When individuals have a problem with their thyroid gland, it can cause them to experience numerous symptoms. Often, people report skin crawling sensation thyroid problems when their thyroid gland is not working effectively.
If the thyroid gland is producing too few hormones, the patient may be diagnosed with hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid. Conversely, if a patient’s thyroid gland is producing an excessive amount of thyroid hormones, they may have hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid.
Both types of thyroid conditions produce a range of symptoms, but there are some which overlap. Although the sensation of the skin crawling is more closely linked to hypothyroidism, some patients with hyperthyroidism have complained of this symptom too.
Sometimes referred to as Paresthesia, skin crawling sensations can be extremely unpleasant and difficult to deal with. As well as describing their skin as ‘crawling’, patients may report burning or tingling of the skin when they have some form of thyroid dysfunction. Alternatively, patients may have an ongoing feeling of ‘pins and needles’.
Even when patients are aware that the symptom is linked to their thyroid issues, they may find it difficult to avoid scratching or picking at their skin. If the patient scratches their skin excessively, it becomes open or broken, and this could lead to an increased risk of bacterial infections.
Furthermore, thyroid dysfunction can also cause dry and scaly skin, among a host of other symptoms. This can exacerbate the skin crawling sensation thyroid issues and may worsen the patient’s condition.
In order to function effectively, the thyroid gland should produce a normal amount of thyroid hormones. If too few hormones are produced, the patient’s metabolism will run at a slower rate than normal. Conversely, too many hormones will cause the metabolism to run at a higher rate than it should.
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause physical, psychological and emotional symptoms. Patients often feel extremely fatigued, anxious and depressed as a result of thyroid problems, and they may suffer from a wide range of seemingly unconnected symptoms, such as dry skin, blurred vision, night sweats and recurrent infections.
Skin crawling sensations are often linked to the nervous system and can, therefore, be traced back to thyroid malfunctions. Hormones affect almost every function of the body and numerous systems within the body can be affected if the patient’s hormones are unbalanced. If the nervous system is unable to function effectively because the individual’s thyroid hormones are not being produced at the correct rate, Paresthesia may occur.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism should diminish when the patient is treated appropriately. If patients have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, their condition can usually be treated by taking oral medication. Levothyroxine is a form of hormone replacement therapy, which mimics the effects of the body’s natural thyroid hormone. When patients take this on a regular basis, their thyroid hormone levels should increase and their symptoms subside.
However, Levothyroxine only supplements one of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Thyroxine, or t4, may be enough to resolve some of the patient’s symptoms but further supplementation with Triiodothyronine (t3) may be needed.
Furthermore, balancing the patient’s thyroid levels may require adjustments. While some patients may find a relatively small dose of 50mg enough to resolve their symptoms, others may need a higher daily dose.
Patients with hyperthyroidism can be treated in a number of ways, although anti-thyroid medications are the most common form of treatment. These prevent the thyroid gland from producing hormones in excessive amounts and should, therefore, reduce the patient’s symptoms, including Paresthesia.
Alternatively, oral radioactive iodine medication can be used to destroy the gland itself. Although this is a permanent solution to the problem of hyperthyroidism, if the thyroid gland is unable to produce any hormones, the patient will develop hypothyroidism and could, therefore, experience further skin crawling sensations.
Finally, surgical interventions may be used to treat hyperthyroidism, if it’s deemed necessary. Similar to treatment with radioactive iodine, a total or partial thyroidectomy may leave the patient with hypothyroidism, which could continue to cause skin crawling sensations.
Although treatment for hypothyroidism should help to reduce skin crawling sensations, it may take some time for their patient’s treatment regime to be modified and they may, therefore, continue to experience some skin crawling sensations during this time.
Whilst medical treatment can help to reduce paresthesia, and other thyroid-related symptoms, many people use self-care measures to ease their symptoms too. Some people find that placing an ice pack on the affected area for a few minutes can help to minimize the sensation of their skin crawling, for example. Alternatively, some patients sleep with cotton gloves on, as this can help to reduce skin damage if they try to scratch their skin during the night.
Although it isn’t normally possible to prevent thyroid disorders from occurring, patients can take steps to prevent their symptoms from becoming chronic or recurring. Working with medical professionals to access an effective treatment regime is the first step in resolving symptoms, for example. Following this, patients should take the relevant medication appropriately, and be careful not to miss any doses. Furthermore, patients should attend physician’s appointments on a regular basis so that their thyroid function can be tested and modifications to their treatment made, if necessary. By doing so, patients can minimize the discomfort associated with their thyroid condition and prevent symptoms, such as skin crawling sensations, from returning.