Morgellons

MORGELLONS itching

Last Updated February 20th, 2019

Overview

Certain illnesses are rather mysterious in the sense that it is not clear whether they are caused by physiological problems or psychological disorders. One such complex illness is known by the name of ‘Morgellons disease’. In fact, this particular condition is rather controversial as a result of the conditions under which it first came to public attention.

The name was coined in the year 2002 by an American woman, Mary Leitao, who was unsatisfied with the diagnosis of delusional parasitosis for her son who was suffering from skin lesions and unexplained filamentous projections from the skin. He also complained of strange sensations comparable with a feeling of having bugs under the skin. She founded the Morgellons Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, with the aim of promoting awareness about this condition.

While this case and subsequent ones gained popular attention and prompted serious scientific study, there is still insufficient evidence to prove that this is a clinically distinct disorder. Therefore, it is not formally recognized by the medical community and tends to be referred to only as ‘unexplained dermopathy’.  Hence, it is also considered a ‘self-diagnosed’ condition.

 

What Is Morgellons Disease?

MORGELLONS depression‘Morgellons disease’ (MD) is the informal name of a rare and poorly understood disorder of unexplained origin that causes the formation of skin lesions along with filamentous growths. This is associated with abnormal sensations such as creeping sensations under the skin. The origin of these sensations is not well understood and it has been suggested these might arise on account of delusion. It is also described as a multisystemic illness since it can manifest certain neurological, respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms alongside the dermatological ones.

There is evidence to show that this disease might be associated with infection and that it is not entirely psychogenic in origin. Another theory holds that it is the same as a recognized disease known as delusional parasitosis.

 

What Causes Morgellons Disease?

At present, there does not seem to be a consensus in the medical community regarding the origins of Morgellons disease (MD) and whether or not it might be psychogenic to some extent. This disease tends to arise most often in middle-aged white females.

It has been suggested that the filaments might be textile fibers or that these might have been artificially implanted in the skin. However, it has been found that these fibers arise from the unbroken skin, in which instance self-implantation is ruled out. Further, tests have failed to match the material of these filaments with known textile fibers. In fact, certain studies have confirmed that such filaments appearing from the skin are indeed made up of keratin. Keratin is a proteinaceous material that makes up our skin, hair, and nails. It is a biofiber naturally produced by cells known as keratinocytes. It is unknown, however, as to what is responsible for causing such keratinous projections to arise.

Theories associated with MD include:

  • Based on the presentation of symptoms consistent with tick-borne bacterial infection such as Lyme disease, one theory holds that symptoms associated with MD may arise as result of an infectious process.
  • A similar condition is also observed in cattle where filamentous projections appear around the area of the hooves. This is known as bovine digital dermatitis (BDD). The investigation into a possible connection between the two conditions suggests that, as in BDD, filament formation in MD may be associated with hyperkeratosis.
  • MD is often likened to a disorder known as delusional parasitosis. In the latter case, patients mistakenly believe that their bodies are infested with parasites like worms, mites or lice. Although they describe vivid sensations of feeling these parasites entering their bodies or moving around there is no objective evidence of such an infestation. Patients experience itching and crawling sensations that prompt them to compulsive pick at their skin. This results in sores that can then become infected.

It has been found that patients claiming to be suffering from MD often tend to have other problems. These include substance abuse, depression and psychiatric conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia. It is not clear whether these have a direct bearing on the symptoms associated with MD.

 

How Do I Recognise It?

MORGELLONS itchingMorgellons disease is generally associated with insidious onset. It exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Skin lesions. These are painful, slow to heal, cause intense itching and leave behind red scars. It is thought that these might occur as result of compulsive picking of the skin.
  • Long fiber-like projections from the skin. These appear to have a subcutaneous origin and may be associated with hair follicles as well as the skin lesions mentioned above.
  • Abnormal sensation. Patients typically complain of crawling sensations almost as though insects or parasites might be crawling, moving or stinging beneath the skin.
  • Musculoskeletal symptoms. Joint and muscle pain.
  • Neurological symptoms. This includes headaches, changes in vision, ringing in the ears, short-term loss of memory and difficulty in concentrating.
  • Cardiovascular symptoms. The patient may experience elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate.
  • Respiratory symptoms. Coughing and shortness of breath.
  • Hair loss.
  • Inability to sleep.
  • Loss of teeth.

 

Complications

MD is a disfiguring and distressing condition. Self-diagnosed patients may be further distressed by the difficulty in obtaining a diagnosis that confirms their own.

 

Diagnosis

MORGELLONS delusionSince it is unknown whether or not MD represents a new or previously unknown disease or whether it constitutes an atypical manifestation of a known illness, there is no clear method of diagnosis. The fact that such a combination of symptoms is rare and not well described in medical literature adds to the difficulty.

  • Based on the presentation of symptoms such as skin sores, filamentous projections, abnormal sensations and neurological symptoms the condition may be considered to be an instance of MD, although this term is not formally recognized.
  • The blood may be tested for signs of infection.
  • Samples of skin containing filaments may be analyzed.
  • A psychiatric evaluation may also be relevant in order to identify other co-existing conditions.
  • The patient may also have a history of drug use that can sometimes induce compulsive skin picking.

 

Treatment & Prevention

Since the cause of this condition remains largely unknown, there is no specific treatment measure for this. Similarly, no definitive prevention measures can be used to stay away from the Morgellons disease. The following procedures are used to deal with cases of Morgellons disease:

  • If your doctor concludes that a bacterial infection is causing the infection, then antibiotics might be prescribed to treat the skin condition.
  • If the patient is showing symptoms of stress and anxiety, then anti-anxiety drugs and/or psychotherapy may be suggested.

Facts

  • The existence of Morgellons disease is largely debated since there are no definitive studies to prove its occurrence or to diagnose it.
  • According to some studies, this condition is associated with Lyme disease, a disease caused by the bite of ticks.

Facts

  • Scientists have discovered that the skin lesions caused by Morgellons are composed of keratin and collagen tissues, instead of worms or parasites.
  • During the 4 year period when CDC was investigating this disease, only 41 patients were found all over with the Morgellons disease. The incidence rate was as low as 3.65 cases per 100,000.

Facts

  • Owing to its controversial existence and unknown origin, this has been dubbed as “delusional parasitosis”, “unexplained dermopathy”, and “fiber disease” by many doctors.

Related Conditions

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Establish a long-term relationship with the concerned doctor and openly discuss the symptoms you experience.
  • Be open to psychotherapy and psychiatric treatments.
Don'ts
  • Fall for websites that make unrealistic claims for treating Morgellons disease with the help of lotions or creams. These are dubious in nature.
  • Repeatedly poke, scratch, or pick the affected skin area. This will further invite secondary bacterial infections.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan for diverticulitis diet…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol and is used…
Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin. Find easy and…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are find it easy…
Chromium Picolinate: An essential mineral supplement for faster weight loss Did you know that about 1.6 million deaths were directly linked to diabetes globally? How is it linked…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
ASTtest-liver
AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
abdominal-CT-scan- image
Abdominal CT scan Abdominal CT scan is a diagnostic imaging technique that provides a clear picture of the state of internal…
BRAT Diet: What is the right way to follow this diarrhea-relieving diet? BRAT diet, a simple diet consisting of just bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can help you combat the…
The real reason why you shouldn’t be eating ramen noodles Instant ramen noodles might be your go-to snack for your hunger pangs. But with each spoonful you are…
anti-thyroglobulin antibody
Anti-Thyroglobulin Antibody test Anti-thyrogloubin antibody test measures the level of antibodies that attack the thyroid gland cells and are hence indicative…
rubella IgG test
Rubella IgG Test The rubella IgG test is a blood test that checks for the rubella virus IgG antibodies present in…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
Vitamin K2: 8 reasons why you need this bone-building & cancer-fighting nutrient Vitamin K2 is claimed to be essential for your bone health, for reducing the risk of cancer, and…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
Silicon Dioxide: How can a component of sand be essential to your wellbeing? Silicon is one of the most abundant elements in the nature. Find out how silicon dioxide can prove…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
Stye : The best natural home remedies to ease the pain Styes developing inside the eyelid tend to be more painful whereas external styes are less painful and ooze…
Poop chart: Top things you didn’t you your poop could reveal about you Bristol poop chart was designed during the 1990s in order to help doctors identify various types of poops…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another person or you…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn to get rid…
How do neutrophils protect you from fatal bacterial attacks? During an infection, certain enzymes alert the mature neutrophils.  Neutrophils then travel through the bloodstream to the affected…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
CT-scan-machine
CT – Computed Tomography Scan CT scan or computed tomography scan is an diagnostic imaging technique where cross-sectional images of body are obtained…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try CLA supplements, derived…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
Internal bleeding brain
Beware: Ignoring these tell-tale signs of stroke could cost a life The signs and symptoms of a stroke differ depending on which part of the brain has been affected.…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
How chlorophyll is more than just a green pigment meant for photosynthesis Cholorphyll - you must know the usual function of this chemical in plants. But did you know that…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Eustachian Tube : Functions and top home remedies to prevent its infection Pressure equalization, mucus drainage and protecting the middle ear from bacteria and viruses are the three important functions…
lipid-profile
Lipid Profile Lipid profile is a blood test that provides complete information on how much cholesterol is present in the…
IGE test
IgE test – Immunoglobulin E IgE or immunoglobulin E test is a test that measures the level of IgE in the blood and…
glucose-tolerance
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test – GTT Glucose tolerance test (or Oral GTT) is used to detect the onset of diabetes or prediabetes conditions. It…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be. Has the modern…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket The dragon fruit is packed with nutrients and yet low on calories and is the dream food that…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
The complete fitness guide on how to perform Tabata This fitness routine is called Tabata workouts, which is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata who developed this intensive…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
diabetes symptoms in women
FBS Test – Fasting Blood Sugar FBS or fasting blood sugar test is a blood test that is used to determine the level of…
bilirubin-test-result
Bilirubin Test Bilirubin is a substance produced in the body as a result of red blood cell breakdown. A bilirubin…
EMA antibodies
Endomysial Antibodies (EMA) Test EMA test is an investigative blood examination to locate the presence of certain antibodies, called Endomysial antibodies or…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know that pumpkin seeds…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
Coconut sugar: What is it and is it healthier than table sugar? In the long list of things that the wonderful coconut gives us, coconut sugar is another remarkable addition.…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
Amnesia brain
Amnesia: It’s not just a blow on the head that can erase your memory Amnesia, a condition popularized by many a tv shows, is a condition of partial or permanent memory loss.…
What to eat, what not to eat in the South Beach Diet? The South Beach Diet is one among the most popular weight loss programs that have been the talk…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
Nipah Virus epidemic
Is shingles contagious? If yes, then how can you prevent this infection? What is shingles? How is different from chicken pox? Do adults get shingles? How contagious is it? Find…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
Anti-CCP Test – Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Anti-ccp or ACCP test is a blood test that is primarily employed to diagnose the onset of rheumatoid…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
Spirulina: Battle diabetes and cholesterol with this blue-green algae Spirulina, a species of salt water algae, has now become a billion dollar industry. How you can use…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
Hibiscus: Nourish your beauty and health with these vibrant blooms Hibiscus is a trumpet shaped flower found abundantly in tropical countries. It has been historically used for its…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Colloidal silver benefits
Colloidal silver: An essential dietary supplement or yet another pharmaceutical hoax? Colloidal silver is hailed as an effective home remedy for infections. Many believe it can treat HIV and…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
GERD heartburn
Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
SIBO Diet: The important dos and don’ts of this gut-healing diet A SIBO diet is a diet that works by eliminating certain sugars from your diet and adding fibers…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
hlab27 test
HLA-B27 test The HLA-B27 is a blood test that is used to determine the level of a particular protein called…
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) test Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme that is found in every cell of the body and it plays…
folate test
Folate test The Folate test is used to measure and monitor the levels of folic acid in the blood. The…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…