I have trawled the net for hundreds of hours listing all the causes and cures for hives (chronic urticaria or CU) that people and studies have reported and I list them below along with my opinion formed from all that I have read.
I would like you to imagine a seesaw, which represents your immune system. When your seesaw is straight, your immune system is balanced and you have good health. But your seesaw has been tipped into ill health by some of the [b]Causes[/b] in the list below. What you have to do now is find out which of these are the major items causing your urticaria and remove them so that you can balance your seesaw again. To give yourself the best chance of strengthening your immune system, you should start piling some [b]Cures[/b] on to the other end of the seesaw to help get the balance right, because you can’t always find or remove all of the [b]Causes[/b].
People wrote that one or more of the following were [b]Causes of their Hives[/b]:
Allergy/sensitivity to any prescription drug or interaction of drugs,
Aspirin & salicylates (also in food, spices, herbs, toothpaste, teething gels),
penicillin (also in milk and beef),
Stress induced hives (Adrenergic Urticaria has white halos round the wheals)
herbal remedies and supplements (often their additives),
diet drinks, sugar substitutes,
artificial colourings and chemicals in food,
cleaning chemicals, aroma sticks, hair dye,
food colourings, preservatives, MSG,
Autoimmune Thyroid Disease
Helicobacter Pylori (H.Pylori)
Yeast (Candida albicans) or other fungal infections
Unknown Bacterial infections, such as sinus, tooth abscesses
Parasites (even if never abroad)
Celiac disease – may not show symptoms
Heavy metal poisoning, especially mercury (in fillings) and nickel in all jewellery
[b]Physical Urticaria[/b] – weals last no more than two hours, except for delayed pressure urticaria. Known triggers: cold, heat, exercise, sweating, water, sunlight, rubbing, pressure, delayed pressure, vibration, dermographia (skin writing). Sometimes two of these must be present to trigger hives, such as exercise in the cold, but not in the heat.
People wrote that one or more of the following were [b]Cures for their Hives[/b]:
Reduce Stress (way bigger cause than anyone imagined)
Relaxation techniques, Hypnosis tapes, Meditation, Yoga, Prayer,
20 minutes of sweat exercise per day, Adequate rest,
Elimination diet (to determine allergies, then avoid them),
H.Pylori (definitely be tested for this),
Parasites (another definitely be tested, especially Blastocystis hominis and any other related to the area you live in. Human Toxocariasus has been found, and Anisakis simplex (avoid eating fish for 3 months to see if CU improves.),
Thyroid (another definitely be tested even if no symptoms),
Gluten free diet (easy to try, often Celiac Disease has no symptoms),
Failsafe Salicylate free diet (will relieve symptoms if sensitive to aspirin, but keep looking for other Cures),
Yeast free diet (Yeast, Candida albicans, or other fungal infections were a common Cause with no symptoms),
Histamine free diet
Probiotics, fermented foods
Removal of chemicals from home (use vinegar, bi carb, pure soap instead)
Giving up fast food and eating whole foods (avoid food with added chemicals),
Yellow Dock and other herbs, (use only if definitely not salicylate sensitive)
Drinking lots of filtered water (fluoride and dehydration suspected),
pH balance, apple cider vinegar,
Fish oil supplements, vitamins (free from additives),
Removal of infected tooth, Sinus infection treated.
Some of these [b]Cures[/b] seem minor and not worth bothering about, such as, how can a walk in the park cure my chronic hives? It won’t, but if you add enough of these [b]Cures[/b] on to the seesaw at one end, and take away enough of the [b]Causes[/b] at the other end, you will tip the balance back into your favour. This is the main point of this post, just help your immune system enough to get it back on track, and it will start looking after you again. You will also start heading towards better health, not away from it.
Where do drugs fit into all this? Hives are a symptom of something else going on, and you may be lucky that antihistamines (or a combination) will mask the symptoms, but they will not cure you. So by all means, give them a go, but you will still have to rebalance your immune system. You should be aware that in some people antihistamines have severe side effects such as mood changes and the terrible itch of withdrawal. Steroids short term can help some people but seem to have a rebound effect, and immunotherapy seems to be useful for some people, although it is very new in the treatment of urticaria.
Hives are also present in a large number of other conditions (some very rare) which are usually diagnosed due to other symptoms, and are especially suspect if anyone else is the family has had the condition. Some are:
Autoimmune progesterone dermatitis (APD) especially, but not always, if your CU seems related to pregnancy or menstruation.
Cholestasis, this can also occur with pregnancy.
Urticarial vasculitis (wheals last longer than 24 hours and leave bruises)
This is my opinion and all that I know, so I really am unable to answer your questions. If you wish to know more, use the words above to search the net for answers. The very best of luck and let us know of your success.