Why Do Wounds Itch While Healing? Any Thoughts?

India
July 23, 2008 7:00am CST
Ever wondered why the wounds itch so horribly just about the time when they are about to heal? When I was younger, I used to absent-mindedly scratch the wound at that point of time and it would open up again, bleeding. I have learnt to control my instincts from then on, but it still intrigues me. I even used to believe in my childhood days that the wounds have minds of their own, that they tempted us to scratch them so that they could remain open. Of course, I've grown past it, but still I haven't received a satisfactory answer. Wanna help with this, anyone?
1 person likes this
4 responses
@howard96h (11659)
• New York, New York
23 Jul 08
Under the scab of a wound the new skin and cell growth causes the itch. I know it is annoying but it's a good thing because it is a positive sign of healing.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
23 Jul 08
I didn't wonder about this until now. But the indication I had was it does get itchy and the skin is looks tighter in the affected area. I knew that when it itches it's on its way to healing. I would then feel relieved.
• Philippines
23 Jul 08
Tsk. I wanted to write "...and the skin looks tighter in the affected area." I'm a grammar freak.
• India
27 Jul 08
Thanks, howard and jolie, for your responses. Yes, I personally have learnt to control my hands for that reason, too! I feel that finally the wound is healing and I won't jeopardize the process by scratching. And I feel that somehow, we both are grammar freaks, jolie. Sorry for the late response.
@nupats (3564)
• India
23 Jul 08
hi dear friend good question..i checked the net for an answer this is the best explanation i could get: Surely not all not all the sensations of the human body (or any other body) are the outcome of evolutionary selection. It doesn't seem surprising that the body experiences particular, unusual, sensations when new skin or scar tissue is being grown. Doesn't new tissue contain new nerves? At least there must be some metabolic mechanism that "connects" the newly grown tissue with the nervous system, so that you would feel a painful sensation if someone pinched your (freshly grown) scar tissue. What sensation does the body experience when that "connection" begins to be made? Maybe the metabolic processes by which the scab begins to separate from the wound when the healing is nearly complete (which is often the point at which the itching starts) produce the itching sensation. Whatever the bio-mechanical origin of the itching, it is maybe just a side-effect of the repair process that serves no purpose of itself, but that is just part and parcel of a bodily repair system that obviously HAS evolved to high degree of sophistication to perform a task that confers major gene-survival advantages.
@nupats (3564)
• India
29 Aug 08
thank you for the BR
• India
29 Aug 08
Well, I had to, hadn't I? After all, yours was the most well-researched answer. I never thought anybody would take so much pains for this petty question. Thanks to you for gracing this discussion of mine with your well thought-out response. Cheers.
@nupats (3564)
• India
30 Aug 08
thank you dear very sweet of you..have a mice day
@baileycows (3669)
• United States
23 Jul 08
I think it is because the skin pulls and is very dry around the edges of the wound. I don't really know, but sometimes it can itch like crazy. Seems like it never gets satisfied until it is bleeding again.
• India
27 Jul 08
Sorry for the late response. Yes, you're right, bailey. It never is satisfied until the region is bleeding again. Thanks for the info. Cheers.
• United States
16 Dec 08
I recently wondered this myself as I just had my stiches out and they itch like crazy! I do think the newly grown connections is an answer, but I also ponder this: Would it not make sense that the itching causes scratching wich in turn helps to keep the skin somewhat stimulated and causes better blood flow to the area? Just a thought from a common sense kind of girl. Thanks for your post, it was quite helpful.