Do stretch marks hurt?

I have what I thought were stretch marks on both sides of my waist. I did gain and lose a bit of weight fairly quickly but these marks seem different. They hurt. I don't scream in pain but they can be very sensitive. Does this mean they are not stretch marks? They are whitish in color. If that helps to answer my question.

pearl3

F, 42, Utah

Tags:woman age 35-44 weight fluctuation waist stretch marks pain sensitivity

In rare instances, stretch marks can be rather painful. Many people find that the skin around their stretch marks feels like it’s being pinched, which is probably the result of it being stretched. The pain may also be attributed to the formation of scar tissue. More commonly, people experience intense itching along their stretch marks, which is linked to the healing process as the skin repairs itself.

You mentioned that you’ve rapidly gained and lost weight at times, so I imagine this fluctuation is probably the cause of your stretch marks. I think it’s worth noting that there are other things that also increase the risk of developing stretch marks, such as certain health conditions and the use of corticosteroid medication. Stretch marks also have a genetic component to them, meaning if other people in your family have stretch marks, there’s a higher risk of you developing them as well.

Stretch marks do tend to fade over time, although they may never disappear entirely. While there are a number of over-the-counter products that claim to be able to help with stretch marks, there’s currently no evidence that any of them actually work.

The good news is that there are a few medical options designed to improve the appearance of the affected skin. Tretinoin creams can be effective at treating recent stretch marks, but they’re also known to irritate the skin, so be sure to talk to your doctor or dermatologist to find out if this option is suitable for you. Alternatively, you might want to consider laser-based treatments such as pulsed dye laser therapy and fractional photothermolysis, which use intense targeted light to enhance your complexion and reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

I suspect they are probably stretch marks, although it’s difficult to make an accurate diagnosis without seeing a photo. As you probably know, stretch marks tend to appear as parallel lines on your skin and range in color from red or purple to white or silvery gray. If you run a finger along the lines, you may notice that they’re slightly raised or indented, which is typical with stretch marks.

Stretch marks most commonly develop after periods of rapid weight gain or loss, but there are a number of health conditions that also cause or increase the risk of developing them, including Cushing’s disease, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and Marfan’s syndrome, among others. If you have reason to believe you may have one of these conditions, I strongly recommend seeing a doctor as soon as possible.

Stretch marks usually aren’t particularly painful, but in some circumstances they can be quite sensitive. They’re caused by the skin stretching and being pulled too tight, which is what makes them feel uncomfortable. The resultant scar tissue may also be tender and easily aggravated when it rubs against your clothing. You may have also noticed that stretch marks are itchy --  a side effect of damaged skin attempting to heal itself. Try to avoid scratching the affected area as this may further aggravate the skin.

When it comes to minimizing the pain, keep yourself hydrated, invest in a good skin moisturizer, and regularly apply it to your stretch marks. This should help to improve blood flow to the area,  reduce the pain, and soothe the skin in general. Stretch marks are usually very easy to diagnose in person, so I do recommend seeking medical advice and booking an appointment with your doctor if the problem persists.

Stretch marks can be sore, as the skin is getting stretched, but you should be evaluated by a dermatologist. There are skin conditions beyond stretch marks that can be uncomfortable, and they can be easily treated if diagnosed early.