Many times, we have tried to provide answer to the question ” Is itching a sign of healing”. Most times, we have injuries and wounds on our body in the form accidents, cuts, surgeries, boils, scrapes and other things that can injure our body.
One amazing fact about our bodies is the ability to heal and repair. Our bodies are in constant mission to keep us healthy and intact.
But there is one fact that many people have witnessed, during the healing process, the wounds itch especially when the wound seems to be healing. Does it mean that itching is a sign of healing. Well, it might be true. Let’s look at how the body heals and how itching is one of the things to experience when your wound is healing.
HOW DOES THE BODY HEAL WOUNDS OR INJURIES ?
When you get an injury or wound, the first thing the body does is to shut off the blood vessels from supplying blood to the affected area through a process called vasoconstriction. This is done to prevent blood loss. Platelets and other cells in the blood form clots.
The wound is protected by a covering called a scab, this scab is formed by fibrinogen proteins in our plasma. Inflammatory cells like histamine help to clean the wound base and prepare it for new cells. This inflammation stage is very important to the wound as it helps the vessels around the to open for new cells to improve new tissues.
Some wounds do not get past this phase and the wounds stop healing. This can cause serious complications. When this new cells are around the wound, they build a matrix embedded with different body cells, this creates a sensitive area for the new tissues to grow.
As these new layers are pulled together in the final phase, fluid builds below the wound surface. The collagen or new layers matures and becomes more like the tissue it is replacing, eventually creating new skin.
WHY DOES THE WOUND ITCH?
As wounds are healing, chemicals are released. Although other factors can cause it to itch as the wound heals. Remember histamine, the inflammatory cells that helps prepare the wound base and clean it for new cells, can cause reactions like itching. While these cells fight the bacteria in the wound, they cause additional itching.
There are nerves in the body that send signals to the central nervous system. When the nerves are irritated, the fibers in them send messages to the central nervous system and a response is sent to the body to scratch the area.
IS ITCHING A SIGN OF HEALING
The body produces new cells around the wound and these new cells are moved to the affected area. When these new cells gets to the wound, they try to connect with other cells around. This movement of the new cells and aligning to the other cells can cause a mechanical stress. This stress can cause itching.
Itching of the wound shows our body’s mechanical and chemical processes are working properly. But most itches are not a sign of a good thing or is not healthy.
They can be caused by :
(1) Induction: This occurs when skin around a wound deeply thicken due to inflammation, edema or infiltration.
(2) Excess fluid buildup or draining at the wound site: Most times after an injury on the skin, excess fluids may form and this may cause itching. It mostly happen after a surgery or serious injury.
(3) Necrotic or dead tissue at the base of the wound: Most tissues at the base of the wound may be dead or devitalized and stick to the wounds. This can cause serious itching and disrupt the healing process.
HOW CAN THIS ITCHING BE STOPPED?
Itching can make you uncomfortable and not good for you. Scratching the itching can make you feel comfortable and feel relieved but they are not for the wounds as it can disrupt the healing process and the wounds will not heal properly.
There are some ways you can relieve the itches.
• Keep your skin moisturized always. This will also make your skin maintain its balance.
• Properly dressing and bandaging the wound to avoid other infections from affecting the wound.
• Antihistamines can stop the itching. These are medications that can stop the itching effects of histamine. This medication will not prevent the histamine cell from cleaning the wounds and preparing it for new cells.
• Applying an ice pack or compress on the affected area can reduce the itching.
• Always wash the area with soap and water. This will help remove dead cells that can cause itching.
• Use an anti-itching cream.
• Avoid wearing tight clothes
Itching is part of your wound healing process. This is because the chemicals that help your wounds to heal can make the fibers in your nerves to send signal to your brain which can make your wounds itch.
You should try not to scratch the affected area as these new tissues which are still delicate can be ripped apart and this will cause your wounds to take longer time to heal.