Dr Hagmeyer here and earlier this week I had a consult with a new patient who has chronic hives and as I was going through this patients records- There were a few things that really stood out to me related to potential root causes of the chronic Hives.
I want to share those with you……, over the years, these are things that I have seen over and over again with many of my patients that I have worked with and so hopefully if you can relate to any of these things- It will help you overcome your struggle with hives.
If you have chronic hives, you may be all too familiar with the symptoms of chronic hives, blotchy, itchy, raised welts on your skin similar to what you see here in this picture and, if you have visited your primary care doctor or a dermatologist regarding your hives symptoms- you were probably sent home with some of kind of antihistamine or steroid cream. These may treat your hives symptoms, but they are not going to fix your chronic hives in the long run. In fact, in some people, using these creams will only make matters much worse, especially for those of you who have a histamine intolerance. I’ll explain in just a moment.
Sometimes those welts and itchy red bumps are caused by certain foods like nuts, eggs, tomatoes, fish, milk, sometimes those hives are caused by certain medications or changes in the ingredients in a medication even if you have been taking medications for a long time, so that is something you should be aware of.
Sometimes those symptoms might be a warning signs pointing to a metabolic problem- I’ll talk about some of the things I see in patients in just a bit..
How To Correct the Root Cause of Hives
One thing I can tell you is this, If you want to get to the bottom of your hives, it becomes very important to investigate these symptoms as Hives may just be a symptom of something else out of balance in your body. So a couple of things that I want you to ask yourself and consider when it comes to hives. If you suffer with chronic hives but you also experience symptoms of low thyroid, symptoms which include things like fatigue, Brain Fog, Weight gain despite diet and exercise, Depression/anxiety, hair loss- If you can relate to these, I highly recommend that you get a complete thyroid panel.
Many doctors will check the thyroid but they only run a Thyroid screening, which I find often misses the majority of thyroid problems associated with Hives. Hives has also been associated not only with Hashimoto’s, but hives is often related to other autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis, and angioedema.
Prednisone and Cortisone Creams are only Temporary Fix
While immediate relief can be achieved through the application of prednisone and cortisone creams, this is really only a temporary fix while the next flare up is just around the corner waiting to happen.
Studies show that between 45%-55% of individuals with chronic hives already have one underlying autoimmune disease.
Perhaps, you already know you have an autoimmune disease and if you know this already, I want you to check out a few articles that I wrote on the topic called Autoimmune Triggers.
Addressing key components that contribute to overall health and identifying your Autoimmune Triggers is an important part of healing not only the chronic hives, but some of the other health problems you may be experiencing.
If you are not familiar with Functional medicine, Functional medicine takes into consideration the unique make up each patient’s lifestyle, diet, and stressors and how these all come together creating imbalance in one’s health.
So there are 6 things I want you to consider if you are watching this video and you either have hives or You have a known autoimmune disease.
So these are like the 6 keys I think about when it comes to treating Hives.
#1 Diet- that shouldn’t come as a shocker- Right- the foods we eat can help our bodies heal or they can hurt our body.
So the key here is Identify any foods that you may have allergies to or might have a Food sensitivities to. Food allergies are tested differently than food sensitivities.
Allergies activate a part of the immune system and involves what is called an IgE immune response. Your doctor can easily test this through the blood. Remember that when a person has an allergy to a food, the symptoms can come on very sudden-sometimes minutes from the time of exposure. This can cause the acute kind of hives that often disappear shortly.
For some people with Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid arthritis or Angioedema, they may experience Chronic Hives- These are Hives that last several weeks and for these people, I recommend testing for food intolerances or food sensitivities.
With a Food sensitivities or food Intolerance- you may get hives that last several weeks. This can also be tested in the blood but these require special testing. With this kind of reaction, what you will see is high levels of IgA or IgG immune responses.
Here is a patient of ours who we tested- This test is about 7 pages longs and so you are only seeing the first page. But what you will notice is that everything in the yellow and red are delayed immune system reactions that were in part contributing to this patient’s chronic Hives. They were also suffering from environmental toxins.
The reason why this special kind of testing is important is that sometimes identifying foods and culprits can be challenging if you don’t experience a symptom right away. This is why food intolerances and food sensitivities can be difficult to identify if you don’t test them looking for the IgA and IgG immune reaction. Once you know what foods are challenging your immune system, you can change your diet and dampen down the inflammatory response reducing the occurrence of Hives.
The Next area is Gut Health
Pay attention to your GI tract and how it’s functioning day-to-day. What clues is your body trying to tell you here? Do you have brain fog, physical fatigue, and bloating, abdominal pain, do you have gas, does it smell like rotten eggs, do you suffer with changes in bowel motility diarrhea or constipation. These symptoms might be clues into the cause of your chronic hives.
If you have these symptoms you should start thinking about things like gut dysbiosis, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), Yeast overgrowth, H.pylori, Leaky Gut, Histamine intolerance. I have seen several gut issues all at once tied into Hives. Again, All things worth investigating in cases of Chronic hives. This particular patient, whose food sensitivity test I just showed you, also had an overgrowth of bacteria in their small intestines called SIBO- This is a test we ran and you can see how their hydrogen levels and their methane levels were elevated indicated a bacterial overgrowth.
3rd area I consider when looking at the Big picture and Root cause of Hives is Hormones Balance.
If you are woman who still has a menstrual cycle, do you notice that your hives or even allergies are worse at certain times of the month- This might be something you never even considered- but start paying attention to that. Remember these are all clues!
The key in all of these things we are talking about is looking at the possible connections to other systems of the body.
If you have symptoms in other parts of the body- then it only makes sense to investigate them and see how they may be connected. This is what I call looking at the Big Picture.
When hormone production is thrown off balance, basic body functions start to fluctuate and histamine levels are one of them.
Things like sex drive, loss of physical stamina, hot flashes, mood changes, irritability, changes in sleep pattern, weight gain.
Earlier I said that 45-55% of people with Hives have an autoimmune disease with Hashimoto’s being the most common.
The 4th area I often think about when it comes to treating Hives is Histamine Intolerance.
When you have hives do you also experience Sneezing, wheezing, burning eyes, or flushing, itchy skin? Have you ever noticed that certain foods trigger stomach cramps or diarrhea? Do you suffer with frequent headaches or migraines, bouts of nausea, severe menstrual cramps, or panic attacks? Histamine prompts blood vessels to swell and fluid to leak from capillaries, causing swelling, redness and itching. When someone develops Histamine intolerance, the body’s ability to breakdown histamine is not working as well as it could leading to higher levels of histamine in the blood- causing the chronic hives.
What’s Filling up Your Histamine Bucket?
Imagine it like a bucket. At any given moment- a bucket can only hold so much water- at some point- even 1 extra drop dumped into the bucket causes spill over. Each of us have a certain threshold for just how must histamine we can tolerate. When the bucket is very full (high amounts of histamine in the body from several different causes), that one extra drop will cause the bucket to overflow and now you experience hives symptoms. So what does the body do to get rid of all this extra histamine? It makes an enzyme actually there are two enzymes, but the fact of the matter is- if the bucket is full or nearly full or the enzymes don’t break down histamine- you experience chronic hives.
Coming to that bucket analogy, all the things we are talking about- Food allergies, food intolerances, Inflammation, Gut dysbiosis, Gut infections, Hormone imbalances, Thyroid problems, poor enzymatic function, medications are all things that are loading up your bucket.
In fact, certain medications like antihistamines are the very medications that in the long run will cause more histamine because they interfere with DAO and HNMT which are the two enzymes involved in breaking down histamine.
Finally, when it comes to Hives I also think about things like Infection and Inflammation.
I think at the very root of the majority of skin problems whether we are talking about hives, acne, psoriasis, eczema……… Inflammation is a key component. Find out what’s causing inflammation, and you will fix the majority of skin problems including Hives. This is why things like prednisone and cortisone are prescribed- they are anti-inflammatories. Hives is an inflammatory immune mediated condition. This is why steroids and anti inflammatory medications on the surface work so well.
But as we can see….they don’t fix the problem
So, In closing todays video,
- Don’t accept that your Hives don’t have a cause- Every cause has an effect. If you can find the cause or multiple causes in this case, not only will your Hives improve but I bet that many of your health problems will improve as well.
- Work with a doctor who takes the time to listen to your concerns, your list of symptoms, and asks questions that get to the root causes of your health issues. Solving any chronic health problem, requires collecting clues in order to solve the mystery.
- Think about Hives not so much as condition to be treated, but rather the Hives are a clue that your body is out of balance in one or more areas. That’s why looking at all the symptoms or clues is important. Think Big Picture
- I want to start thinking about Hives as just another symptom. The key is identifying the culprits filling up your individual bucket. Everybody’s bucket is a bit different.
- Your Bucket could be filled to the brim! And the things loading up your individual bucket need further investigation. If all you do is guess about what could be causing your Hives- you will never find a solution and you will living on Steroids and Benadryl for the rest of your life all while you get sicker.
Alright so there you go! Hope you liked today’s short video, make sure you hit that subscribe button!
If you feel stuck with your health or confused by it all, you don’t know where to start, whatever health problem you have- head over to my website and look for the start here button. I have some additional things I want to share with you if you need my help!
Till next time! Take care!