Apparently there is some type of allergen in our apartment. I have often remarked in other posts how I sometimes get these very small patches of itchy skin (eczema). The patches themselves are barely noticeable, and only located on my upper arms. But they are there and always lightly itch. They always annoyed me, but I never really give them much thought.
Now, my wife’s chest, back, and arms also have a very similar type of eczema like I get on my arms, and this started a little over a week ago. It itches, but again, isn’t anything major. She does NOT have Cholinergic Urticaria though.
But is interesting because apparently something is causing us both to now have this eczema/dermatitis response. I have tried to pin down the possible cause, but I have no clue.
We did recently try a new brand of detergent, but it was a brand by ALL that has no dyes or chemicals, and it says it is hypoallergenic. Plus, I have had the rashes long before we bought that.
We also had a new body wash/lotion we have been using for the past 2 months. But again, I can’t conclusively show that either of them are causing the rashes either.
Other than that, the only other possible things I can think of are: Food allergies, or something in our water. I have no idea what is causing this, but I find it incredibly strange. Especially since my wife now also has some of these small patches.
They look nothing like ringworm or any other type of infection. It just looks like a typical light rash, which itches when scratched. I swear, sometimes I wonder if perhaps there is too high of a concentration of a chemical in the water, and that could be a culprit to the hives/rashes. Oh well, I guess time will tell.
UPDATE: Eczema Rash on Chest is Gone!
In a recent post, I talked about how my wife had recently developed a strange eczema-type rash on her chest and back. Just to recap, this rash slowly developed over a period of a few weeks, until the rash was getting quite noticeable, and really bothering her.
She was really starting to get aggravated about the rash. She would be sitting in bed, and then start scratching her back, and then her chest. It was itching her quite a bit in her sleep as well.
She also said that while she was at work, it would get itchy, especially when she would get heated. I found that interesting, and in fact, many people with eczema also get really itchy when they get hot. However, I don’t think it is quite such as “prickly” sensation like Cholinergic Urticaria. I think it is more of a typical itch.
I jokingly told her to amplify her rashes by about 1,000 times and then she can know what it is like to live in my skin (and the rest of you). I think it helped her relate to my hives a bit more, as she felt first hand how uncomfortable itchiness can be (although it was still nothing compared to hives).
What Caused My Wife’s Rash on Her Chest and Back?
When my wife first started to get this rash, I was really shocked. My wife has always had gorgeous skin. It is the really clear and smooth type, that has really nice glow to it. In fact, I compliment her all the time on her awesome skin. She never seems to have an issue with eczema, itching, or anything like that.
So whenever she got the rash, I was perplexed. I didn’t really put much thought into it at first, thinking that it may pass or something. But after it started to get progressively worse, I started to give more serious attention to it.
So we started thinking of everything that could potentially be causing her rash & itching. We thought perhaps it was a new detergent we got, but it was supposedly a “hypo-allergenic” brand with no artificial chemicals or scents (made by ALL Brand). So we shot down that idea.
Then, we thought perhaps the shampoo, but she had used that before and had no issues. Then we considered lotion, but she had been using that for a couple of months with no issues. We thought and thought, and couldn’t figure anything out.
But I knew that rashes just don’t pop out of the blue. Something was causing this to happen, and the fact that it kept getting worse made me realize we need to figure it out soon. My logical type of thinking always makes me want to “solve the puzzle.” Perhaps that is one reason why CU has been driving me so crazy, I haven’t yet been able to “solve it.”
Anyway, I kept pondering and pondering about my wife’s rash. I tried to rack my brain to think of anything that has ever caused her to get a rash or reaction. Then suddenly, I remembered that several years ago, she had this cinnamon flavored toothpaste at her mom’s house. When she would use it, her lips would get red and a little puffy.
So I briefly thought about Cinnamon. I also remembered how when she ate cinnamon gum, it would also cause a slight redness around her lips. So naturally, my thoughts were, “If she gets that kind of reaction from cinnamon on her mouth, then she must be allergic to it. Do we have anything cinnamon she has been eating lately?”
Bingo. I then started thinking about how she recently switched her breakfast meal. She normally eats those Eggo Waffles with syrup. However, she had recently been eating a new cinnamon kind. Furthermore, she also started buying applesauce, and surprise, it too had cinnamon in it. This all happened right at the same time as the rash (give or take a few weeks).
So I jumped up with excitement, and said, “I know what is causing this babe!” She was like, “What?” in a somewhat skeptical tone. And I proceeded to tell her my theory. I reminded her of the cinnamon reactions she had in the past, and then pointed out that her rashes began about 1-2 weeks after she started eating all the new foods with cinnamon in it.
She thought about it for a few seconds and said, “Oh my gosh Ben, I think you are right.” So she completely cut the cinnamon out of her diet, and her rash slowly improved. It is now completely gone! She is 100% back to normal! So cinnamon was definitely the cause, and once that was gone, so was the rash.
Of course, I have been really happy about it (after all, I solved the puzzle, and prevented further suffering for my wife). I have been rubbing it in her face and saying, “You’re the big RN nurse, but yet I was the mastermind that figured out your rash.” Of course, I am totally joking, but it is fun to play around like that with her. She just replies, “Your right Bennie-Bob, you cured me.” I know, Bennie-Bob is corny, but I like how she calls me that.
Relating Cholinergic Urticaria to My Wife’s Eczema
My wife’s little rash experience was certainly nothing like CU. Cholinergic Urticaria symptoms are way worse, more painful, more itchy, etc. However, this whole experience has really got me thinking.
If I had never figured out that cinnamon was the cause of my wife’s rash, she would have kept eating the foods that were stressing out her system. Her rashes would have persisted, and she would have been miserable for the whole summer, possibly longer. She would have had the rash until one day, by accident, she stopped eating the cinnamon.
Yet I knew something had to cause it. There is almost always a logical explanation for things in life. By keeping in my mind that in fact something had to be causing it, it forced me to continue trying to think of what the “thing” was.
I know that Cholinergic Urticaria is caused by something. At this point, I just don’t know what. Perhaps it is something hormone related. Perhaps there is an allergy that is causing us to do this, and we are completely unaware of it (just as my wife).
But there is no doubt that something is causing this. The second we find out what that “something” is, we can fix it just like my wife was fixed once we recognized the “something”. People don’t just up and get rashes, hives, or anything else for no reason. There is always something causing it. In my wife’s case, it was an allergen which she never really realized bothered her that much, and it was in food she was eating daily.
Perhaps in our case, it too is an allergen. Maybe it is something we eat every day, and we have no idea that this tiny ingredient is causing bad symptoms. Or maybe it is something in the environment such as pollen or dust mites, that is causing our system to go haywire. Or maybe there is something in the water, or an ingredient in something that is causing a delayed and peculiar allergic response. Or perhaps there is some type of virus or something altering our system.
In any event, I definitely know something is causing this, and I strongly believe that if we find that something and remove it from our bodies/environment, we can be cured forever. In my wife’s case, she was cured after about 2 weeks of absolutely no more cinnamon. In our case, maybe it will take 3-4 weeks or longer. But it should slowly creep away, until we no longer are bothered by the itching and prickling ever again. Slowly, we will just start to sweat when we get hot, and we will eventually realize we no longer have hives at all.
There are so many things that could be causing this, and that is perhaps the most frustrating thing. It could be diet, it could be environment, it could be hormonal, and so forth.
At this time, I don’t really think it is a genetic issue. The reason is that in most people it goes away after a period of time, and often stays gone. So to me it sounds like something gets out of whack, and then gets corrected (such as sun exposure/vitamin D, body stops being allergic to something, etc.).
Again, I have made several posts about my diet journeys so far, and they have definitely altered the level of my CU. I am going to attempt some more extreme diets soon, and eliminate some other foods that I suspect I have an allergy to.
Anyway, I thought I would post that today. Also, there is a great thread in the Cholinergic Urticaria forum recently by a member who has been able to really get some sweat, and suspects a cure (even if only temporary). So you may want to check that out.
I will keep everyone updated on any new diets when I try them.
UPDATE: My hives are now under control, and I was able to do this after a lot of allergy elimination diets and exercise. You can read more about it on the hives blog.