First of all, I am not even sure what I really suffer from. My specialist diagnosed CU, but I have never had problems with hot showers, baths, blankets or just sitting in the sun. The hives, stinging, tickling irritation only arises as soon as I begin to exercise. Heat, stress or nervousness seem to elevate symptoms, but don’t give rise to them by themselves.
CU probably started when I was around 15/16 – I noticed that when doing sports at school, I sometimes had a few red dots on my skin. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but over months and years the symptoms worsened significantly. Now, I cannot play sports without being covered in red hives from head to toe, and I’m sure you are all too familiar with the effects on performance, self-confidence, mental and physical well being …
Occasionally I experience dizziness too, which worries me, since I fear that one day I may have an anaphylactic reaction. Having said that, my specialist was adamant that I do not suffer from exercise induced anaphylaxis.
I have explored various solutions, including most antihistamines (cetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine, chlorphenamine, … ). Sometimes I feel that they help and alleviate symptoms slightly, but on other days I take 5 tablets of fexofenadine, only to get covered in red hives. I had allergy/intolerance testing to look for a potential link to foods and it suggested increased IgG reaction to dairy, wheat, some nuts, yeast. I did this privately, behind the back of my specialist, since she was convinced diet could not be a potential cause. I try to avoid the above foods as much as I can, though as a student trying to enjoy life, realistically this is near-impossible. Furthermore, I have not found a restricted diet to help particularly, though perhaps symptoms improve slightly. I generally find it very difficult to determine whether something helps, as I feel that there are too many potential factors and unknowns.
I’ve read a lot about answers/solutions, suggesting leaky gut, starting to exercise daily to build up a resistance, putting up with it and hoping to grow it out, stronger medicines eg doxepine, montelukast, dietary changes such as reducing salt, carbs, … but I feel I have tried most without success. I read here that some are suggesting a link to yeast abundance in the gut – could this be linked to my positive allergy test for yeast?
Having trawled through the forum, I should really consider myself lucky, since I can get through a normal day at university with just a few red dots. However, I just moved to a hot country and as a sports fanatic and somebody who enjoys socializing and going out, it’s been plaguing me lately.
All the best!