Unexplained hives

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2013
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 12/26/2013 9:39 AM (GMT -6)   
I am a 20yo female with no significant medical history until last fall, when a couple small hives broke out on my trunk. I was busy with college finals and the holidays and really just ignored then (bad idea I now realize). Over Christmas and New Year's it progressed to showing up all over my body and even occasional swelling in my lips. The only triggers I could identify were that it was worst when I first woke up. Dealing with this at that time of year was not fun-to say the least.
Procrastination only worsened the severity, and I finally broke down and saw an allergist in February. He did all the scratch tests (upwards of $600), but nothing came out significantly abnormal. I kinda question the validity of that stupid test. When diet, body wash, and laundry detergent alterations didn't show any improvement, he started me on allergy shots. They did work, but it was such a hassle to come in every week, and the shots weren't cheap either.
Long story short, when I came home for the summer (different state), I tried to get my allergist to transfer my serum for the shots to someone in my hometown so I could continue taking them. No allergist would agree to resume the shots without an initial checkup, so I found a new allergist. She looked at the results of my test and said that she really didn't think allergy shots were necessary and that she has seen numerous other cases similar to mine clear up with simple over-the-counter medicines. Obviously, I was excited for this possibility and started taking Allegra and Benadryl at night. Unfortunately, it wasn't working. To this day, the only symptoms I've had are body-wide hives and mild-moderate facial swelling. But it was still miserable. I'd wake up in the middle of the night scratching because of the incontrollable itching. I was wearing tights, sweaters, and scarves in June to hide the unsightly marks.
After trying out different OTC meds under my allergist's supervision, she suggested trying an egg & milk-free diet. Everything cleared up almost entirely by day #2. It was awesome. Unfortunately, it didn't stay that way for long. Going back to college (it's probably aggravated by stress) caused some major flare-ups, and I am currently on a very strict diet but still having issues.
There are days when I want to give up. I really miss ice cream and cheese, and I'm beginning to worry about the long-term effects of taking so many medications (several rounds of Prednisone have been inserted over the past year due to necessity). But, I have hope that if I attempt to control the stress in my life (get enough sleep, exercise, water, etc) and maintain a healthy diet, this will become manageable. I miss being normal, but I know that this happened for a reason, and that I am not alone in this.
Thanks to anyone who makes it through this long post, and any suggestions/questions/comments are greatly appreciated. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one, and I love the idea that we can share our thoughts and try to help each other out.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23551
   Posted 12/26/2013 10:08 AM (GMT -6)   
If you have no or insignificant environmental or seasonal allergies, take a look at your diet more closely. I suggest you do a food diary, write down everything you eat and see if you notice an increase of hives and itching after eating certain foods. Another well known culprit for causing reactions is gluten. Have you tried a gluten free diet to see if it helps? Sulfites can also cause issues in sensitive people.

I have issues with intense itching at night - no known cause. It interferes with my sleep and after being sleep deprived, I started using medicated Gold Bond Anti-itch cream before going to bed. It doesn't smell the greatest but it works incredibly well.
Moderator-Allergies/Asthma, Alzheimer's, IBS, Co-moderator-UC
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Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 17822
   Posted 12/26/2013 10:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Stress can do this too. I was a teacher and was having the faculity Christmas party at my home one year. I worked myself into a frenzy and the day of the party I woke up to hives all over my body. I itched my way through the party and for a couple of weeks after. I did take oatmeal baths (Aveeno) and they did help with the itching.

I know your hives have lasted longer but you are also under a lot of stress in your life. So if your doctor can't find a source, and you can't find relief in changing your diet, this could possibly be the cause. Hope you do get relief soon.


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God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
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