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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes persistent itchy rashes throughout the body and back ache?

Answered by
Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1954

Answered : 4372 Questions

Posted on Thu, 8 Sep 2016 in Medicines and Side Effects
Question: Hi there,

Over the last few months, I've experienced bodywide itching and sometimes rashes. I haven't found a specific cause, and the rashes seem to come and go. However, last week while on vacation out of town, after a night where I did drink some extra alcohol and probably didn't drink enough water, my lower back started hurting around where my kidneys would be. I drank extra water and am back to normal levels of alcohol (I do drink, but keep it moderate most of the time - I won't say I never overdo it during holidays/vacations, but I try to keep that rare). However, the itching and slight discomfort in my lower back has continued on and off. I feel fine other than that - appetite is normal, no nausea, urine color is light or straw-like and I'm going the normal amount, I'm exercising normally and seem to have normal energy levels, no fever, etc.

I do take a relatively large number of supplements (most whole-food based from well-established brands with my doctor and nutritionist's awareness and approval), and I've cut out many of those except for the essentials to see if that makes a difference. I did that 2 days ago, and no real change so far.

Additionally, I've had prostatitis in the past, which seems to come back from time to time. I've had the back ache/groin ache and similar symptoms from that before, but not widespread itching (though I did have a little bit of localized itching with it...never anything like this though).

I also have allergies in the spring/summer, but I'm not sure that those generally can present this way.

I'm just wondering if I can rule out kidney issues or anything too serious. Your thoughts would be very helpful.

Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 7 hours later
Brief Answer:
Get the blood counts checked and upload the reports.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for asking on Healthcaremagic.

I have gone very carefully through your query and understand your concerns. I would insist you to get a couple of blood tests done:
* Blood for total WBC count and differential count. I am looking specifically for the eosinophil fraction.
* Blood IgE levels.

The above tests will give the propensity of your allergic reactions. I do not think kidney issues are related and you need not worry about them.

I understand that you take a lot of supplements. But let me also tell you that most supplements (irrespective of whether they come from good companies or brands) are useless.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 14 hours later
Hi Doctor Saha,

Thanks for getting back to me. I will schedule something with my primary care physician and get those tests done - it's about time for a physical anyways as it's been a little over a year.

I do know in the past, my eosinophils have been elevated, and I also had allergic asthma and allergy shots as a kid.

I'm very glad you don't feel kidney issues are a concern. So just to clarify, you feel there's nothing to worry about even with a dull ache where I think the kidneys would be (both sides of lower back)? Is the reasoning that there would be other symptoms if it was the kidneys?

Regarding the supplements, understood, and I'll probably leave those pared back to essentials just to make sure I'm not overworking my filtering systems. Because heart disease runs in my family, there are some I feel better taking that even the doctor recommended (whole foods multivitamin, fish oil, garlic + CoQ10), but a lot of the others can probably be cut. This is, of course, along with lifestyle improvements like regular exercise and eating much healthier than I used to (which I've been doing a few years now).

Thanks again for your help and answering my followup!
Answered by Dr. Prof. Kunal Saha 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Natural supplements are better than the supplements you take.

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing back.

If you have raised eosinophil counts, perhaps a deeper look into the cause will help. Discuss about it with your treating physician. Worm infestations or filariasis need to be ruled out. Furthermore, monteleukast+levocetirizine (prescription medicine) off and on as required should help. Discuss about it with your doctor when you visit him.

About the supplements, consider multivitamins useless as unless you have any specific vitamin deficiency it will simply get flushed out in your urine and will not be stored. Fish oils are beneficial but why not take sea fish a couple of times a week? That will provide more benefits. About garlic, CoQ and other antioxidants, why take supplements, why not take colourful fruits and vegetables regularly instead? Those contain ample amounts of antioxidants and should be more effective. However, they have one major demerit. They will not make marketing companies richer. If you are ok with it, go ahead.

Be sure to exercise daily. Lifestyle modification is very important. I do not think that kidneys are involved but further information would be necessary to comment definitively.

Let me know if you have any further queries and I would be glad to help.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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