I forgot the last time I’ve posted in the forums. The last time I checked, it was around 2012 (way before this site update). I appreciate Hivesguy for keeping this site up to date for us CU Sufferers.
My brief story:
I’ve had cholinergic urticaria for almost 9 years now. This horrible skin problem began when I was in my junior year in High school. I was an active person, athletic built body that played ball when I had the chance everyday. I sweated, and everything was normal. I had a stressful junior year and have stopped playing ball due to exams etc.
I began spending more time indoors because I was stressed with school, and I eventually lived a sedentary lifestyle. My diet was Ok, as most of my food was homemade (I didn’t have the money to buy food). My first experience with CU began while I was in the shower. Hot steamy showers were (and still are) my favorite routine. I used to spend around 30 minutes to 40 minutes in the shower due to the stress relief it was giving me.
One summer night in the shower, I started to get these hives that felt like pins and needle. I couldn’t describe what they were; I thought it was something that I ate or some allergic reaction. I didn’t know it was a big deal, until it started to throughout my body (head to toe). These pins and needle would come whenever my body was hot (either by exercise, spicy foods or mood). I didn’t mind the hives, but the itching was unbearable and affected 90% of my active lifestyle. It added more stress into my life, and I had to do something about it.
Fast-forward a few months later in 2008: I decided to visit my physician, and was looking forward in getting a “cure” for this. To be honest, I thought I would walk out CU free. I think we all had that wishful thought. After explaining this condition to my doctor for 5 minutes or so, he started prescribing me these “antihistamine” Benadryl pills and corticosteroid lotions. I didn’t know much about them nor have I ever taken them. I didn’t matter to me. I walked out, went home and took them as prescribed for 3 weeks.
Both antihistamine and Benadryl did not work. I did have a temporary relief, but my body became immune to it. The only thing I got from the histamine was drowsiness. I stopped taking them since it was affecting my school. I went back to my doctor, and later requested to take a blood test. Two weeks later, I had a follow-up meeting. My tests result all came normal. I was devastated. My doctor later didn’t know what to do with me. I didn’t know what to do and told myself that it would eventually go away on its own. For 2 years, I’ve lived with CU and avoided anything that would trigger the hives. My overall confidence plummeted as I spent more time indoors feeling hopeless.
Fast forward Summer 2010: I woke up one morning, decided to do a few chores (though it was hot) and realized a drop of sweat on my forehead. I was shocked. There was no change on my diet. This was strange. Long story short, I was happy, started doing the things I wanted to do. I thought CU would never come back again. I was wrong.
Fast forward to Winter 2012: I had a stressful time in college and at work and did my utmost best to balance these out. CU creeps back during winter of 2012. I was devastated. CU came back like a vengeance, and it was 2008 all over again. Although this time, I wasn’t getting the hives, which again didn’t bother me. The only thing that bothered me was this awful, prickly, wavy pin and needle that I felt throughout my body.
I told myself “OK, this is ENOUGH, and I MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.” I spent countless hours and days in research to try to find out the proper medical name for this awful disease. I then stumbled on this site (formerly known as Heat hives). After reading the posts that Hivesguy was writing about, I finally came to a conclusion that “this is exactly what I have.” I was relieved knowing that I wasn’t the only one facing this awful problem (I thought it was on my head). The success stories and comments from other CU sufferers gave me hope.
Fast forward Summer 2013: After countless research, I realized that I was living a toxic life. Although I looked healthy on the outside, I wasn’t in the inside. I had high cholesterol (due to inactivity) and gained a few pounds. Around this time, my CU was not as intense as before. The prickly itchiness was still there but was not as intense, and rarely did it bother me. Maybe my body was getting used to the hot summer sun (I had to walk a few blocks to work, which gave me enough sun exposure). Also, sweating was a lot easier as well. I even thought I was vitamin D deficient. I was wrong.
Fast forward Winter 2013 to Spring 2014: CU was gone, I could sweat, laugh, live life like a normal person and was in remission for 7 months. Plus it was my senior year in college. I gained 15 pounds due to lack of exercise and bad diet, and had that fat belly. Again, there were no major changes in my life. I thought CU was gone. I was wrong, again.
Fast forward Winter 2014: CU creeps back in full force. Sigh. Not only did I have the prickly needles, the hives came back (just like 2008). Again, I was devastated. I decided to look at my diet to see whether I had food intolerance. I tried the (elimination) diet, juice fast, vitamins, candida cleanses, exercise. I tried everything! By the end of 2015, I lost 13 pounds (which was a lot for me) and became really skinny. My health was in great shape due to the healthy diet, but the CU was still there and kicking.
Spring 2015: I decided to visit the CU after 2 years, hoping that I would find a cure. I stumbled on a few posts on the CU site that mentioned the benefits of sweating. One of the post was the “Sweating with Cholinergic Urticaria: How to Sweat” article. After reading the comments I realized that there was a connection with sweating and CU. I remembered when I was in high school; I spent most of my days indoors due to stress and couldn’t find the time to exercise. I realized that whenever I force my body to sweat, it triggers my CU; however, the pins and needle eventually disappeared after sweating. I thought to myself, well, that’s interesting.
But deep down inside, I knew it would be impossible for me to sweat in 7 minutes, as I would be itching after two minutes of exercising. Another option was sweating through a sauna, a portable sauna that is. After reading a few success stories in how the sauna helped a few people with CU, I thought of giving a chance. “WHY NOT”? I thought to myself. I eventually ended up ordering the portable steam sauna in amazon for a killer deal of $119. The sauna came in a small box with the steam generator. It took me a few minutes to assemble it and used it immediately. To be honest, I was anxious. But here’s my experience:
1. After 5 minutes, as my body core temperature went up, the prickly itching sensation came at full force. Of course, it was expected. The 4 minutes was unbearable. I had second thoughts and wanted to jump out, and splash myself with cool water.
2. After 10 minutes in the sauna, the itchiness subsided. I realized that I was sweating due to the salty taste test.
3. After 15 minutes in the sauna, I felt relaxed, however, the hives were visible throughout. I sweated a lot. I’ve not sweat this much for 3 years. Imagine the toxic buildup!
4. After 25 minutes, the sauna went off. I haven’t felt this sense relaxation and forgotten what it feels to be hot or warm and sweaty.
5. Afterwards, I took a quick lukewarm shower. Got out, and moisture myself with a good, natural lotion.
6. I went to sleep, and had the best sleep ever. The next day, I work up feeling fresh and ALIVE. My body was moist; my skin was noticeably clear! I tried to exercise for 6 minutes, although I still had a slight itchiness, and I mean SLIGHT; it wasn’t as intense. PLUS, my hives went away! GONE. My body was more tolerant to heat. One point to note that you must take it slow, so that your body can adjust.
7. The same day, I decided to do another sauna session. This time, it took me 3 minutes to sweat, and the itchiness was a whole lot tolerable than the first.
Since my first sauna session, I’m feeling great. My hives are gone, the prickly itchiness is gone except a few slight itches here and there. I sweat more easily and faster. Now I am able to do daily heavy tasks and sleep. Overall, this is the BEST treatment for CU that I’ve experienced so far. I’m going to keep this up and see whether the mild itchiness subsided in a week or so.
If not, well I’m still going to keep at it. It’s better than dieting (for me), swallowing pills or other remedies, including exercising (exercising will take you more time). Sauna penetrates throughout your body, making sure that every pore is open, whilst flushing out the toxins. I will be bringing this portable sauna wherever I go.
Of course, always make sure to shower afterwards.
Let me know if you guys have any questions. Will keep you posted if any comes up.