A few years ago, when I was 18 years old (before getting this heat rash), I noticed this strange lump on my lower back. It wasn’t very noticeable, but I could feel it with my hand. It felt a little tender. I was concerned about it, so I decided I better go to the doctor and check it out. The doctor looked at it, and said it could be suspicious. I opted to go ahead and have it surgically removed and biopsied to see if it was a cancerous or non-cancerous tumor. They completely removed it, and it turned out to be something called an angiolipoma.
What is An AngioLipoma or Lipoma?
A lipoma is simply a non-cancerous fatty tissue growth that has built up under the skin (a tumor). An angiolipoma is basically the same thing as a lipoma, with one main difference: Angiolipomas have blood vessels in them. So Angiolipomas (what I had), are simply these small lumps that develop in tissues or under the skin. They are firm and have a cyst-like appearance. Sometimes they are sensitive or tender. In some cases, they may not hurt at all.
They aren’t usually harmful in any way. Just like moles are usually harmful. They are just under your skin. They only thing is that sometimes that can be “ugly” and people may want them removed for cosmetic reasons. Sometimes, they may grow in tissues or parts of the body that make them necessary to remove (such as the eye or organ).
Anyways, back to my story for a minute. I had the angiolipoma removed from my back. It was sorta freaky, but I was glad to have it gone. It never has re-appeared or anything. However, I now have discovered SEVERAL of these things on different parts of my body. Some are easy to see, others took a very careful examination to find. I have several on my arms (usually small, but a couple of “pea” sized ones). I also have some on my stomach, side, back, and a couple on my thighs as well. Most of them are not noticeable at all. My wife has never seen them until I pointed them out. I didn’t see many myself, and only felt them after careful examination.
Another bit of good news is that during my research, I stumbled upon a medical article and a guy was 80 and had several of these on his body and had them for years. The good news is the number—80. That means “hopefully” it isn’t going to shorten my life span or anything. Most people say they are completely harmless anyways, and there is no known connection with these and any other disease.
Picture/Image of 2 Angiolipomas on My Right Arm:
After doing some research, I found that it is quite normal for people that have these to have several (multiple lipomas). I read some forums where some people wrote that they have had 40 or 50 cut out. Some have hundreds on their body. Luckily, I think I have about 10-20, but some are so small that they are not even noticeable at all. Others are only barely noticeable. They usually don’t grow to a large size, but you can always have them removed if they get too large.
One thing I found interesting is that these are “autosomal dominant.” If a disease is autosomal dominant, it means you only need to get the abnormal gene from one parent in order for you to inherit the disease. One of the parents may often have the disease.
I later found out that my mom has a couple of these, and apparently my dad also had several removed from his back in his younger years. So apparently I got scammed by my parents in the “lump” department! Thanks a lot mom and dad!
Could Angiolipomas be Related to Cholinergic Urticaria?
Of course, my mom or dad has never had cholinergic urticaria, and they have these lipomas. So obviously everyone that has these things don’t have cholinergic urticaria. But it makes me wonder, if they could be related to cholinergic urticaria in some way. Here are 2 ways it could be related:
- A bad “gene” in the skin or tissues is also a gene that controls CU. This is one way it could be related.
- Or a person with a lipoma, angiolipoma, or other non-cancerous tumor may develop a random tumor on a gland, organ, or other tissues that could lead to cholinergic urticaria in some way (i.e. it could over-produce histamine or something).
I seem to have gotten a “double dose” of whatever gene causes this condition since both my mom and dad had it.
One thing that really grabbed my attention was a post I read on one forum. A person said they had an MRI done (kind of like an x-ray), and this is what they said:
“Doctor said I have “several” angiolipomas on my liver and kidney! OMG, I’m worried.”
I found this interesting because I always thought of angiolipomas as being on the skin or just under the skin. But apparently they can even occur in deep tissues or organs such as a kidney. So it is always possible that I have one of these things internally on some organ or gland, and that is messing up my system. So perhaps it is at least possible that there is a tumor or gland issue causing this? At least in some cases? Maybe it is different for everyone? Maybe it has nothing to do with it?
Could Angio-Lipomas Be Related to Gluten Intolerance or Allergies?
I have no idea if I even have a gluten intolerance or not. I am on a gluten and milk-free diet at the moment to see if it helps the hives at all. So far I am not seeing positive results for the hives (although my skin rash has completely gone away). But I have only been on it for not even 1 month so far. I will need to do it for a few months to know for sure.
But I was “googling” angiolipomas and it brought up a forum up with people talking about lipomas and gluten. Perhaps there could be an association with food allergies? Or maybe it is nothing more than a mere coincidence, and gluten has nothing to do with it? Who knows?
Conclusion: Angiolipomas Are Harmless (Usually)-But Could They Be Related to Hives?
Maybe in a few years I will get some of these I have noticed cut out of me. I have to wait until I get some kind of health insurance first. Sometimes I think maybe it would be helpful to have just a full body MRI and PET scan to see if there are any unusual tumors, or increased glands in my body that could be related to this cholinergic urticaria condition.
It sure would be nice to have a surgery and be done with this torture called cholinergic urticaria hives once and for all!
Gluten Free/Milk Free Diet Update:
The diet is going great. I am basically eating out of a crock-pot about 4 days a week now. It is easy to cook with, and tastes great. My rashes are all gone, my skin looks better, but the hives are still there so far. I have had a few itchy episodes these past few days.
It may or may not be related to gluten or milk, but it is definitely worth trying for a few more months to make 100% sure.
UPDATE: 1/21/13 This is an old archived post, and I have made more recent posts regarding my new diet and how I was able to finally get my hives under control. Read more about it on my cholinergic urticaria diet page. What I essentially did was keep a journal and do several allergy elimination diets.