Has anyone else had itchy skin on external part... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK
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Has anyone else had itchy skin on external part of ears (not canals)? Is this Hashi's-related?

Out of the blue my right ear began to itch and is now red and swollen. It is the outer edge of the outer ear which itches. No apparent reason - no visible bites, scaling or rash. Skin on ear now feels a little bumpy but this is probably from rubbing. Left ear is itchy but not as bad.

After a few days of this I applied Trimovate (antibacterial/antifungal/steroid cream) last night but the itching actually woke me in the night.

I'm Hashi's (on t3 and t4), also have psoriasis. No recent changes in soap/shampoo/detergents etc. I have recently started taking Floradix (the gf formula and the one with magnesium and iron) twice a day and one hcl/betaine every day.

Any ideas/suggestions are welcome. :-) It is driving me mad. :-(

22 Replies

Hi puncturedbicycle, I had this on both ears after taking Trimethoprim and didn't know what it was at the time, and although many doctors said they did not know what had caused it, none of them could look me in the eye when saying this. It has taken me until recently (it happened in 2007) to figure it all out and now I am reading many posts about what drugs we should and shouldn't have while on Levothyroxine. Even today there are posts about drugs. Also Mercury Pharma Levothyroxine has caused me and my son problems over the past couple of years, just when I thought I was improving again. My son and I have recently changed to Wockhardt and many of the symptoms have cleared. I started taking Wockhardt 5 weeks ago and my son 2 weeks ago. I actually used Canestan Cream on my ears because I thought at the time that it was Candida. They took about 6 weeks to heal, but still itch now and again. Do wish you well, Janet.


Hi Janet.

I'm so glad you replied. I thought I was going mad. :-)

I did have a course of antibiotics (I think it was penicillin) about a month ago for a dental implant but had no problems at all with it at the time.

I am actually on Mercury Pharma levo, having persuaded my pharmacist to keep it for me, only so I could see how I felt on one brand, not because it made me feel any better than any others.

The Trimovate should work if it is fungal, though of all the places on your body I'd expect the outer ear to be nice and dry and not prone to fungal infection. Really the cream should have helped any itchy condition with the steroid in it, so I was surprised that it failed me. I'm going to take an antihistamine tonight and see if it helps. I can't figure out any recent changes that may have caused it but it is as likely to be an allergy as anything.

Thanks again. :-)


Hi Janet......I have just recently come off Mercury Pharma myself as I haven't felt well on it,but am no better on Actavis...the last few weeks.I would be interested in your symptoms that have improved on Wockhardt as it's one I've never used.


Hi Marfit, once my son came out in the spots, I realised it was not just the previous antibiotic that might be at fault. I was prescribed Trimethoprim for a uti in September 2007 and came out in spots, especially scalp five days after the course had finished. Eventually in early 2009 I was prescribed Tetralysal, after trying various creams etc., for the spots. I thought I was improving (was on Eltroxin at this point) but after about 6 months on this I began to have a plastic type covering on the spots that were left (think this was about the time that I was changed to Mercury Pharma generic. Began to then feel as though I was going backwards. The symptoms that have improved on Wockhardt are burning in lower legs and scalp, aches and pains, itching. Spots are very slowly clearing, but not yet gone and taste in mouth is still as bad as ever with burning tongue and lips. Wish they would get us back on Eltroxin as it seems so unfair that it can still be prescribed in Ireland. Hope this helps. Janet.


Hi, just a thought, try smoothing a little coconut oil on the affected ear part. It seems to be wonderful for stopping itching.. Good luck


Hi essdobs, Coconut oil was one I have tried along with other more natural ones. The most soothing one is Aloe Vera (Aloe Dent) and the best shampoo seems to be one by Green People. Janet.


Hi pb, Trimovate was one of the creams the doctors tried along with Elocon and plain Hydrocortisone cream and various shampoos as a few hours after I had washed my hair I could taste shampoo in my mouth (shampoo not going in mouth or ears).. I could taste other chemical tastes in my mouth also and felt that I was absorbing these through my skin - horrible thought. GP also tried antihistamine but no luck there either. The best I felt was with help from Dr BDP, but this still has not got rid of the spots and taste. In the beginning antifungals, Fluconazole and Itraconazole worked a little, but not much luck in the past 2 years with them, so feel Candida may have been a bit of a problem at the start of troubles. I had no problems with Eltroxin and hate NHS with a vengeance for not allowing us this medication. I did not have an immediate effect from the Trimethoprim, but bad effects started 5 days after the cessation of this antibiotic, which was in September 2007. Like you I would have thought the ear to be a fairly dry place on outer edge, but feel it could be a gradual breakdown of tissue. I do feel that we have to replace a lot of vitamins and minerals and probiotics after antibiotics having learnt the hard way, but think that GP''s should know this and hospitals even more so, and that they should provide a course of vits/minerals alongside antibiotics - not that that is likely to happen though! Maybe get all the known suspects checked and take supplements as necessary. If you find an answer please let us all know? Janet.


Hi Janet. Thanks so much for your reply.

I'm taking the gf Floradix plus their magnesium formula, plus a separate d supplement. For about two years I was on a lot of supplements suggested by a doctor (someone I see abroad who works with nutrition as well as conventional medicine). I was deficient in d so needed a loading dose and eventually my levels improved, I was taking iron and supplements up to Christmas but I then took some time off due to having blood tests and never quite got back to taking everything. I've just had a bunch of tests done (ferritin, iron, etc) and am about to pick up the results from the gp.

Would the Trimovate not help with candida as it is antifungal? I can't put my finger on anything - causes or solutions - for sure. I was so dead tired last night I forgot the antihistamine until I was in bed and couldn't be bothered to get up for it. The ear didn't wake me, though it was itchy this morning. Now it is absolutely fine.

Have you asked for purified levo?

I think a lot of us try not to spend more time at the surgery because of all the time we have to spend there already, but I am increasingly convinced that sometimes the only way to get anything done is to hector and pester. If you persist maybe they will wake up to the fact that we don't all just go home and live happily ever after as they imagine.


hi pb, Good to get some more information, maybe we'll get somewhere between us all. You certainly seem to be taking all necessary supplements and are aware of things we are in short supply of. Trimovate did not help at all, nor other antifungals for external use.

Do not think I will be lucky with purified levo and am just ignored when I ask for a trial of T3. Am waiting for an appointment with the Endo as have not been to one for years. In our area we don't seem to see one on a regular basis unless, like my son, you have other hormonal problems.

Think I have hectored and pestered GP and hospitals enough over the past 7 years (approx. 20 doctors/consultants and a 'brainstorming' session at the Royal London in conjunction with my local dermatologist, whereby about 20 doctors/consultants came in the room and examined and questioned me about my problems. One consultant agreed to take me on, but no one gave me a diagnosis, not even the one who took me on. I feel sure they knew what had happened, but would not say for fear of incriminating the NHS. Think they really know we don't go home and live happily ever after and don't know how they can sleep with themselves at night.

Thank you for giving a bit more insight and if you come up with any explanation I would dearly like to know. Janet.


Wow, well clearly there is nothing I can tell you about being persistent. :-) Good for you. So many people - we see it here - go home and never bother their gp again and no one benefits. I'm glad you persevered, despite getting no answers in the end. At least you know you've done the best you can for yourself.

My ear is now discoloured and scaly in places. I don't know if that's from scratching/rubbing or if there's a rash there. Still a mystery.


I had the same thing happen.... do we know what causes it? i had it happen, then i went to the doctor and he gave me some anti fungal antibiotics, pills and ear drops.. and it helped. but now its back.... whenever i get the red scaly burning ear thing, i also get itchy skin all over my body but the ears is where it actually has a burning sensation. Could it be magnesium that's causing it? I'm taking magnesium right now and i'm seeing you all doing the same....


Hi Janet.....thank you for taking time to help with your information.

I'm sorry to hear about all the "spotty " problems you and your son have battled with......anything itchy is hard to put up with!!

Regarding shampoos....I use a salon one Kerastase ....It is expensive but keeps my hair in good condition compared with many and can be used sparingly so lasts.Of course we're also up against the effects of thyroxine on our hair too.

I have a friend who suffers from Rosacea on her face( not sure that spelling was right)

She is unable to use many face creams etc ...is sensitive ...but can safely use Kerastase hair products.

I was interested in your symptoms on MP as I too have suffered the muscular aches and pains and itchy skin especially lower legs.The strange thing is the higher the dose goes the worse the muscular pains get, so am waiting to see if I need an addition of T3.

If not,then it will be a case of finding something I'm happy with so am searching out as much as I can about brands that others are happy on,including buying myself.

There certainly seems to be something about Levo that is not agreeing with me.I was on 50mcgs for 10 yrs and not happy but the eventual rise to 100 has made me worse. As you say ,such a shame that Eltroxin went.So many have been upset with the alternative no matter how much we are told it's no different ( barring the anhydrous introduction).I wish you well.X


Hi Marfit,

I will give Kerastase a try. Before all this I had been using Matrix which my hairdresser uses and it left my hair beautiful, shiny and neat (good hairdresser though and have had him for years so he really knows my hair). My hairdresser has been really puzzled by the state of my hair as at one time during all this it was as though it had glue in it and did not feel clean for a couple of years. Over the past year it has improved - especially with the help of Dr BDP.

Like you I have been looking at brands I could buy myself, but feel NHS should be sorting this problem and if they had not stopped Eltroxin being used and I had been given antibiotics that mixed with Levo, all these problems would not have occurred. My son and I have tried Actavis and Mercury Pharma to no avail, so all we have left is Wockhardt, and it is early days on this (me 5 weeks and my son 2 weeks - I used me as the 'Kings' taster').

I have been on 75mgs since 1997 after not being treated at all since I had the sub-total thyroidectomy in 1979, during which time I felt terrible (did not know doctors could be so cruel). Hope we all find an answer soon. Janet.


Hi Janet.

How funny - my hairdresser kept telling me my hair had a film on it and was so very oily, which doesn't really seem right to me as I can go a week without washing it (maybe that's why it has a film on it? :-) ).

I put it down to London water being so hard. I frequently use washing-up liquid on it because it's the only thing which will get it really clean (not really recommended for most hair types).


I think you're right about the water punctured bycicle,it's no better here in Essex and is so noticeable if you visit other areas where the water is soft .It makes such a difference.My hairdresser ( who also has thyroid issues) says that our meds will affect us too.I don't wash mine more than twice a week now or it just goes out of control and I get told not to wash it close to going to have it cut and blow dried as it's a nightmare!you can guess what we talk about can't you....she's hyperactive so we virtually cover the whole range between us.!!!!!


Yes Marfit, Essex water is so hard, ruins kettles and such-like. I get through at least one every 2 years. Like you only wash my hair once or twice a week the most as can't bear the taste in my mouth. It is as if it goes straight into my body and I can taste it a couple of hours later. Must be some interesting conversations at your hairdressers. Janet.


Most strange that both our hairdressers noticed something wrong. London water used to be much softer than Essex water is now when I worked in town in the 70's. Still, I don't suppose it has improved! My sister was a hairdresser near Liverpool Street Station and if hair lacquer had built up they used to use detergent to clear it also in the 70's, so can't see that washing-up liquid would be any worse. Will ask on Friday when I go for a cut. Janet.


I used to be a hairdresser too so I suspect yours will be horrified! :-) But these 'clarifying' shampoos aren't really very different. I've been using it for a while and it doesn't seem to hurt. It's a hippie 'natural' kind so I think it may not be quite as harsh as Fairy liquid. My hair is kept fairly short so by the time the ends are a bit frazzled it's time for a cut anyway.

I saw the hairdresser who commented on the 'film' while abroad (I had to spend a lot of time there last year so I became a regular) and I hadn't just got off the plane when I had my hair cut, it had been washed a bunch of times in the much softer water there, so I daren't even think about this horrible tenacious residue in my hair. Someone pass the washing up liquid! :-)


In case this helps anyone with hair/scalp issues. I had been putting off having my hair cut as I was so embarrassed by the state of my scalp, itchy, spotty, scaly. I explained to them when I made the appt and they offered me a treatment that apparently another thyroid lady has. It was Nioxin microdermabrasion. Then range was designed for people with thinning hair, this was just one part of it. It was a gel that was massaged into my scalp before washing and left for about 20 mins. It has really helped, I was very impressed. And no I have no financial affiliation. :-)


I think we're all in the same boat Janet searching around.All we want is to have our"normal" lives back don't we?......just too much to hope for maybe.....however,look at it this way ......I wouldn't have been communicating with all you lovely people in our support group without my problems,so we at least have something good in looking out for each other.

I hope I will get more information at my next Endo visit on the 24th and will post what happens for me then.

Keep going Janet......we will get there eventually X


Hi pb, hope the above has been of some use to you, even if we haven't found an answer yet. Think we are probably close to it and am sure that doctors know what is wrong, but will not say. Wish you well. Janet.


Think of other things that have contact with your ears also. In my case, I had a dermatitis caused by my headphones. Shower soap, hats ,even jewelry which slides around while you're sleeping can also cause irritations,


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