Illustration of me

Wikis, hives, and cholinergic urticaria! Oh my!

Sep 13 2021

Along with my various allergies and mild asthma, several years ago, I was fortunate enough to start having hives mysteriously appear over my body. At first, I was kinda scared and then I realized it wasn’t dangerous just annoying and itchy. It took me a long while to figure out what was going on. Most urticaria (aka hives) is idiopathic and doctors tend not to know how to treat it. Mine mostly appeared during exercise and when my body was overworked, but it was kinda hard to really figure out.

At first, I tried limiting various things out of my diet, sugar, milk, etc.. This would seem to work for a bit and then stop working again. I tried candida cleansing treatments as I read on a forum that it helped. This too seemed to work for a while and then it stopped working. The fact that these worked even for a bit proves nothing though since, as I learned, urticaria sensitivity often goes through phases which can be seasonal or random.

I admit I never really bothered seeking a specialist for it because from my research no one seemed to get any real help from doctors. Treatment is basically only antihistamines and figure out your triggers. Well after reading more, I finally figured out my triggers and realized that my own case was mostly cholinergic urticaria. It’s basically a flawed thermoregulatory response — the body heats, initiates the sweat glands to cool the body down, and for some reason my body then freaks out produces histamines.

Nowadays, I know to just keep my body cool as much as possible and dose up antihistamines whenever it goes through a bad phase or when I know I’ll be overheating myself (ie. Burning Man). I also learned to stack Zantac (yeah the anti-acid med) on top of the normal antihistimines cause it has a synergistic effect that can often completely stop outbreaks. Of course, I had to read this online in various out of the reach corners. My life is better due to this knowledge combined with the fact that it seems to be fading away completely with only a bad phase here or there (yeah stupid fickle disease, for most people it just shows up out of the blue and tends to just disappear again several years later for no reason).

So today, I did what I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I compiled all my research into a solid wikipedia article so that the next person who has this happen to them can find info more readily. It probably needs a bit more editing, but that can wait. If you’re interested you can check it out: Cholinergic Urticaria.

Warning: Zantac or Tagamet can reduce the metabolization of alcohol and other products that are processed by the liver, thereby increasing it’s effects. Intermediate use of either of these medications should be fine, but as with any drug there may be additional side effects of long term constant use. Long term use of Zantac or Tagamet should not be done without first discussing with your doctor.

Back to Blog