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stress-induced anaphylaxis
lisa92505 posted:
Beginning about 3 years ago, I began having episodes of anaphylactic shock. At first, it was several months in between episodes. After being tested for all allergies, I was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with stress-induced anaphylaxis (I have now had 3 attacks within the last 6 wks). Two weeks ago I was admitted to the hospital in critical condition. I had another attack 2 days ago. I have been unable to find any information about this disorder. Do you know anything about this syndrome or can you direct me to someone familiar with the illness? Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

Lisa Anne E. Hoffman
marine0224 responded:
My mother in law has something what you have described. Can you tell me more about your attacks and what happens during them. All info would really help. They have her on 3,000mg of Keppra each day which has not helped! She still has attacks/seizures.
w3wor responded:
In March 2009 I was on my way to work. I have a very long commute. Near the end of my commute I had to have a bowel movement. I decided to wait a few more minutes until I got the office. As I got closer I 'really had to go' and was having a very hard time holding it in. It was very painful. I got to the toilet, sat down, did the duty and as soon as I stood up I got disoriented, faint, vertigo and when I walked over to the mirror I was bright red, as a fire hydrant. My eyes were red! It looked like they were bleeding. I developed a rash within 5 seconds on my arms, neck and behind my knees. The hives were small and as large as a quarter. I was having trouble breathing. I felt like crap. My boss took me to the local emergent center and I got a lot worse quick. I couldn't breathe. They administered 2 doses of epi, which didn't work right away. They called an ambulance and by the time the ambulance got there I was getting better. I did pass out for a few seconds at one point and then hyperventilated. My doctor couldn't diagnose it. I had nothing to eat or drink before work and didn't come into contact with anything unusual. I don't use drugs, I do smoke, I don't drink. A few months later I was checking out of a hotel in a foreign country. In my room I began to cough a lot. The coughing was very 'rough'. Very unusual for me. I couldn't stop and it forced my whole body to participate. In the span of just a couple minutes I left my room and went down and checked out. I began to get the big hives and became very dizzy. By the time I got to the airport I could barely stand. I went inside and sat down. I stood back up a minute or two later thinking I was better and almost crashed to the ground. I sat down, took a couple benedryl and tried getting back up. I spun around a few times, and bumped into people and couldn't hear anything. My boss yelled at me to sit down and take my epi pen. I did and was better in a few minutes. Again, I had nothing to eat prior to this. My allergy dr. has no idea what the cause is. This is important because I travel foreign quite often. The latest attack took place in Poland. Any thoughts? My dr. did test me for mast cells and it was negative. He also said I might havea tumor, but that test was neg. I tried researching this and although I always thought I was allergic to metals, those symptons don't include the breathing problem and the dizziness. I wonder if I got dizzy and lightheaded (and it was extreme) to the fact that I took 2 -3 bendryl on an empty stomach.
Dr_Patricia_Farrell responded:
I never heard of it, but I'll do a search of some of my professional databases to see if I can turn anything up. I'll post it here if I get anything.
w3wor responded:
Thank you doctor. I am seeing a doctor for this, but he is at a loss. He tested me for unusual mast cells, but that was neg. He did a 24 hour urine screen to see if I had a tumor, that was neg. This is important since I travel frequently to 3rd world countries. I just got back from a 2 week trip to India yesterday.
Dr_Patricia_Farrell responded:
I certainly can understand your concern with all that travel. I did a search but it only turned up people who have this problem after receiving medications to which they didn't know they had an allergy. These cases were both preop. I'm wondering if it could be psychogenic seizures. Please look that up and see if it fits because, if it does, you can take medication and get some therapy to help with this.
InnerHealings responded:
I also have been diagnosed with stress induced anaphylaxis. The first time almost killed me... i was coming back from jogging and as my body started to rest, the attack came on. As the years went by i've noticed different factors. The more stress (emotional), the more frequent the attacks. Also, eating very light, low protein, easily digestible foods aid. My attacks start in the late summer and last till fall. They end when the cold comes back. You must of seen a pattern within the years. I even became a nutritional consultant to learn more about health and the system.

Nancy Thibault
Holistic Therapist, Nutritional Consultant, P.S.W, T.A
Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
I'm not familiar with this type of attack and I'm wondering if they really meant psychoseizures, but that would not result in your being in critical condition in hospital. I couldn't find anything on the Internet that directly related to this, but I'm wondering if some of the major medical center sites in their neurology department might have something on this. You might want to check those major sites to see if they do have anything war even to do a tap Google Scholar search and see if their search engine turns up anything.

I'm wondering if there isn't something that you are being exposed to that is causing this and I hope that the hospital has arranged for some follow-up care for you. I'm not an M.D., but I'm thinking that you might have an allergy to something for which you were not tested. There are many products in people's homes that are used for cleaning polishing maintaining and other kinds of activities to which you might have been exposed and which might have caused this.

In order to help yourself and your doctors figure out what this might be coming from, I would suggest that you begin keeping a log onto daily basis of all the foods you eat things you drink and substances that you are eating and substances that you are being exposed to. It might be something that never occurred to you, so think carefully about everything.

In the meantime, you might want to try some relaxation breathing just to help yourself calm down a bit cause I know this must be a very stressful time for you. If you don't know how to do this, look in our Tips column and you'll see we have a video you can watch.

I hope things improve for you very soon and that you do feel better.
Susanbooboo responded:
Hello Lisa,
I know this is 3 years after you posted on webmd about your diagnosis of stress induced analphylaxis, but I had to comment back because I have been looking for someone who has the same issue as me!! Crazy!! I am 40 and my doctors still look at me in awe. I have been digging on the internet over the years and there is information out there, but it's still so rare. I was actually diagnosed with exercise induced asthma with analphylaxis. But it took me many reactions to realize the common factor....."Stress or Anger" when I exercised!! I would sneeze like crazy and then my face and throat would swell and stay swollen for 2 days! I carried an epi-pen for years, but now.....I just do not run if I am stressed out or mad lol!! I would love to hear from you ) Thank you! sue
Seraph1000 replied to Susanbooboo's response:
I just started wondering the same thing. I was also diagnosed with exercise anaphylaxis Many years ago. I would just get a little itchy sometimes on my legs and that is how it was diagnosed. Then 2 yrs ago I left the treadmill and went straight to the emergency room with anaphylaxis. They could not determine a cause. I had not eaten for hours nor had I taken any new meds. I assumed it a cleaning product at the health club and stopped exercising there but kept it up elsewhere. Then, 3 months later, I had another anaphylactic episode but I was at work! I was not exercise. Again I was in the emergency room and have unspecified anaphylaxis. Yesterday, I had a highly emotional day and was having mild hives. I too, am suspecting emotional stress.
Belle2264 replied to Seraph1000's response:
I think you all have mast cell activation disorder (MCAD or MCAS). You do not have an abnormal amount of mast cells (mastosytosis - for which one or more of you tested negative, presumably by a blood test called a "serum tryptase.") But those mast cells you do have "over-react" to triggers, such as drugs, heat, stress, high histamine foods, cleaning products, etc. There is a forum that discusses this condition. Diagnostic criteria were just published in May 2011.
lclibby replied to Belle2264's response:
You have talked about mast cell activation disorder (MCAD or MCAS). you also said that there is a forum that discusses this condition. I have been reading and doing allot of research on the stress-induced anaphylaxis but finding very little information. For the last 4 years I have be going through this about fifty times in fact 3 times in the last 5 weeks. This is getting the best of me not knowing where to turn or what not to do living a life like this sucks. Would you please let me know where I can find this forum. My doctor will work with me because he is at a loss like I am and he wants to know what is causing this. I'm trying this pill or that pill with no effect. Thanks it sounds like you have done allot of research.
ragsda02 replied to Susanbooboo's response:
I know this response is old but i need help. In the lat year i have had 8 anaphylaxis episodes, which started out itching and ending up with massive swelling all over my body over a 15-20 minute span. I have has one set of test ran that tested for 50 things. It came up zero's acros the board. My friends and family can not believe it, they say that there is no way cause my reactions are so severe. I was even hospitalized once. I am so scared and feel so alone on this. My husband is disabled and we have a 15 month old so I don't have time to be sick, ya know! Anyway if ANYBODY has any information PLEASE respond! My doctors have no idea what is causing this. I told them I have these attacks when I am really stressed but they tell me they doubt it has anything to do with it. IDK, Help
clacla replied to ragsda02's response:

This is going to sound silly but it is the only thing you can do for now until you can get a science-base response:


The fact that you say you have no time to get sick is a strong indication that you are over-stressed. Think about it: if you cannot survive the next shock you will not have time anyway. Now you are alive, it is YOUR time. Get help to deal with your spouse and your baby. Breathe a lot. Eat well. Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Give yourself a break. Find the way to have positive thoughts. Again, forgive yourself. Cut yourself some slack, you're probably overwhelmed by the things you have decided to be responsible for, but you don't have to live like this.
ragsda02 responded:
I am having similar events. They tested me for like 50 things because they didn't beleive that stress was causing it. I was way low on my Vitaman D. They said I need to take 6000 units of vitaman D and tan 3x a week because I was sooo low. I have been doing this for 2 weeks now and feel almost like a new person. I don't know if this has fixed my problem or not but will let you know. If you find out anything please let me know. Thanks!

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