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Chronic Hives & Diarrhea: An Ugly Combo

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Old 01-15-2005, 10:37 PM   #1
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jhmitch HB User
Question Chronic Hives & Diarrhea: An Ugly Combo

Since I was hospitalized for ventral hernia surgery in early December (which was followed immediately afterwards with pneumonia), I've been getting chronic hives. On Monday, I'll be seeing an allergist for the first time and hope to find out what is causing them.

Recently, I've noticed that a flare up of the hives usually leads to an episode of diarrhea. I'm not currently on any antibiotics or pain medicine nor am I stressed (except for getting these stupid hives all the time ). Does anyone else on this board with chronic hives have a similar combination?

BTW: I've learned a great deal from reading the long thread on chronic uritcaria - thanks to all of you who have greatly added to my limited knowledge on the subject! You folks are way ahead of most of the doctors I've seen regarding my chronic hive problem


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Old 01-16-2005, 06:18 AM   #2
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Re: Chronic Hives & Diarrhea: An Ugly Combo

I had unexplained hives and they sometimes led to diarrhea too. The hives burned and itched and stayed for days. I found that I am allergic to latex, even the powder free kind. I have had lots of medical procedures and I guess that made me allergic. I have to call any restuarant I am not famalier with to see if they use latex gloves in food preparation. I almost went into shock after eating a restaurant that used them. I have to even wear long sleeves to get my blood pressure checked and ask the nurse and doctor to go wash if they have contacted latex before my appointment. I am a heart patient and a diabetic so I still have to have a lot of medical contact. I reacted to helping my mom get undressed after she was handled by latex gloves.

Old 01-16-2005, 12:06 PM   #3
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Re: Chronic Hives & Diarrhea: An Ugly Combo

Thanks for your reply, ladychecotah!

Like you, I'm a diabetic and have had numerous medical procedures in the past - the recent hernia surgery was my 15th operation as an adult. As long as I can remember, I've always had "sensitive skin" (dermographia), eczema, plus allergies to aspirin-based products and certain antibiotics.

Prior to this operation, other medicines (even cough syrup with codeine) and foods never bothered me. While I was hospitalized for 8 days, I had a morphine pump and was given an antibiotic (not related to the ones that have caused problems in the past). Neither one triggered hives. After I was discharged from the hospital, I was prescribed Tylenol #3 for pain. A few days later, the itching began.

Even almost 5 weeks after discontinuing any and all antibiotics and pain medicine - I'm still getting hives like crazy (and now attacks of diarrhea accompany the hives), so I have to believe there is something else triggering this problem. I'll definitely discuss the possibility of a latex reaction with the allergist, tomorrow, when I go in for skin tests.

What seems very frightening about your condition, ladychecotah, is how even indirect contact with latex (such as helping your mother get undressed after she was touched by someone wearing latex gloves) triggers a reaction - you must have to be extremely careful with even the smallest details in life. Do you have other known allergies, as well?

Hopefully, the allergist will be able to find a cause for my hives. What worries me about my existing allergies is the bad reaction to most antibiotics: this definitely hampers treating serious infections. Also, my inability to take most pain meds is a bit of a concern for future post-surgical needs, as well.

Thanks again for your response - and best wishes to you as you attempt to navigate through a latex-filled world!

Janice (itching away in PA)

Old 01-17-2005, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: Chronic Hives & Diarrhea: An Ugly Combo

Thanks for inquiring, I am also allergic to almost everything that grows in my part of Texas. I was taking allergy shots but had to quit because of the latex rubber that the needle goes thru to get the medicine for the injection. Also, I am allergic to several familes of antibotics so I do have to be very careful. I don't want to move and it might not help much anyway because it is nearly every tree in North America. My allergiest says I am the 2nd most allergic person he has treated in 20 years. I regret losing the shots and couldn't even take a flu vacine for the same reason. I hope you do not have a latex sensitivity. By the way, I passed the latex allergy test two years ago, but now the dr is confident that if not allergic, I am seriously sensitive. I haven't tried another test to confirm because I fear the reaction. Best of luck at your visit.

Old 01-18-2005, 09:56 AM   #5
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ahimsa HB User
Re: Chronic Hives & Diarrhea: An Ugly Combo

Janice, have you tried modifying your diet? Just wondering if it's a food since it gets you in the gut as well as the skin.

Please let us know what your allergist says.

Good luck,

Old 01-18-2005, 01:02 PM   #6
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Re: Chronic Hives & Diarrhea: Allergist Visit


Went to the allergist, Monday, fully expecting to get skin-tested. However the doctor took a look the hives on my neck, back & arms, then decided skin tests would be rather useless since I was already having a reaction and a skin test might be inconclusive.

Instead of skin tests, he told me to go to a lab for allergen-specific IgE blood tests (to check for allergies to dairy products, eggs, wheat, dust mites, mold, latex & several other food items). We discussed a possible reaction to my medications (I take 7 different meds a day) and how we could individually examine them through 'elimination challenges' in the future, if no allergy-causing substance turned-up in the IgE tests.

He also mentioned that there is a possibility that we'll never find out what is causing these hives since they may be generated by my auto-immune system for no apparent reason, but that the blood tests should eliminate some possible triggers.

Afterwards, I went over to a lab where they took a lot of tubes of blood (including one for a thyroid test plus the allergen-specific IgE tests). It will take about 2 weeks to get the results, but (thankfully) the doctor also gave me a prescription for Allegra, as well as one for hydroxyzine - a night-time antihistamine syrup to stop itching and encourage sleep - it works very well. He also said I should take two Pepcids per day and I can also take benadryl if I get a bad outbreak of hives during the day. So now I'm up to 10 different medicines per day..

The good news is that with these antihistamines, my itching & diarrhea seems to be under control for now.

ladychecotah - you wrote: >>"Also, I am allergic to several families of antibotics so I do have to be very careful." <<

All allergies are a big concern especially when a person is highly sensitive, as you are. I know exactly what you mean when you said: (about latex)

>>" I haven't tried another test to confirm because I fear the reaction."<<

A serious allergic reaction to something is enough to scare you silly. You come away from it not trusting anything even remotely related to it. Another problem for me is that the allergen triggers seem to keep changing as I age.

If I say: "I'm allergic to all antibiotics EXCEPT those in the X, Y, & Z groups" then, sure enough, one of those X, Y, or Z "safe" antibiotic families seems to provoke an attack. The worst one was an unexpected anaphylactic shock episode from Ceclor back in the 1990s.

Kristi wrote:
>>"Just wondering if it's a food since it gets you in the gut as well as the skin. "<<

That's an interesting suggestion! I'm curious to see the results of the blood tests to find out if dairy products, eggs, wheat, or other foods are causing these problems. The fact that the intestinal distress is more intermittent than the hives also seems to indicate that there might be multiple allergens triggering the responses.

Wishing everyone an allergen-free day!

"It is more about the journey... than the destination"

Last edited by jhmitch; 01-18-2005 at 01:03 PM.

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