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Chronic Hives with Severe Flare Up
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Chronic Hives with Severe Flare Up

Hi Doctor,
I've been under the care of an allergist for the past 5 years for the treatment of hives from an allergy with an unknown source. I had been taking low doses of Zyrtec and Singulair (5 mg each) which seemed to keep them at bay. For the past 2 months, I've had a severe flare up which has been treated with a 6-day Prednisone patch, Allegra, and now 30 mg of Doxepin daily with no relief. In addition, I'm taking OTC Bendryl (200 mg) daily. With previous rare flare-ups, the Prednisone patch worked to clear up the hives and bring me back to 'normal'. The hives currently are all over my body, exaggerated by stress, with pain at times from my hands / feet swelling as well as the hives themselves. At times my face / lips swell as well, but no issue with breathing. I've been tested for RA with no significant positives and skin tested for specific allergies and I'm wondering what the next step should be? Should I see a dermatologist? I'd like to get relief soon and hopefully reduce the amount of meds as well. Thanks in advance!
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh my gosh!
I really cant believe this.  I hope that you get this.  For the past 11 years I have had this problem that no one can seem to figure out.  I get these bumps on my body that come and go.  Half of my lip will swell up about 3 times the norm size.  My knees some times swell.  My hands swell sometimes as well.  I have been to doc after doc trin to figure it out.  No one knows.  I do know that I had surgery one month ago, and it sent my body into problems!  I probably had 100 bumps one day.  They were gone the next morn though.  They have put me on chortizone, allegra, singulair... nothing helps.  I have tried seeing if it due to foods or additives I eat...nope.  I know one way that works though.  Being pregnant.  I have been pregnant twice, and each time I didn't get them the whole 9 months.  I really hope these are some of the same things that you have because it would be nice to know I'm not the only person with this problem.
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh, and I also would like to add that one thing that is really strange is that sometimes I will get just one finger tip that swells.  You are correct though that stress makes it worse because that would explain why when I had surgery I got so many.  One bad thing is that one doc put me on anti flam meds and one side effect is that it could cause seizures in some patients if you are pron to them. Well, it caused me to have one 10 years ago in my car while I was driving.
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Avatar_f_tn
I also had chronic hives from May 05 to Dec 06. I had them every day, at minimum on my hands and feet only, but on the worst days all over my body. It was horrible! They would itch and just looked gross to me...although no one else ever commented more than stating they were back. I found that antihistimines, steroids, and benadryl were useless. The only thing that helped was to hold ice packs on the affected area.

I started to chart when I got the hives, to what extent I had the flare ups, and what/if anything would help alleviate the pain. I discovered that the hives correlated directly to my monthly cycle!

I asked doctors (numerous) if there could be a relation and all said that they had never heard of it, blah, blah, blah. No one really took me seriously and I suffered because of it.

At the same time, I was trying to get pregnant. I, of course, had trouble conceiving and went on to have fertility treatments. I found that again the hives were more intense as I neared ovulation time and again just before my period. I also had hives with medications containing fsh (follicle stimulating hormone--the same hormone your body makes to ovulate). When I added progesterone each month, the hives would disapate quite a bit although not go entirely away.

That changed when I got pregnant in Decmeber. I haven't had a hive since! I ended up miscarrying the pregnancy in early January, but they still haven't been back. I am more convinced than ever that the hives are horomone related.

If you haven't checked your hormones, I strongly suggest it...you might find that a change in levels (due to aging or whatever) might be a reason.

I wish you luck. Hives are awful and I wouldn't wish them on anyone.

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Avatar_f_tn
Had my hormones checked.  They unfortunately said that they could not go by that because your hormone levels change so much every day of the month.  Had my uterus removed last month because I had so bleeding.  That is what caused this last case of problems with hives.  For the past 11 years I usually would get one or two bumps a day, but after I had my surgery that is when they got worse.  Stress does seem to make them worse.  Found a doc though that is going to run a bunch of tests on me.  Plus he is going to do this one test that has something to do with yeast in your body.  When I was younger I had been on antibiotics probably 30 times total over about 20 years due to upper resp. infections.  They are discovering that can cause an over growth of yeast in your body.  (Not in your vagina).  I guess we'll see how that pans out.  I am to the point though that I don't believe that anyone will figure out why this is going on.  I told my husband that if it finally kills me that maybe then they might figure it out.  Look up auto amune deases.
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Avatar_n_tn
I started having hives about 3 years ago...It started approximately 6 months after the birth of my 1st (and only) baby...about the time I started having a period again.  I went to doctors...dermatologists, allergists.  I took zyrtec daily and prednisone for several months to just get through the day!  Finally after 6 months of hives, one dr. tested my thyroid & hormones.  My thyroid antibodies were elevated and progesterone low.  I began thyroid tx and natural progesterone cream and about 4 months later, hives disappeared.  (10 months of hives total)  Now, 2 years later, I am trying to conceive once again and have discovered after using a fertility monitor and charting temps... that I have been actually taking the natural progesterone cream too early in my cycle (BEFORE I was to ovulate) and have been basically preventing my ovulation for the past two years.  Since I got that straightened out, and have begun ovulating again, I have started breaking out in hives again!!!  This is driving me crazy!  Anybody have any solutions???
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Avatar_f_tn
Good luck, I have been trying for the past 10 years to figure out what is wrong with me.  Docs don't know.  I get these bumps under my skin usually just one or two at a time.  They are raised, red, and hot to touch.  Sometimes one finger will swell.  Couple of weeks ago I had half of my lip swell.  No one knows.  I have started going to a doc that is going to check my hormones to see if that shows anything.  My hopes are set to high though.  Usually after I have surgery it gets really bad.  I just had a supercervical hysterectomy 2 and half months ago, and after that I got hives every where.  Oh, heres something funny.  My first child was conceived because the doc put me on cortizone for the hives and didn't tell me that it messes up the birth control pill.  he he.  She was due on my husband and my one year anniversary.  That was almost 5 years ago.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,  this is the first time I have posted a comment to any online site.  I too have hives.  I have had them for a year and 9 months.  I have to take prednisone to keep them in control-nothing else will work. (I' v tried tons of medications and herbal remedies)  
I just had an ablation on my uterus which removed the lining as well as a large polyp and a hugh fibroid.  I am hoping that this will cure my hives.   I have hives every day if I don't take the steroid  and they seem to be worse around my period.   However, I am determined I will get out of these hives and with a positive attitude and help from  God I will be healed.    

I'll keep you all posted on how my hives responded to my ablation.  

I will pray for all hive sufferers.

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Somehow I managed to delete what I wrote on this site....computer wiz, I am not.   I see there were several responses to what I had to say....I guess I deleted those too!!...5 months now in the "itchy club".....and after regiments of prednisone and most of the anti's many of you mentioned, I am still breaking out on a daily basis.   My worst out break was 15 minutes after a dose of benadryl...which was done on conjunction with other meds.....went right into my allergists's office while it was happening, and I watched him look at me on horror......he said I made his top ten list...they were the size of 50 cent pieces and growing together.....from my chin to the bottom of my feet, I was covered.......one thing now for sure, the dye in the benedryl made things worse.   The very first time I had these awful things, I was on penicillin....years ago.....second time I was exposed to penicillium mold.....now, somewhat of a mystery.   All 5 of the doctors I have seen seem to concur on one thing....I am a gardener....two days after I was bitten by an unusual ant, my wrists were insanely itchy, and my hands were flaming red.   Too coincidental not to be related......but the million dollar questions is, why 5 months later do I still have outbreaks.........maybe it is like Murphy's law.....something upsets the applecart and everything goes haywire....things that would not ordinarily bother the system, now do.......logical maybe,  People mentioned stomach problems....which I too have had
dealings with over the years.....which makes sense.....that is where most of the immune system is located.    My blood work shows I am a very healthy woman.......However, now it seems I may have a sinus infection....and now I can add to the list an antibiotic!     It's tough, most people, have no clue what this affliction is REALLY all about.......
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Avatar_n_tn
Hives can be due to a hormone imbalance.  If you have unexplained hives, have your thyroid tested.
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179332_tn?1273250959
Candida Albicans can cause everything you have all written about ((that is the yeast laura is talking about above)) antibiotics, exposure to molds, low immune systems, all can cause naturally occuring candida to OVER grow and make you very sick!! ((BELIVE ME!))  Best of luck to everyone!!
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Avatar_n_tn
I had chronic hives for years.  After visiting every type of doctor out there and cutting out all sorts of foods & products - it was FINALLY determined that I had systempic Lupus.  Please look at that as an option.  I spent years with hives from head to toe, swollen lips, eyes - even toes!  For 3 years my ANA test was negative - turns out that's relatively common with Lupus.  I recommend that you see a good Rheumotologist.  Mine literaly saved my life - and definately my sanity.  Chronic hives will make you crazy!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there,

Just reading this post it sounds SO familiar. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for 18 months (no reason found for our failure to conceive) and 1 failed round of IVF (1 frozen embryo left). I randomly developed urticaria/hives about 6 years ago and was told by my immunologist that I have idiopathic urticaria however I have since realised I have a severe allergy to salicylates and the hives are also much worse around the time of ovulation each month. Did you ever find out if there was a relationship between your infertility and the hives and if so what did you do that helped? I see you now have children so that gives me hope.

Thanks.
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Avatar_m_tn
Look up Autoimmune Progesterone Dermatitis.  A rare condition where you get hives from imbalance in hormones.  Usually occuring a week to 10 days before your period.   Stress is related because your cortisol levels increase before your period as well.  This December will be four years I've been dealing with chronic ideopathic uticeria.  Been to a dozen doctors and most didn't believe it was hormone realted either.  I beg to differ since it didn't start until going off Depo that I was on for 13 yrs.   Found specialist that deals with APD and still looking into things.  The cure is birthcontrol and steriods.  All things you can't have to get pregnant.  The hives go away while pregnant and nursing, but come back after nursing.  Good Luck Everyone!
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Avatar_m_tn
I quit my job and then surprisingly became pregnant. Reducing stress from work helped since we were told we couldn't conceive without assistance.  Son is now healthy happy 9 month old but still dealing with hives.  I just posted for people to check out Autoimmune Progesterone Dermitatis.  It may be a search in itself to find doctor that knows about it though.
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