Since as far back as I can remember I’ve always had this sensation that I just couldn’t explain. It goes even further back to the times when I was 100lbs heavier. I could never really tell anyone out of fear of being persecuted or laughed at. I just always thought I was weird or something. I know what you’re thinking…..and NO it’s not a childhood desire to be the next Caitlyn Jenner!
I get itchy when I run!
It usually starts when I haven’t ran a long distance in a while, and when I’m sweating a bit more at a faster pace. I’ve never been a serious runner before, picking up running here and there. To be honest with you I always thought this was weird. When I start to run more frequently the itchiness eventually goes away but those first few runs are bloody annoying. Lately I’ve started running more often with our dog Harvey since I started Crossfit. The last time I went out I started itching like crazy about 15 minutes into our run and it became f@#k!ng annoying as hell. That’s it! I finally decided to do some research and find out what the hell this is all about. After asking around apparently I’m not the only one that has ‘itchiness” when I run.
As a side note, we’re talking here about running or exercising in comfortable temperature ranges. Itchiness when running or exercising in extreme hot or cold temperatures is a whole other topic in itself and I’ll probably write about it at some point.
Okay back on topic. STI jokes aside, there’s actually a term for this itchy sensation and it’s called the “The runner’s itch”. The latest and most promising line of thinking points the finger at Histamine. One Japanese study suggests its a Histamine response (you’ve probably heard the term “antihistamine” in allergy medication or commercials before) that is the likely culprit. Apparently Histamine isn’t just a word related to your typical seasonal allergy medication but also plays a role in exercise as well. Histamine is a known Vasodilator (I had to look that up, I can barely pronounce it). It’s known to increase blood flow to an injured or infected tissue. Basically it helps your immune system get at the problem so it can protect the body against things such as exercise-induced fatigue or exhaustion. So Histamine works to expand blood vessels in your body but shitty for us, sends the itchy message to your brain to say “scratch me now bitch!”
Some suggest to take an antihistamine before running, wear looser fitting/different fabric workout clothing or purchase over the counter anti itch creams/powders. The easiest and cheapest way to get rid of the runner’s itch is wait for it….wait for it…..EXERCISE MORE! This itchy feeling eventually goes away the more you exercise, unless you have some larger underlining issue where you’re starting to develop hives, severe cramps, diarrhea, nausea, swelling, or rashes then you should probably see your doctor ASAP…like now….go! So the good news is the itchiness is the feeling of your body getting in better shape, eventually ceasing completely. So once you start getting into shape, keep yourself exercing with regular workouts and you won’t have to experience the dreaded runner’s itch.
Disclaimer: As always, I was never smart enough to go to medical school or have fancy titles and letters in caps and lower case behind my name. Read at your own risk.
Anyone else here experience the runner’s itch after a prolonged period of laziness?
Keep the blue side up.
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