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I broke out in hives 7 years ago when I was about 14. I do not remember when they officially subsided but I think it was after about 4 weeks back in 2004. I am 21 now and I have a new outbreak. It started when I got home from college for the summer 6 weeks ago and has plagued me ever since. I thought I was allergic to milk or peanuts, so I stopped eating and drinking dairy or peanut products. I also thought I might be dehydrated so I started chugging water all day everyday for the past week now. I started to see some improvement in my hives when I did this but nothing that made me think I was cured. In short, nothing is working. A lot of people tell me to take antihistamines, which also have NO effect. In fact, I took zyrtec and benedryl last night and todays breakout is the worst in a couple weeks. I have tried analyzing my diet (hence the peanut, milk, and dehydration escapade) and nothing had worked. I have however noticed a few things and maybe you guys can help in identifying why this happens. For anyone who does not know, histamine release creates hives and most allergies. Here are things I have considered when trying to discover the cause of my hive breakout.

1. Alcohol - If you do some research you will find that alcohol reduces histamine levels temporarily. I would consider myself a heavy drinker (just another frat boy in college). Anyways, the hives are the worst after a night of drinking when a hangover kicks in. This is what led me to believe that dehydration, vitamin b deficiency, etc. might be the problem but I do not think so anymore. Also chronic dehydration releases histamine into the blood stream, causing hives. I realized that I was not drinking near enough water when I look back on day to day activity. Also if the problem was chronic dehydration, how long would it take to become "re-hydrated" in a sense?

2. Diet - As I said I tried the milk and peanut experiment, I still do not know if it worked. I am wondering if anyone knows how long it will take for a breakout to occur AFTER eating peanuts or milk? The breakouts to not occur right away and I figure if it was an allergy, it would happen almost instantly. Also how long does it take to get the food out of your system?

3. Breakout #1 - I was 15 and had HORRIBLE acne, all over my face, back, and thighs. My doctor said it was the worst case he had ever seen. I took doxycycline, tetracycline, and acutane + septra in that order for seven years of my life. My acne is completely gone now. However my first outbreak of hives was shortly after I started on tetracycline. Once I started taking tetracycline I had the first break out which was about a month afterwards, maybe 3 weeks. The thing about tetracycline along with almost all acne pill medication is that it dries out your skin like crazy. This led me to believe that because my skin was dry and itchy all the time anyways, hives might be a by-product of the medication altering my skin from oily to dry. I think the biggest problem is that acne made me very insecure at that time in my life which completely 180'd when I came to college and had no more acne, just scars all over my back. I guess I finally felt "cool". Now hives are bringing me back to the same insecurities. However I am not on ANY medication now, so I know that it is not causing this now, unless it is a long term effect.

4. Stress - I pretty much eliminated this because I am on summer vacation, I have the easiest job in the world paying 10 bucks an hour for sitting at a desk doing next to nothing as a secretary for my dad's office. I was extremely stressed during school with class, fraternity life, partying, interviews, etc. I am not stressed at all now, unless you include the onslaught of hatred and annoyance these hives are causing.

5. Skin in general - As you know from #3 I have bad skin in general. On top of acne I was diagnosed with a rare cancer called dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans which is essentially a tumor that protrudes to the top of the skin, it is aggressive and slow growing but generally not life threatening until it metastasizes. I am thinking again that the hives may not be internal, but an external reaction from my skin due to my long history of skin problems.

That's it for what is going on with me. If anyone can help or has similar symptoms please help! I am a very confident and outgoing person and hives are ruining that about me. I fear this will change me into a hateful person because that is what I am feeling right now if these hives don't go away. I know they can last years, and that is my deepest fear. In any case, I will try just about anything as long as it does not involves losing a limb.

Note: I have also tried changing laundry detergents, double rinsing, "free and clear" detergents, etc. No results have come.

Thank you and for anyone suffering from hives, don't let anyone tell you that there are worse things in the world because I am convinced that this is worse than anything. ;-) .

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Also the outbreak of hives was at the same time of the year, just seven years ago and lasted a shorter time.
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I've suffered from severe hives as well. For me the skin was raised, turned whitish because of the pressure on the skin, and itched like nothing I've ever seen. I thought I had been bitten by something or was sleeping in a place infested with something. Until I scratched my leg and realized the skin was raise on the entire calf (which kind of freaked me out a bit). So as a test I scratched some other areas and sure enough the skin raised on my entire arm, back, etc. It was a hive, it had to be a hive. I remembered that I USED to have these severely all the time when I was little, but I hadn't had them in so long that I had forgotten about them. I went and visited my family in a different state and the very moment that I got there, I broke out into this horrible hive. It hit me and wouldn't go away the entire time I was there. The moment I left, it just went away as quickly as it came.

Moral of the story?

It may be WHERE you're at, not WHAT you eat or put into your body. The climate can affect your skin and body just as much as your foods and stress can. If your body isn't used to how dry or wet it is, it could react differently than most.
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I know this is 2 years later, but have you ever tried getting tested for a gluten allergy. It's in beer and just about everything you eat. It might be the cause of your problems, but I'm no professional. 
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I just found this website because, as you stated, hives are ruining my life, as well. I can't even function because of them. I did not know about the alcohol causing them. I am a heavy drinker, and I am sure that is what is causing it. Who knew lol! Thanks for your post. I am definetly cutting out the booze, its sooo not worth this torture :)

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Hives were ruining my life also. I totally gave up alcohol. That made a huge difference. I also figured out (on my own...with no help from the many doctor that I went to) that sodium benzoate was a huge culprit. It is the most commonly used food preservative in the world. Don't drink dark soft drinks, or take aspirin. Don't eat raspberries. Don't eat cold cuts or other processed meats. I am totally hive free now and I have my life back. Good luck. Give it a try.
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I've had chronic hives for 9 years and am definitely in perimenopause for about 5 years. I'm currently almost 48.  Mine too flair when ovulating and again about 2 weeks later when my flow begins, each time for 2-3 days..  One topical thing that helps immensely (especially for the itch factor, and somewhat—but not as much for the heat factor) is Dr. Bronner's liquid soap, especially the Peppermint one.  Take a spray bottle (let's say about 6 inches tall and 2 inches wide and fill with about 1/2 inch of Dr. Bronner's then add water.  That's it. Spray away on hives and let air dry. Itch stops within 1-2 minutes.  May need to reapply after a few hours or if rinsed off by accident.  You don't want the mix too soapy, but more like water with a splash of the Dr. Bronners. You can use any "scent" but the peppermint one is best because adds a cooling effect while evaporating on your skin.  And totally safe & healthy...it's SOAP!!   For heat (hives that are radiating burning hot, I apply a single ice cube right on them, and boom it melts in like 3-4 minutes.  Sometimes have to do a 2nd cube, but then heat stops and if you apply Dr. Bronner's afterwards, you're good to go.  Also, try relaxing and letting go of any control issues.  FLOW with life and definitely prayer helps too.  God bless.... a fellow sufferer. 

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hey ladies!

I have found something that helped tremendously, Betaine HCL (hydrochloric acid) with pepsin! mind you, i am still in the process of researching what the connection is in why it helps, but it's been a huge relief.  Also important to keep in mind is that it must NOT be taken on an empty stomach and can do damage to your stomach lining.  Don't chew the tablets, just swallow right before you eat a  meal or take immediately after.  Don't take with small snacks or fruit.  Meals with protein and carbs are better suited.  From what i've read, you can take 1-5 pills per meal depending on your personal needs, but I recommend just starting with one first and go from there.  I've also read that you can increase until you have a warm sensation, but read up on it more to be careful.  One per meal has worked great for me! Betaine HCL has multiple uses, one main one is to combat low stomach acid which has a plethora of horrible side effects i was not aware of.  It appears that low stomach acid is a cause of many ills! Maybe there is a connection there for many of us?  I am in perimenopause right now and just started developing hives prior to and during menses.  I initially took the betaine to relieve temporary heartburn and my hives disappeared!!! Anyway, it's definitely worth looking into more and may be an answer for some of you.  My heart goes out to my suffering fellow-mates!  GOD bless!

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I'm soooo glad I found this post! Thought I was alone in the world! My outbreaks are horrible. Thought I was diseased or allergic for a long time, but I'm def going to try these recommendations! I too love to drink ;(.

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Hi all - I've never posted before but wanted to share just a small part of my story in the hopes that it may help.  I've suffered on/ off from chronic hives for over 12 years.  Long story short - nothing worked.  Not antihistamines, leukotriene inhibitors, etc.  I was on up to 4x the recommended dose with no results.  Prednisone was the only thing that helped, but Dr's hate prescribing that for the long term.  I moved on from antihistamines to Dapsone, but that only made me anemic.  I also tried diet changes, acupuncture, etc.  Again, no results.

The only thing that seems to help is Xolair.  It was not easy to get - but it was finally formally approved for use on chronic hives by the FDA earlier this year.  I was lucky enough to work with a doctor who was persistent enough with the insurance company to gain approval and coverage.  Again, it was not easy, but it was well worth it.

I realize everyone has their own journey, and I'm certainly not saying this is a 'magic bullet' by any means.  But if you've tried everything else and haven't yet tried this, I would definitely recommend at least exploring this as an option.


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Hey, I know it's been a while but have you found a solution to your hives? I can empathize with what you're saying about becoming a hateful person. These things are AWFUL!! To say the least. Hope you're free and clear now.
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I have had chronic hives for about 4 years. Primary doctor said it was just an allergy and sent me to the allergist for testing. Allergist had no idea what specifically was causing it and told me it was probably just because I have pretty severe allergies to a LOT of things (mostly environmental like dust, dander, pollen, etc). I'm also anaphylactic (tree nuts and peanuts) which apparently means there is more histamine coursing around in my body to begin with. I had already been taking Clairitin for years due to basically year-round "seasonal" allergies. So allergist tells me to double up on the Clairitin and see if that help. Nope. Made it worse. Like way worse - head to toe hives. So I cut the Clairitin totally out. And magically the hives disappear within days. I had hives every single day before that. Allergist said it was probably my body freaking out to being on Clairitin long term, like overcompensating for the long term suppression of histamine. I no longer have daily hives. Now I generally only have very faint hives on my hands in the spring (stupid pollen). I use all natural lavender oil and rub it directly on the hives and they usually clear up. I develop hives again whenever I take any allergy medicine of any sort. I get them occasionally when I'm hungover also, and nothing seems to help with that except for time passing and eating a solid meal (I assume because it replenishes whatever my body was lacking due to the hangover).
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Thank you for this, also just related drinking to hives
The last few times ive gotten drunk ive had. Crazy hives in the morning wanting to itch my skin off. I was diagnosed with chronic idopathy urticaria but it was more a cold and heat issue
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Wow .Crazy how many people suffer from this. Mine seem to breakout after a night of drinking with a hangover. They are usually worst on Sundays. I am pretty certain it is from dehydration or as someone said glutten. I'm gonna try and go alchohol free for a week and see the results. I've been taking zertec religiously because it helps with the itching. Woul love to hear others remedies. 

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My wife is suffering badly with hive for the last almost 3 yrs and like you only prednisone and dapsone is helping, but even those seem to be working less as time goes on. We are in Canada and wondered what Doctor you saw to get Xolair? Any help will be much appreciated
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