Whether an allergic reaction to laundry detergent or a symptom of an underlying condition, itchy hips can be uncomfortable. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of itchy hips and your treatment options.
Itching is a common symptom with many possible causes. The following are the most common reasons why your hips are itchy:
Allergic contact dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your skin comes into contact with an irritant and produces a red, itchy rash. Many substances can cause this type of reaction. The most likely to trigger itchy hips include:
- laundry detergent
- fabric softener
- skin care products, such as lotions
- plants, such as poison ivy or poison oak
Along with an itchy rash, allergic contact dermatitis may also cause:
- bumps and blisters
Eczema is a chronic condition that causes your skin to become red and itchy. It’s also called atopic dermatitis.
The exact cause of eczema is currently unknown, but certain triggers seem to cause flare-ups, including:
- soaps and detergents
- household cleaners
- isothiazolinones, an antibacterial in personal care products, such as cleaning wipes
- metals, especially nickel
- certain fabrics, such as polyester and wool
- dry skin
Restless legs syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs and a strong urge to move them. Symptoms of RLS tend to occur in the late afternoon or evening. They’re particularly severe at night when you’re resting or sleeping.
Moving the leg typically relieves the sensations, but they tend to return when the movement has stopped. RLS symptoms can range in severity and vary from day to day. The sensations are commonly described as:
- a crawling sensation
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body and sleep problems, among other symptoms. About 4 million adults in the United States have fibromyalgia, estimates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cause of the condition is still unknown.
People living with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than others. It causes a number of symptoms that can take a toll on your physical and mental health, including:
- pain and stiffness all over the body
- sleep issues
- depression and anxiety
- difficulty concentrating
- migraine and other types of headaches
- tingling and numbness
Unexplained severe itching, called pruritus, has also been reported by some people with fibromyalgia. Stress and anxiety can worsen the itching.
Some of the medications used to treat fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms may also cause itching in some people.
People with aquagenic pruritus experience intense itching after contact with water of any temperature. It most often occurs on the legs, arms, and abdomen. Itchy hips, neck, and face are also possible, but less commonly affected.
The itching can last up to an hour or more. No rash or skin changes occur with the itching sensation. The cause of the condition is currently unknown. It may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.
Vasculitis is a condition involving inflammation in the blood vessels. It can occur when your immune system mistakenly attacks your blood vessels as a result of an infection, another medical condition, or certain medications.
Symptoms can vary depending on the parts of your body affected. They may include:
- joint pain
- loss of appetite
If vasculitis affects your skin, you may notice red or purple spots, bruises, or hives. Vasculitis can also cause itching.
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
MS is a disease of the central nervous system. It can cause unusual sensations, called dysesthesias. The sensations can feel like:
- pins and needles
Itching is also a symptom of MS. It can come on suddenly, occurring in waves that last from minutes to much longer. The itching isn’t accompanied by any visible signs, such as a rash.
Itching is also a known side effect of some of the medications used to treat MS, including dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera).
Neuropathic itch is a condition that results from damage within the nervous system. It can cause severe and relentless itching on different parts of the body, depending on the nerves affected.
Neuropathic itch is common in people who have neuropathic pain, as most types of neuropathic pain are associated with neuropathic itching.
These are causes of neuropathic itch that involve the peripheral nervous system as opposed to central nervous system causes, like MS.
Itchy hips may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the cause. Here are some other symptoms and what they may indicate:
Itchy hips with no rash
Itchy hips with no rash may be caused by:
Itchy hips and abdomen
Allergic contact dermatitis or eczema may be behind itchy hips and abdomen. It may result from contact with an allergen or trigger, such as a new soap or detergent. You may also have:
- a rash
- dry or scaly skin
Fibromyalgia and MS can also cause itching that can affect various parts of the body.
Shingles can also cause itchy hips and abdomen. Shingles can appear anywhere on your body, but it usually appears as a painful rash on one side of the body.
Itchy skin at night
Itchy skin at night is called nocturnal pruritus. It can be severe and keep you from sleeping. There are a number of possible causes of itchy skin at night that can affect the hips. They include natural bodily processes that occur at night, such as temperature regulation and fluid balance.
Other causes of nighttime itching include:
Treatment for itchy hips will depend on the underlying cause.
Treat itchy hips at home by doing the following:
- Apply an unscented, alcohol-free lubricating moisturizer.
- Bathe in lukewarm water and colloidal oatmeal.
- Use a humidifier.
- Avoid products containing perfumes.
- Avoid itchy fabrics, like wool and polyester.
- Avoid extreme temperatures when possible.
- Practice relaxation techniques, like deep breathing and yoga, if stress triggers your itching.
Your doctor may need to treat the underlying condition that’s causing your symptoms. Depending on the cause, medical treatments may include:
If your symptoms are mild and likely caused by an allergic reaction to a new soap or detergent, there’s no need for medical help.
But itching that’s severe, worse at night, or interfering with your ability to function should be discussed with your doctor. If you have any tingling and numbness, have your doctor evaluate these symptoms, too.
There are many things that can cause itchy hips. Most of them aren’t a cause for concern. Avoiding irritants and moisturizing your skin may be all you need to get relief. But if your symptoms are severe or you’re concerned, see your doctor for help.