Questions about hives - what's triggering them? what type of doc to see? best treatment?

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mbw1103
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 8/16/2009 6:45 PM (GMT -6)   

Today is the start of week four with hives – I get 3-5 new hives a day and each one lasts about 4 days.  Reading through some of the other posts, what I have seems minor in comparison, but when they start itching to the point of hurting it gets to be unbearable.   I didn’t start using/eating anything in the weeks leading up to when the hives started.  About a month before they started, I had strep throat and the same day that the hives started I started with a flare of Crohn’s.  The internist I saw thought they may be auto-immune (at that point all the hives were on top of joints…they’ve spread now but still cluster on joints...I also have auto-immune arthritis); my dermatologist thought they were either a delayed reaction to the strep or to the antibiotic I took.  I'm leaning towards auto-immune because they seem to get worse with stress.  Is there any way to pinpoint what’s causing them (I’m thinking it will be easier to treat them if I knew the source)?  Is the dermatologist the best doctor to be seeing or should I be seeing some other type of doctor?

I’ve tried a few anti-histamines (Claritin, Zyrtec and Xyzal) but they just seem to give temporary relief.  Zyrtec was the best – giving me about 4 hours of relief, but it also knocked me out and made me sleepy for a day and a half afterwards, so that wasn’t an option (I don’t do well with sedating medications).  I’ve also tried a number of topical ointments (Rx strength steroid creams, Benadryl spray, calamine lotion and lidocaine spray) – at most I get a few seconds of relief from these.  I have another appointment to see my dermatologist on Tuesday – short of other anti-histamines which tend to be sedating (not an option for me) or oral steroids (also not an option for me – bad reaction), are there other treatments?  (Also, can’t take Allegra….believe it or not, I’m allergic to it J).

Thanks in advance,
Melissa


33 - Diagnosed with Crohn's in Nov. '05
Current Meds: Apriso, Methotrexate, Pamine Forte, Aciphex, Domperidone, Folic Acid, VSL#3, lots of vitamins/supplements
Gluten free since Aug. '03


Red_34
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   Posted 8/16/2009 7:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I can't really comment whether or not these hives are due to an auto immune issue. But the doc you should find is an allergist. He/she can help you find your allergen if it is an allergen. Have you started any new medications lately? Even if you haven't, allergic reactions can occur at any time regardless of your history. Do you suppose it might be shingles? A dermatologist just deals with skin conditions and what you need is an allergist to do some testing on you.
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mbw1103
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 8/16/2009 7:28 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Sherry.  The last new med I started was about two months before the hives started (I've taken other forms of the medication for about 3.5 years now though).  Other than that, I took an antibiotic about a month before that is not part of my normal routine, but something that I've taken previously without problems.  I started a new med a few days after the hives started; since it's a suppository and I started it after the hives, doctors I've spoken to feel there's little risk of it contributing. 
 
Shingles crossed my mind, but looking at the symptoms on the internet, I don't fit the profile....the only symptom that matches up is the hives.  That was why I saw my internist first...I figured if it wasn't really hives (i.e., shingles or something else), the internist would pick up on it.
 
Thanks for the advice...I'll look for an allergist and will keep my fingers crossed that I find a solution.
 
Melissa
33 - Diagnosed with Crohn's in Nov. '05
Current Meds: Apriso, Methotrexate, Pamine Forte, Aciphex, Domperidone, Folic Acid, VSL#3, lots of vitamins/supplements
Gluten free since Aug. '03


stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 8/17/2009 6:36 PM (GMT -6)   

MBW,

Hey there, this is Kitt.  Hives and strep throat can go together.

Hives affect an estimated 20 percent of the population at one time or another in their lives. An episode of hives can start as itching, followed by swollen, red welts. The itching may be mild or severe. Scratching, alcohol beverages, exercise, and emotional stress may worsen the itching.

An episode of hives may last from a few minutes to several hours to several days to several weeks. Each individual welt should last no more than 24 hours.

You have a complicated history so discovering what is causing the hives will not be easy.  I hope you get rid of your hives soon.

Please let us know if you are able to pin point the cause of the hives.

Kindest regards,

Kitt


 

Kitt,
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mbw1103
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 8/17/2009 9:58 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the info Kitt.  I'll see what the dermatologist says tomorrow and will also probably make an appointment to see an allergist (I have an office scoped out, just didn't get a chance to call today).  Once I figure out what's going on, I'll post again.
 
Melissa
33 - Diagnosed with Crohn's in Nov. '05
Current Meds: Apriso, Methotrexate, Pamine Forte, Aciphex, Domperidone, Folic Acid, VSL#3, lots of vitamins/supplements
Gluten free since Aug. '03


mbw1103
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 71
   Posted 8/21/2009 11:57 AM (GMT -6)   
I just came back from the allergist and finally feel like I'm making some headway.  He suspects neutrophilic urticaria (hives caused by the white blood cells in the mast cells).  I just had some blood work done and will have a biopsy of the hives done next week to rule in/out neutrophilic urticaria.  In the meantime, he said to continue with the anti-histamines.  If the biopsy comes back postive, he'll start me on Plaquenil in addition to the anti-histamines.
 
Thanks for your help in pointing to the right type of doctor!
 
Melissa
33 - Diagnosed with Crohn's in Nov. '05
Current Meds: Apriso, Methotrexate, Pamine Forte, Aciphex, Domperidone, Folic Acid, VSL#3, lots of vitamins/supplements
Gluten free since Aug. '03

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