Posted by Linda
on July 25, 2000 at 00:27:14:
In Reply to: Re: DERMATOGRAPHISM. posted by Bob R. on May 16, 2000 at 16:09:16:
: : Bob, I have had this condition since I was a toddler... back before the Doctors knew what it was, my mother was told "she would grow out of it"... well that obviously never happened.
: : I have done a search on the web using the keyword "dermatographism" to find out info, but still don't know any more than what I found out when I looked it up in the PREVENTION ALLERGY SELF-HELP GUIDE.
: : Basically, it's an allergic reaction to anything that scratches or disturbs the skin. When the skin is scratched or hit or rubbed hard, histamines are released and visible welts or wheals appear. They do go away after a short period of time, but the itching that results from the histamine reaction is what is worse for me.
: : There is no "cure" that I'm aware of.. just medications (anti-histamines) that help with the itching somewhat..
: : Hope this information helped you.
: Thanks for replying. I have been to another web site and there are a few more of us with this condition out there. I am on claritin 10mg twice a day. It helps. My allergist has no clue as to why I have this. I am hoping that I get leads from others such as that it is an allergy etc. Seems to me if enough people write that the cause could be narrowed down. I came down with is about 8 years ago. I am now 42.
Bob - I have had dermatographism symptoms off & on (mostly off until recently) for the past 25 years. With the steady symptoms (never going completely away) recently, like with you, my symptoms have been managed well with a daily antihystamine. I have also noticed that certain foods trigger worse symptoms (although per allergy tests I am not allergic to those foods), and recently noticed that one other food seems to actually help reduce or suppress symptoms & itching. You might try watching symptoms in relation to your diet some - don't know if this will be true for you until you try it.
According to my allergist, and other information I have read, dermatographism (and other "physical urticarias" - ie other conditions of hives stimulated by physical things - sun, heat, etc) are not true allergies, but happen and are controlled by the immune system - the same body system that controls allergies.... thus the involvement of histamine, and the effectiveness of antihystamines. However, as far as I know, the "not a true allergy" point helps - dermatographism does not cause any life-threatening anaphylactic reactions such as severe food & insect sting allergies can cause.
The old question of "why me" is the same for people with many other disorders - as I understand it, the researchers really don't know what triggers it, and in what people. For me, stress and illness/high fever have always been episode triggers. Allergies tend to run in families, so I've wondered if dermatographism is a family trait also - my mother has a variety of itching problems, and my daughter probably has a mild (so far?) dermatographism.
Hope this helps.