What are Goosebumps?

Goosebumps is something that everyone experiences once in a while. This may be while watching a movie or seeing your favorite basketball player or rockstar right in front of you. Goosebumps can also be caused during situations of extreme anger, sexual arousal, or when in extremely cold temperatures. Goosebumps is medically termed as Cutis Anserina. These Goosebumps occur when the tiny muscles in the skin tend to contract thus lifting up the skin and the hair present on the skin a little bit, especially on the arms and legs. The circumstances mentioned above activate neurotransmitters that make the muscle contract and raise the skin and hairs and relax and allow the skin and hairs on the skin to lie flat when the stimulation passes off.

Even if an individual does not have any hair on the arms or legs even then the stimulation may cause the skin to rise and form small bumps resulting in what we call as Goosebumps. The occurrence of Goosebumps is an involuntary reaction and is not under the control of the individual. Goosebumps are controlled by the autonomic nervous system and hence is not under voluntary control of an individual. There may be times when there is a dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system which may cause the muscles in the hand feet to contract causing Goosebumps. This is what we term as Abnormal Goosebumps. This may occur with other symptoms like skin paleness, increased heart rate and facial flushing. This dysfunction is called as autonomic dysreflexia and is the cause of Abnormal Goosebumps.

What are Goosebumps?

What Causes Abnormal Goosebumps?

The hair follicle present on the skin of the hands and feet are attached to a muscle called as erector pili. When the autonomic nervous system stimulates these muscles to contract due to some form of stimulus which may be extreme cold temperatures, anger, pleasure, sexual arousal, or fright, it causes the hairs to rise on the skin causing Abnormal Goosebumps.

There are primary two reasons for an individual to have Abnormal Goosebumps and they are Chills and Autonomic Dysreflexia or Abnormal Functioning of the Autonomic Nervous System.

Now the question is as to what may cause an individual to have chills. Fever is the most common cause for an individual to have chills and with it Abnormal Goosebumps.

Certain infections may also cause chills resulting in Abnormal Goosebumps and they are:

Now coming to the second cause of Abnormal Goosebumps which is autonomic dysreflexia or abnormal functioning of the autonomic nervous system, it may be caused due to numerous factors. A dysfunctional autonomic nervous system can cause a variety of symptoms including increased heart rate, high blood pressure, excessive sweating, and skin discoloration along with Abnormal Goosebumps. Some of the causes of Autonomic Dysreflexia that can cause abnormal goosebumps are:

  • Medical conditions like Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Use of recreational drugs
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Side effects to certain medications
  • An injury to the spinal cord
  • Traumatic brain injury caused by an accident or trauma
  • Stopping addictive substances suddenly resulting in withdrawal.

How to Get Rid of Abnormal Goosebumps?

Once we know the causes of Abnormal Goosebumps, then treatment becomes much easier. If Abnormal Goosebumps are caused due to conditions like Guillain Barre Syndrome or traumatic brain injury then a detailed treatment plan will be formulated by the neurologist. Once the treatment begins and the patient responds well to the treatment the problem of abnormal goosebumps start to come down.

In case if Abnormal Goosebumps are caused due to chills then treating the cause of the chills helps get rid of abnormal goosebumps. Apart from this one can try certain remedies which can help get rid of abnormal goosebumps and these remedies are:

  • Eat a balanced diet as it affects skin sensitivity and keeps skin diseases at bay. Along with a balanced diet drink a lot of water.
  • Olive oil and sugar is also an effective remedy for Abnormal Goosebumps. Mixed powdered sugar in some olive oil and apply it to the skin daily and within a few days the abnormal goosebumps will go away.
  • Apple cider vinegar is yet another way to get rid of abnormal goosebumps. When applied to the skin, it treats any skin hypersensitivity and reaction to creams which may result in Abnormal Goosebumps.
  • Taking a bath daily with pumice stone is yet another effective remedy to get rid of Abnormal Goosebumps.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: July 17, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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