I think I might have cholinergic urticaria. Here are my stats:
Height: 69.25 inches
Weight: 155 lbs
Duration: Have had it for about a month, and it happens all over my body, but usually on the upper torso.
So over the past month or so I have developed this mysterious condition and I’m not really sure why. At first as far as I can remember it started as slightly irritating itches on my wrists and arms with no sign of hives. As the days progressed I noticed it started to get worse, and eventually I started having hives and they were also associated with an extremely painful prickling pain that would radiate through my entire body.
These attacks usually happen at least once a day, and after I have a bad attack I usually won’t have another bad attack for the rest of the day. I can always feel when it is about to come on because my body starts to feel really warm, and my wrists or ankles start to itch. The pain from the attack usually lasts 2-5 minutes, and after that the other symptoms: itching and hives/rash, start to go away in the next 10-15 minutes.
Things that I have found to trigger these attacks seem to be situations that either make me anxious or stressful, and activities that require me to physically assert myself. For example sometimes when playing a video game that gets particularly intense I will start to itch a little, and if I don’t take a break an attack might occur. Even getting called out in a competitive game by another player has done it for me. If I’m out in public and get confronted by a stranger, whether it be the register clerk, or another customer in the store I will start to feel itchy on my chest. If I decide to go for a run, or do some sit-ups or push-ups it will also happen.
The weird part about all of this is that nothing ‘really’ has changed in my life. I haven’t introduced anything new into my diet. I don’t consider myself overly stressed. There is a couple of things though that happened that very well might be the reason I suppose. First off, this past Summer and this Fall I have rarely gone outside. I spent most of my time indoors in the dark for whatever reason. This leads me to believe that I might have a vitamin D3 deficiency, which when looking up my symptoms online was one of the many guesses people have of what could be causing it.
Second thing is that about 2 months ago I enlisted in the Navy. And really that is sort of when this all started happening. I can understand how a decision like that could be particularly stressing for someone, but like I said I don’t find myself worrying about this decision as I am quite excited. Or at least I think I am haha.
Anyway, I didn’t have any of these symptoms my entire life until a couple weeks after I went to MEPS and signed my contract. The thing is they did all sorts of medical tests there including blood work, so I would assume that something would have showed up if I was deficient or whatever. (Side note: You don’t suppose I could have contracted whatever this is there at MEPS with a bad needle do you?)
Anyways after suffering with this for a bit I started looking up everything that I could on the internet. All my efforts led me to this condition called Cholinergic Urticaria, which I guess is basically heat hives. After I found this I started realizing that I wasn’t really sweating that much anymore. And that most of the times that symptoms would show was when my body would start its process to sweat. Also when the attacks break out I try to relieve myself by sitting in front of a fan and holding an icepack to my neck. Then I realized that when I do work out, and I try to push through the pain that eventually I sweat and the pain goes away for the most part.
As far as treatments are concerned I’ve tried a few things. I attempted taking some antihistamines: Loratadine and Diphenhydramine, as those seemed to work for some people. Unfortunately for me that didn’t seem to be the case. One person suggested taking an H1 blocker with an H2 blocker, so I did with Diphenhydramine and Ranitidine which also didn’t seem to do anything. Granted I would try these things a few days at a time, so maybe I wasn’t sticking with it long enough.
Now as far as the vitamin D3 is concerned I started taking a daily multivitamin along with an additional D3 supplement, and I’ve still been taking these but I can’t say I feel any better. A lot of people with cholinergic urticaria seem to have benefited from going into to saunas to force the sweating. They say it hurts at first, but if you can knock it out of the way early in the day then you are good saying that your body takes awhile to recharge its histamine.
So I have been going into a steam sauna for a few days now, and yes it does cause me to itch all over after being in there for two minutes, but the strange thing is I notice no hives on my body. I should also mention that I have been going into a steam sauna, so I can’t really tell if I am sweating or not. I’m currently nervous to go into the dry sauna as it is public, and I’m afraid I will have an attack.
From what I have researched so far it seems that this condition happens when the part in your brain that regulates your body temperature sends out a chemical to cause your body to sweat. This chemical gets to where it needs to go, and it has a negative reaction with these things called Mast Cells which then release the histamine and cause all of the symptoms.
I should also mention that I recently emailed my family doctor, and he hasn’t been much help. He simply recommended me taking either Loratadine or Fexofenadine. Today I bought some Fexofenadine, but I am not confident that it will do anything.
So what should I do? This condition is making my life miserable. I also need to tell the Navy sometime soon, as I feel like it could be grounds for disqualification which I am really afraid of as I want to serve so badly. I have held of telling them thus far, as I was sure it was something that I could fix. Should I go see a dermatologist? For whatever reason I feel like this is less of a skin condition and more of an autoimmune condition. I’m thankful for any help anyone can provide, thanks.
Please feel free to ask anymore questions that you might have.
I get extremely painful red hives and itchiness all over my body when getting stressed or working out. The attacks don’t last long, and the hives disappear shortly after. I have a hard time sweating. I recently enlisted in the Navy, and this past Summer and Fall I was indoors primarily.