Hives are characterized by blotchy, raised welts on the skin that appear pink or red and feel extremely itchy. Acute hives can come on very suddenly, and usually occur when an individual has an allergic reaction to something in their immediate environment. Some examples include food allergies, medication, insect bites, pollen, animals, latex, sun exposure, or contact with chemicals & ingredients in household products, toiletries, cosmetics, or laundry detergent.
When hives are linked to a specific allergen, eliminating exposure to that irritant can in turn banish future episodes of hives.
However chronic hive flare ups that last several weeks or have a pattern of recurrence over many months without known cause can mean a condition that’s more than just skin deep. Chronic ideopathic urticaria, or chronic hives, is an autoimmune disease that is often related to other autoimmune conditions such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, and angioedema. 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 waiting to happen. Stress, exercise, and Hashimoto’s can all trigger hives. Going deeper to uncover the root causes of urticaria can mean more effective, long-term management.
Studies have concluded that between 45%-55% of individuals with chronic hives already have an underlying autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s immune system is significantly compromised by two concurrent autoimmune attacks and has increased levels of antibodies found in the bloodstream. If you have Hashimoto’s, also experiencing hives is not a far stretch; these two autoimmune reactions are connected. Conversely, if you have a history of hives and are starting to wonder about other symptoms such as unexplained change in weight, hair loss, brain fog, or depression, there’s a strong chance hypothyroidism could be linked to your urticaria.
Addressing key components that contribute to overall health and well being is an important part of healing. Functional medicine takes into consideration the unique make up each patient’s lifestyle, diet, and the body’s response when altering set routines and patterns.
Consider the following factors impacting your body’s autoimmune response:
Change your diet and control Hashimoto’s disease. Knowing which foods are actually incendiary to autoimmune disease and eliminating them from your diet can completely change the course of your health. Sticking to a gluten free or paleo diet is an excellent place to start. Food Sensitivity testing to uncover your specific sensitivities is even a better step. Nourish your body with nutrient rich vegetables and fruits, as well as whole grains and lean protein. Minimize highly processed food that’s made in a factory and sold in a box, bag, or can; try to stick with food straight from the source.
Pay attention to your GI tract and how it’s functioning day-to-day. Your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from an improved diet only goes so far as your gut health. If you are experiencing leaky gut symptoms and irregular elimination, confronting your gut health is fundamental to improving your health. Histamine Intolerance, SIBO may be other factors worth considering.
Hormone production can be affected by any number of causes including Hashimoto’s, adrenal fatigue, menopause, thyroid medications, and birth control. When hormone production is thrown off balance, basic body functions start to fluctuate: sleep patterns, temperature, mood, and metabolism are all influenced.
Bacterial infections can sometimes be the cause of hive breakouts. Rule out common causes such as streptococcal or urinary infections as a reason for hives.
Autoimmune disease agitates the internal body as it battles itself from within. Calming inflammation in the gut and brain allows autoimmunity and undesired symptoms to go into remission.
Advocate for yourself and ask questions. 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. Consider getting a full thyroid panel of blood work done which includes testing for TPO and TGB antibodies. Dr. Hagmeyer can help you identify triggers affecting your autoimmune disease and develop a plan to better health. Set up your consultation today!
Take away points from today’s article:
- The presence of one autoimmune disease can beget yet another autoimmune event; for example a patient with Hashimoto’s may also experience chronic hives or go on to develop Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus or a number of other disease processes.
- When treating autoimmunity, it’s important to identify the root causes of an individual’s symptoms and why the body is responding by launching an attack on itself.
- Because autoimmunity has many interconnected components, taking a holistic approach to addressing symptoms is important.
- Consider diet and gut health as a means to calming hives and Hashimoto’s symptoms.
- Also take a look at hormone levels, possible infections, and inflammation present in the body.
- Work with a doctor who looks at the big picture for root causes rather than simply treating individualized symptoms.