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    Chronic hives
    Krosel2 posted:
    Ten years ago, I started getting hives everyday. Along with the hives, my face, eyes, and lips would swell up. My parents took me to several doctors, and I was tested for all sorts of allergies, but the results were all negative. I was told I had an unspecified autoimmune disease, and that my body was basically attacking itself. I started taking benadryl every day, but that stopped working after a little while. Next they put me on Zyrtec, but even that stopped working, too. Finally, I was prescribed prednisone, which I took every day for almost a year. I gained almost 20 pounds, and nobody said anything about the frightening long-term side effects. Finally, after about a year, the hives just went away, but the doctor warned me that they could come back at anytime in the future, especially during times of emotional stress.

    About 8 months ago, I woke up with hives. I took some benadryl, and assumed it was nothing, similar to the rare acute attacks I'd been experiencing about once a year or so, particularly during finals week during my college years. But one day became a week, a week became a month, and then the angioedema started to happen along with the hives. I still remember clearly the day they started again - March 29th - and my emotional state at the time. I was in a relationship that had started to unravel around February, and I was extremely unhappy, frustrated, and angry. When this relationship was officially over, in mid-April, I was completely devastated. And the hives got worse. I ended up in the emergency room twice because the swelling had spread to my throat, and I felt like I was suffocating.

    I went to see an allergist/immunologist, who ran a series of blood tests, none of which came back with any results except one, which simply told me that I hive. The tests came back negative for autoimmune diseases, thyroid conditions, and any other identifiable infection/disease-based sources. I started getting acupuncture once a week, which seemed to help a bit, and my practitioner recommended I start seeing a therapist.

    My allergist gave me a list of foods high in histamine levels that I should eliminate for three weeks to see if this might help. It didn't, but she still insists that I shouldn't eat things like tomatoes, citrus, berries, etc. She started me on a course of benadryl every 4-6 hours and Zyrtec in the morning. Finally, around August, this seemed to be working. I still had hives everyday, but they were much less severe than they had been. I'd wake up with a few spots on my legs, but they would disappear by mid-morning. At my next follow-up with her, she told me that she still wasn't satisfied because I was still having the hives, even if they were MUCH better than they had been. So she switched me to Doxepin at night, which is essentially an antidepressant when taken in high doses, but it acts as an antihistamine in low doses. I stopped taking the benadryl, then, and just took 10 mg of Zyrtec in the morning and 10 mg of Doxepin at night.

    Now my hives are unmanageable again. I switched back to the benadryl, but it still isn't helping. I feel like I've regressed back to the months when it was really bad. My allergist doesn't seem to be helping, she even seemed angry that I switched back to benadryl. The acupuncture helps with stress, and I think therapy is helping, but most of the time, I still just feel frustrated and depressed with myself. I just want these hives to go away. My allergist told me I should try an actual antidepressant, but I've taken them before to treat depression and anxiety, and this time I really wanted to avoid them. It seems a little extreme to take antidepressants to treat a broken heart.

    So right now I'm on the fence about going down the antidepressant route again. I am wondering if anyone else with chronic urticaria has gone this route, and whether or not they've seen any positive results.
    sgbl88 responded:

    I have Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD), some time called aspirin allergy, salicylate allergy, Aspirin Induced Asthma and a few other things.

    When I was first researching the disease I came across a web site on chronic uticaria. They have a low salicylate diet on the web site that you may find helpful. It seems that AERD, chronic uticaria and possibly some cases of ulcerative cholistis can be caused by salicylates in fruits and vegetables.

    It is possible that any NSAID will trigger the hives as it does for asthma patients with AERD. You may want to eliminate aspirin, ibuprofin, naproxin and other NSAIDs from your personal medicine cabinet.

    I hope you feel better and find answers soon.

    God Bless,
    Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end... Ye shall seek me, and find [me]
    dani62 responded:
    I know you posted this so long ago, but that's practically my story! I've had chronic urticaria now for 32 years and went through very similar tests as you to determine the source of the problem, with the same results: everything came back negative, except for the only obvious one which is that I have hives, which is due to my body attacking itself. One doctor friend of mine said it's a type of autoimmune disorder, but I wasn't ever actually tested for that one. My diet over the last 32 years has varied enough as would realistically be expected over so many years, but nothing major, and I certainly wouldn't blame in on lack of water because I drink plenty of it. This condition may certainly have been triggered by the extreme stress I was going through at that time, and I know that is often linked, but that doesn't explain why people like you and me have developed this as a result, and not other people, and it doesn't explain why I've been living with this condition daily ever since. And without medication, my hives just get worse and worse, and it can become extremely painful, not to mention scary, as it also eventually spreads internally, at least in my case. I get them wherever there is physical contact or physical pressure of any kind to anything, and gradually becoming more sensitive, which means, at first, bumping into a chair, or opening a new jar or a door will do it, picking up a heavy box, then, to just standing, sitting or lying down, to my jewelry (metal, leather, cloth, no matter) to my clothes, then my hair resting on my shoulders, and finally, my tongue, ears, throat and bladder. And my hives would only appear on the location of that contact/pressure. At first, when no one even knew what to prescribe to me yet, it got so bad, i thought I was going to have to eventually throw myself out the window; of course I wouldn't have actually done it, but after 3 weeks, the condition was horrific, with no solution in sight... FINALLY, I was prescribed Atarax (hydroxozine), which to this day, is the ONLY thing that works. On occasion, when I've run out, I've taken over-the-counter antihistamines, and honestly, I might as well have bought a pack of gum, that's how well those worked. Initially, my dose was 10mg, 3 times daily but that just knocked me out completely. Now I only take one harmless tiny dose every night (10 mg), and that's now all it takes for me to live my life normally and itch-free- and NO side effects. But it has to be every night, otherwise the hives come back a bit, but only a bit, so if I only have to wait a day, really I can deal it. Needless to say, I never leave home without them, and always have to carry extra when I travel. And make sure I don't lose them, because if I can't get more where I'm visiting, I'd have to go home, which is crazy but the reality. So in a nutshell, I'm telling you, ATARAX is the answer and it saved my life, and if you haven't looked into it, please do. Good luck and I'd love to hear what you've found for yourself.
    maris812001 responded:
    Wow! i am so shocked right now because i thought it was only me with hives this bad. I have had chronic hives ever since i was around 7 but it seems as i get older the worse it is getting. I am now 30yrs old and i have to hide myself in doors due to my hives being so bad. i wake up and go to sleep everyday with hives and my skin burning and i've had about 5 allergiest that i have been to and when one is not workig out i find another one. my eyes lips, cheeks, fingers, toes, swell so bad that i cant or should i say just wont move out my house cause im so ashamed to be seen. I am on zertec at bed time, singulair in the morning and zantec as an antacid to help then 200mg of benedryl daily to help with the itching,and then hydroxyzine was a new pill they added on to the rest to help but im still getting hives daily and cant take it anymore. i go to the hospital about 2 times a month to get injections of decadron and i believe the 2nd injection is benedryl so it can get in my system faster to relieve the burning, itching and hiving . And i too have been told that it is an autoimmune thing in my body which makes me get them so all the steroids and pills will not help cause im still suffering as we speak.
    rpbutterfly replied to taiwanguy's response:
    Just tumbled on this thread and I know it's been over 2 years since you posted this. But I want to say that I am completely exhausted with all my hives and somehow I feel that there might be some hope for me. Everything you say seems logic, just never actually put it in practice. I will begin this regimen and Hope that I am the one who this will function on. I want to start living my life, free of hives.
    raulL replied to rpbutterfly's response:
    hello i have my hives for over a month now. right now the hives are subsiding. ive been taking zyrtec but i stopped it because i felt like it causes severestomach pain one thing that i noticed is that whenever i feel gassy, bloated or having a heartburn, i get hives. I changed my diet. i dont eat 3 hours before i sleep, instead of eating 3 large meals, i turned it into 6 meals in a day, no soda, no sweets,no coffee i avoided greasy foods, any foods that are high in histamine, any foods that are gassy and i quit smoking. right now i can say that im almost hives free. actually for 1 week the only thing i ate was plain cheerios without milk. i took some honey too, i slept for 9 hours each day. i i drink a lot of water. and the past few days i started squeezing fresh lemon on a glass of water. the medicine i was taking is prlilosec prescribed by my doctor. im also taking a antacids which is just $2 from walmart. right now im feeling better. im starting to eat the foods that i normally eat but only in moderation. i think in my condtion the too much acid in my stomach is causing the hives.
    rpbutterfly replied to raulL's response:
    That's something to consider. I've actually been having bad stomach problems. I do eat a lot of spicy and dairy food. maybe I need to cut those out of my diet. I have been trying to stay away from soda and drink only water. The only thing I have a hard time doing is staying away from coffee, I drink one cup with milk every day. I have never had soy, and may just have to for the sake of this... I've had my hives since February of this year, I was on steroids twice, but felt it made them worse when I was done with them. I've been on Zyrtec and Allegra but hate having to be on meds so I quit Zyrtec and kept taking the Allegra. I've gained 10 lbs since then, and am very irritated at this point. You mentioned foods that contain high in histamine, what are those? Are you currently taking anything for the hives? Thanks for the reply...
    raulL replied to rpbutterfly's response:
    check out this website to see the foods that are high in histamine . im also avoiding anything that makes heartburn worse. right now im not taking anything for the hives but im taking prilosec for hearburn.
    rpbutterfly replied to raulL's response:
    Thank you, I've been keeping a journal on what I eat. I hope to see an allergist and see what is triggering these pesty hives. I did notice that I ate most of the high in histamine foods and will avoid them as possible. Again, thank you so much on the feedback
    dejalanee215 replied to dani62's response:
    I was just reading this and you and I have almost the same thing. I have had my condition since I was 16. I am on Atarax, but I have graduated to 50mg. And yes, I have the sensitive touch thing also- it looks like someone has attacked me ! It's really a pain to have to expain that it's ok to anyone who touches me- ( massage therapist, hairdresser, boyfriends, etc. ) My hives consume my whole body and will leave welts larger than the size of my hand because I will scratch nearly to the point of taking off layers of skin. I will also get a warm feeling with them. I'm sure it's because of the scratching. If it manifests itself near my fingers or toes, they will swell up. (probably from my scratching too) I do NOT go anywhere without my pill,,,,, work, home, purse, boyfriends house....If I spend anytime anywhere, there is a supply of my pills- I take them PRN. As soon as I get a hint that they are coming on- I pop a pill-- it takes 1/2 hr to kick in. I'm miserable for that 1/2 hr. but it's a small price to pay for having to take these.. The reason I don't take them everyday-I have built up a tolerance over time and I don't want to keep doing that. 1 dose at 50mg lasts about 2-3 days. I get my Dr. to write it out for qid. That way I can get 120 at a time, so I have reserves to put everywhere I go. Sorry, you have the same condition, but I'm glad that I am not the one who has to deal with it.
    Daih1234 responded:
    Am no expert. But I truly believe it is your diet. Please try a gluten free diet. Also if that doesn't help I myself have OAS so you could try eliminating raw fruit and veg. Please please try. Sounds so terrible what you are going through. Bless
    tpltwest replied to Blastoman's response:
    I know it has been a while since you posted this, but I too suffer from CU and and trying to find relief on my own. All doctors want to do is prescribe medications, I want to get to the root of the problem. I've read many people have gluten intolerance and I've recently cut all gluten from my diet; I'm on day six. Just wondering how long it took after you cut gluten from your diet that you noticed hives went away. Would it be immediate? Day six, no gluten but still hives.
    K4RL4Z replied to taiwanguy's response:
    Hi taiwanguy

    I too had chronic hives and did what you said re- water salt etc and it cured my hives "yay" !!! I just wanted to say "thank you " its amazing how simple a cure can be sometimes , I'm glad I didn't listen to my doctor about being no cure. There was no way I was going to live with that HORRIBLE itch

    Thanks again
    K4RL4Z replied to rpbutterfly's response:
    I did what taiwanguy said and my hives were gone within 6 weeks
    jlane91 responded:
    I had suffered from hives for six years until one doctor (an allergist) finally discovered that it was chronic urticaria. I am allergic to nearly everything.

    My doctor prescribed me several different medications and none seemed to work. However, after the fourth try, I found that the combination of 1 zyrtec, 1 claritin, and 1 colcrys (used to treat gout...the doctor said the antiflammatory helps) almost completely cured me! I take all three of these twice a day. I can live normally now and seldomly have hive breakouts.

    Of course I cannot guarantee this will work for everyone (and you need a prescription for the Colcrys), but I thought I would throw it out there!

    **Disclaimer: I'm not a physician or in the medical field - merely a college student
    Glorr22 replied to K4RL4Z's response:
    I have been suffering with hives for 9 years...Welts on my body and swelling of the eyes, lips cheeks, fingers, feet!!! Horrible, horrible to deal with especially the non-stop itching!!! AHHH!! It's embarrassing to have to explain to people the the swelling is caused by hives when they think I've been abused...sometimes I have to laugh about it... But over time this condition has caused me to feel depressed. I have good and bad days and through this experience I've learned that doctors don't know anything...they test you and medicate you with anti-histamines (I've tried them all) Been there..done that!!!

    I will try to take in more water!!! I don't drink a lot of it!!! This could be the answer to my prayers!!

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    Relief for urticaria
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