My friend has recently been told she's got chronic hives. She gets the majority of the rashes at night which seems to be tamed by doxapin but its the swelling of the joints and pulsating zapping throughout her body which upsets her. Sometimes she can't even close her fist because the pain in her hands is too extreme. She's becoming depressed as she's being told a few different things from different gp's. she saw an intern specialist and came back negative on one test for lupus. She says the pain and itching becomes unbearable at night. are the swelling of the joints and zapping sensations common in cases of chronic hives?
Studies report that as many as 57.4% of patients with hives (urticaria) have the presence of thyroid antibodies. Thyroid panel tests include: TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), free T3, free T4, thyroid antibodies - thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb), and thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb).
"In conditions of chronic urticaria, thyroid antibodies are not only indicators of chronic inflammation, but they appear to play a role in the disease process. In most cases, improvement of urticaria with thyroxine replacement hormone suggests that chronic thyroid inflammation may initiate a hypersensitivity reaction and an underlying thyroid hormone deficiency.
However, rarely, patients with chronic urticaria have undiagnosed conditions of Graves' disease. Researchers in the UK have reported two instances in which patients with chronic urticaria and TPO antibodies responded well to the anti-thyroid drug carbimazole." - Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies - TPO Autoantibodies and Their Significance by Elaine Moore.
"In about half of patients with chronic idiopathic hives, the explanation is that body's immune system is, in a sense, overactive. The urticaria is "autoimmune". The immune system is attacking the normal tissues of the body and causing hives as a result. We know certain urticaria sufferers have other signs of autoimmune problems. Some have autoimmune thyroid disease, vitiligo, swollen joints, or certain abnormalities in the blood (especially the ANA test).
A new treatment has recently emerged for autoimmune urticaria. This is the use of hydroxychloroquine, a drug originally used for malaria. In a clinical trial 83% improved or cleared completely when used for three months or more." - American Osteopathic College of Dermatology - Urticaria
Red Star has a great idea for the cause of the hives.
I don't have an idea as to what is causing the hives but I do know that an oatmeal bath is wonderfully soothing to help with the itching and scratching. If you aren't trying this it can be very helpful. You can buy an over the counter oatmeal pre-mix or just put some oatmeal in an old nylon knee hi and put a knot it it so the oatmeal doesn't spill into the bath water. Throw the knee hi with oatmeal in the bath and squeeze the water through the oatmeal. The water turns sort of cloudy and it puts a layer of the oatmeal on the skin and boy it really helps. Don't use any soap and just soak until you feel better. When you get out don't rub your skin just pat dry. Cover with very loose clothing and repeat as often as needed even every night before bed.
Sometimes a cold pack also helps the pain and itching of the hives if they are driving you crazy. Don't use the cold pack too long in one place. I also found that if my skin was dry the hives were worse.
Thanks for the info; I'll mention the treatment to her but when I asked her about her Thyroid levels she said they were tested and everything was fine and within range.
The oatmeal bath would be a good thing for the time being. She's just really struggling and it's hard to watch her go through this.
I have this weird feeling that the key to all of this is that the majority of the flareups/allergic reactions are happening at night (no they're not allergies of bedding, etc) We ruled that out early on. Everything gets aggravated if she does things like running or any type of exertion.
I had another idea since rereading your original post. Would your friend do acupuncture? If so, look in your area for someone doing NAET. This is an allergy elimination acupuncture. I know it sounds weird but it does really help. They test what you are allergic to and then treat you with vials of the allergic item while doing the acupuncture. The idea is that the body then accepts this allergen as something that it doesn't need to respond to.
I have done this and it does work, they can treat many, many different allergens such as milk, grains,pollen,mold,smoke, fake sweetner, etc. This may help with the hives and if it is allergies then once the treatment is over the hives are over.
If you google NAET you can find a practitioner in your area. Prices for us were $60 first visit, then $45 each treatment after that. Insurance doesn't usually pay. We found it was worth it anyway and the problem was gone.
Just another idea, maybe someone else has another suggestion.
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