Minor injuries such as cuts and scrapes heal without any difficulty on their own or with simple dressing. But a deep cut or a surgical incision needs to be stitched to stop profuse bleeding and to hold the opposing edges of skin for proper healing. Stitches also help the cuts to heal with minimal scarring. It also prevents infection of the wound.
With so many benefits of sutures or stitches, it comes with a baggage of discomfort, although minor. One of them is itchy stitches. Itching around the stitches is common and normal and it is good sign of healing process.Usually skin stitches itch because the nerve cells of the new skin gets irritated by the sutures. The same does not happen for stitches that are taken inside the tissues and organs.
There are several things that can be done to alleviate this distracting sensation. Keeping the area well clean and moist will reduce itching. It can be done with regular dressing and over the counter prescribed medicines.
What Causes Itching Around Stitches?
Many people complain of itching and twinge of pain few days after the doctor takes skin stitches. Usually it is not a cause of worry and in fact it is a good sign that the cut or an incision is healing well.However, at times intense itching may be a cause of concern as it can be a sign of allergy around the wound or an infection.
Skin cells begin to grow soon on the cut edge. They multiply and grow at faster pace on the opposed edges of skin. Along with new skin cells grows new nerve cells. The nerve cells at this site produce itching sensation in and around the skin as the thread of stitches irritate them. Responding to the new cellular skin generation, chemical called histamine is released around the stitches. It triggers itching around the stitches.
Skin dryness and allergic reaction to the adhesive glue of dressing tape can also cause itching around the stitches. Sometimes the over the counter prescribed ointment may lead to skin allergy. It may also produce itching around the stitches.
Home Remedies To Relieve Itching From Stitches
You can find relief from itchy stitches with following steps:
- The skin around the stitches tends to become dry. Dry skin often causes itching. Keeping the skin well moisturized prior to scheduled surgery at the site helps in preventing pricking sensation triggered by growth of new skin cells. If you have planned a surgery, keep the area of skin well moisturized by applying a moisturizing cream daily at least seven days prior to surgery.
- Regular cleaning the area with antiseptic solution will also help to reduce itching. It will prevent crust and scabs to develop around the stitches. They are responsible for stinging and prickly sensation. Besides it also cleans the dried fluids that may have seeped out from the sutured site. It may be blood or watery discharge.
- If there is an allergic reaction due to dressing material or the adhesive tape, your doctor may prescribe steroid ointment to be applied at the affected site of skin.
- Many women after their postpartum complain of itching and pricking sensation in the genital area after episiotomy. Sitting in a warm bath tub for few minutes will alleviate the discomfort. Applying aloe vera gel around the area is also beneficial in relieving the sensation.
- Cold compress around the itchy stitches is time tested home remedy. After removing the dressing and cleaning the area with antiseptic solution, place a clean cloth containing few pieces of ice cubes on the discomforting area. Place it for 2 to 5 minutes only. Clean and dry the area once again with anti septic solution before covering the stitches with dressing material.