Hello, I am new to the community, and hoping to get a few opinions from people who might have an experience similar to mine.
I am a 25 year old female who has suffered from what was originally diagnosed as pressure urticaria by my primary physician, about
five years ago. At the time, I was breaking out in massive plaques of hives, especially where my bra straps/underwear pressed on my skin as well as on the pads of my feet and hands. They seemed particularly affected by heat/lots of physical activity. Antihistamines seemed to work just fine at controlling them, and I have been taking Zyrtec almost daily ever since.
In the meantime, things have gotten a little stranger. I have had children since my urticaria was diagnosed, and this seems to have changed the ballgame entirely. My hives can manifest as an internal pain, where my joints and muscles ache and sometimes swell, especially in my hands, wrists, and pads of feet (almost a carpal tunnel-like tenderness). This is especially true when I have been walking/running, or working with my hands, for an extended period of time. I've also started keeping a food diary as certain foods/drinks have been noted to set off my reactions - particularly red wine, beer, and certain types of bread. I have been repeatedly discouraged by my physician in pursuing an allergy panel, for, according to him, 80% of urticaria causes are never discovered. He did give me an 8-day course of Prednisone, to attempt to knock my histamines back into shape, though I didn't really notice a big difference after a few weeks.
I guess I am not being assertive enough with him; I know I need to see an allergist. On the to-do list, like everything else.
At any rate, I still take Zyrtec daily, and this seems to keep the majority of the obviously urticaria-related symptoms at bay. I've sort of adjusted to just living with it.
Five months ago, I had an attack of what I thought was GERD, which I had never experienced before. It literally felt like I had a wedge of food stuck behind my breastbone; I thought I wasn't chewing my food enough. My esophagus feels like it is constricting, in waves, sometimes so intense I actually gag and vomit up foam (not acidic at all, as if it does not come up from my stomach). These episodes last 24-48 hours, where any sort of solid food only exacerbates the situation, and I can't sleep or do much of anything else. I have an incredibly hard time swallowing. There is no heartburn/acidic burning to accompany these attacks, though I do burp often (they just seem like "air" though, no foul taste or odor). I've only experienced these episodes 3-4 times in five months, however, the one I suffered this weekend was so thoroughly intense I wound up going to urgent care and getting a steroid injection to calm it down (absolutely helped, until I ate something solid the next day, and it started all over again). Ingesting Prilosec, Zantac, nor apple cider vinegar doesn't seem to do anything for me, thus my doubts that it is acid reflux-related.
I can't pinpoint a trigger. I had a Quizno's sandwich over 24 hours before the attack started and all I can think is that the wheat bread did something!?
Honestly, this entire experience has me exhausted. I have never had a food allergy in my life before I turned 20; I am a fairly healthy person with no other conditions. Does ANY of this sound familiar to ANYONE? I am particularly interested in whether anyone has suffered complications with esophageal stricture in relation to their urticaria. Please share your story!
Thank you, thank you, in advance, and namaste.