So this is my story with CU. I wanted to first say thank you to this amazing site, for it has been my oasis of knowledge about my condition. I also wanted to say to all of my fellow sufferers something that I’m sure you are aware of, you are not alone.
I’m 18 years old and a Freshman in College. When I was in high school, I was a tri-season Varsity athlete, and ran about 5 to 10 miles a day. Whenever I ran, I always got the prickly, “pins and needles” reaction, but I thought that was a normal part of sweating, and since no one else said anything, why should I? No one else believed me either when I told them because I was obviously “trying to get out of the workout”.
As you can imagine, my lifestyle changed quite a bit when I made the transition to college. First, I wasn’t running 5 to 10 miles a day. Second, I was on a college food diet, which is not the healthiest. Lastly, I was in a brand new environment, with new experiences, people, and allergens. My condition really accelerated in the Winter, where I would have 8 or 9 “episodes” a day. I would have to leave classes I loved because I was in so much pain and discomfort, and I decided this was not a way to live my college years.
I went to go see my doctor, and he was concerned and referred me to an allergist. This had been someone my family had seen for years, so I was excited to get down to the bottom of this Cholinergic Urticaria. First, I was prescribed an anti-histamine, with no luck. Then, I was prescribed Hydroxyzine, which I am currently taking, with mixed results. It reduced the frequency of my attacks, but increased the severity and pain due to the histamine build up being blocked.
I tried to explain to my doctor that I had done my research, and that I was fairly certain I had CU, but he didn’t believe me and asked “Who’s the doctor here?” Long story short, I have stopped seeing medical professionals about my condition and instead have decided to take matters into my own hands.
I have started the treatment checklist, and plan to work through it this summer, trying one variable at a time (Thanks, Ben). However, if there is one thing I’ve learned from reading about CU, is that is different from every single person who has it, and can be treated a million different ways. I think that my cause, if you will, was lack of exercise and healthy food, so I have started eating healthier and “sweating it out” every morning. I find myself being able to sweat easier in my workouts as well as later on in the day.
Lastly, I wanted to throw a theory out there and see what y’all think. I think that sweating is a action-potential phenomenon, and that since my threshold to sweat was higher in High School, so was my threshold to experience hives. When I got our of shape, though, my threshold for sweating came down a bit, and therefore so did my hives, making them more common in my everyday life. I have yet to delve into the research of this phenomenon, but plan to as soon as finals are over.
Thank you all for your time and patience, it is amazing to know that I am not alone in this endeavor.
Ty with Hives