I suffer from chronic urticaria and itchy bumps after spending 33 years without any allergies or specific skin sensitivites. It started eight months ago, so innocently that I didn't even realize it was there. Anyways, to cut a long story short, after a very stressful few months, with family trauma, not having a job and my niece being rushed to intensive care, last Easter I managed to catch an awful virus that left me lying in a bed and not moving for 24 hours. Eating, drinking or even laying on my side caused me to be violently sick.
Finally, waking from a fitful sleep, I realised that I didn't feel sick anymore, threw back the covers and found my whole body was entirely covered in what I now know is urticaria or hives or itchy bumps. My skin looked completely deformed. The doctor immediately recognised it and gave me steroids for four days. After that I had it every couple of days, and took antihistamines constantly. I kept a food diary in the vain hope of finding the cause.
Three months later it was every day, all day, and some days I woke with my face and throat swollen. The doctor referred me to a specialist that took the usual blood tests, which were of course negative. The specialist inferred that I was wasting his time and told me to take two Claritin a day and if necessary a Benadryl at night. To make matters more frustrating, one of my local hospitals actually has an allergy clinic that deals specifically with urticaria and itchy bumps, but I was told by my doctor (who I think was doing his best) that my condition needed to be life threatening to be referred. I was also waking up and spending several minutes before I got dressed, coating myself in anti-itch cream, which as you all probably know doesn't really help anyways, but it makes you feel better for a few minutes! Fortunately, despite the uncontrollable itchy bumps, I very very rarely let myself scratch it, finding out early on that this only made matters a whole lot worse.
Anyways, nearly 6 months in and I felt like conventional medicine had failed me. I also didn't want to spend the rest of my life taking antihistamines, one 24 hr pill was fine, but two left me too dopey to feel safe driving. The specialist was only telling me everything which I had already found out from my own research on the Internet, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and try everything. I considered my first two options to be either a private allergy clinic or homeopathy.
My own research had shown me that if chronic urticaria does have a cause it is most usually linked to additives, so I tried very hard to cut out as many artificial additives as possible. I also figured that reducing my intake of histamine might help. So I researched histamine high foods and avoided them, and I cut out ALL artificial additives in my food. This is not easy, and it means making everything yourself. After a while, I discovered certain things - like shortbread - that I could have as treats. Apple juice and water were my only permitted drink. I also started going to a homeopath and stopped taking the pill just in case that had any effect. If you have this itchy bumps condition you know you'll try anything to break the cycle.
Two months later and - touchwood – I don't have any urticaria or itchy bumps most days. If I have anything it's a minute fleck, which doesn't itch and goes after a few hours. I am still taking Claritin once a day, and I haven't started the pill again, but I will do so in the next few weeks. I took two homeopathic remedies specifically prescribed for me - sulphur for the first month and phosphorous for the second. I wouldn't suggest that anyone else tries these without asking a homeopath if they're best for them.
My plan now is to continue on the additive free route as much as possible. I now allow myself the odd glass of wine with plenty of water, and I do eat out, but I always scan the menu for the thing most likely to have been homemade! I never eat Indian or Chinese just in case. If my symptoms continue to stay down, in a month, I'm going to try alternating the anti-histamine to every other day, and try a homeopathic remedy - apis - on the other day, in the hope that I can wean myself onto apis then a month after that hopefully stop taking that.
We'll see, it's still pretty early, but I thought it was worth sharing my story with you all. I know that it could just be luck that my urticaria or itchy bumps seem to have gone. It might have nothing to do with stopping taking the pill, going to a homeopath, or avoiding additives. The bottom line is I really don't care why it's gone, but I know how desperate this skin writing condition makes you, try cutting out additives - it can't do any harm.
Bex – October 20, 2007
I am a 23 year old female and have developed dermographism or itchy bumps over the past summer months. I can tell you that at the very beginning I thought the itchy bumps were mosquito bites, but as the skin writing or dermatographism progressed and became worse during the summer I new that something was not quite right.
I went to my doctor and he suggested an allergy specialist, which involved a long wait until September. Meanwhile, I was popping Reactine like it was candy.
I finally went to the allergist and he informed me that I had dermographism or skin writing disease, which made no sense to me. When someone has been suffering with something like this for over two months they don't take it too well when they are told they have no idea what it is or there may never be a cure, terrific! This allergist actually suggested taking over four Reactine a day! The maximum to consume in one day is one or two according to the packaging.
I found out through this website about noni juice and have been taking some of it over this past month and I don't believe it is quite working for me. I am quite stressed out because some nights I can barely sleep because of the itching sensation. I want to go under more tests to see if I can be diagnosed as I am one determined individual to get to the bottom of my dermographism or itchy bumps.
Gemma – October 10, 2007
I am all right with this itchy bumps and dermatographism or skin writing condition I guess. I have not much of a choice. I have lived with this skin writing condition or dermatographism since I was nine years old and now I am 15. I have been through most of puberty with this skin problem and I have really hated it. What I dread the most about the hives is that I do not know when they will go away. I hate it when I have to explain to other people what it is that I have and so I just ignore them. It has impacted my life. People act differently around me because they think I am contagious, even though I tell them many times I am not. I just want this itchy bumps condition gone. It can be very depressing.
Lucy – October 1, 2007