizing itchiness caused by dryness. Use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizers and apply them regularly throughout the day.

Avoiding triggers: Some common triggers for itching in fibromyalgia patients include stress, allergens, and certain fabrics. To prevent itching, learn what factors specifically trigger your symptoms and try to avoid them as much as possible.

Regular exercise: Incorporating low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, or yoga can help improve fibromyalgia symptoms and reduce stress. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.

Remember that each person’s experience with fibromyalgia is unique, and different combinations of non-pharmacological interventions will work best for each individual. Working closely with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized plan to manage your itching and other fibromyalgia symptoms is essential.

Lifestyle Changes

Implementing some lifestyle changes can help alleviate itching caused by fibromyalgia. In this section, we will discuss several strategies that you can adopt to reduce the severity of itching symptoms.

First, pay close attention to the clothing you wear. Opt for loose-fitting, breathable fabric made from natural fibers like cotton, which can help prevent irritation and allow your skin to breathe. Avoid wearing synthetic materials, tight clothing, and rough fabrics that can exacerbate itching.

Maintaining a consistent skincare routine can also make a significant difference. Keep your skin clean and moisturized using gentle, fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers. Follow this routine:

  • Bathe in lukewarm water instead of hot water to avoid drying out the skin.
  •  Limit bathing to once a day, and use a mild soap.
  •  Immediately apply a moisturizer after cleansing to lock in moisture.
  •  Avoid scratching the affected areas, as this can cause further irritation and infection.

Another crucial aspect is managing stress levels, which can trigger fibromyalgia symptoms, including itching. Incorporate stress reduction techniques into your daily life, such as:

Meditation Yoga

Deep breathing exercises Tai chi

Progressive muscle relaxation Counseling

Lastly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can improve your overall well-being and potentially reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. Incorporate regular exercise, eat a balanced diet, and maintain a consistent sleep schedule to support your body’s overall health.

When to See a Doctor

asian doctor treating fibromyalgia patient

If you’re experiencing persistent itching related to fibromyalgia, knowing when to consult a healthcare professional is essential. Although itching can be a common symptom of fibromyalgia, there are instances when it may signal a more severe issue.

Some indications that it’s time to visit a doctor include:

  • When home remedies and self-care measures have not relieved the itching
  •  If the itching seems to worsen or is accompanied by other new symptoms
  •  When signs of an infection, such as increased redness or swelling, appear at the affected area
  •  If the itching interferes with your daily life and sleep, causing significant distress

Your doctor will be able to conduct a thorough evaluation and recommend appropriate treatments or referrals to specialists if needed. They may also rule out the possibility of other underlying conditions, such as allergies or skin disorders, which could be causing or contributing to the itching.

Feel free to reach out to a healthcare professional when in doubt. Timely medical intervention can help prevent complications and improve your overall quality of life.


In summary, managing fibromyalgia itching requires a combination of lifestyle adjustments, natural remedies, and medical treatments. The following strategies can help alleviate itching and improve the overall quality of life for those living with fibromyalgia:

  • Moisturize skin regularly using hypoallergenic and fragrance-free products
  •  Take warm, not hot, showers or baths, and use gentle cleansers
  •  Wear loose-fitting, soft, and breathable clothing made from natural fibers like cotton
  •  Practice stress management with techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises
  •  Avoid known triggers, such as certain foods, allergens, or extreme temperature changes

Medical treatments, such as antihistamines, topical treatments, or prescription medications, may be necessary. Communicating with your healthcare provider to find the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs is essential.

Remember that finding the most effective strategies to manage fibromyalgia itching may take some time and experimentation. Each individual’s experience and response to treatments may vary. Remain patient and persistent in your efforts, and continue to seek support and guidance from healthcare professionals.

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MD, PhD. Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician from São Paulo - Brazil. Pain Fellowship in University of São Paulo.

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