Hives and allergies, irritable bowel

Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 10:41 pm
I have strange health problems. Tons of doctors have told me different things, and Iv'e tried all kinds of medicines, but when it comes down to it, there's clearly somthing my body is upset about, but no one's sure what it is.

Anyone got any clues?
The symptoms:

I have high white blood cell levels
My histamine levels are so high, I have textbook dermatographic urticaria
(pressure-sensitive hives) and I break out into target rashes on my hands and feet nightly.
I'm lactose intolerant.
I have irratible bowel syndrome (I suspect this may be linked to the histamines, since there is a function histamines have in digestion.)
My liver processes hyper-fast, like a drug addict. To knock me out, doctors have to give me three times the sedative a normal person gets.
I don't do drugs, I get enough sleep, and I exercise.
note - I have low blood pressure.
Still, I get tired easily, especially in the mornings. I am not depressed. If I miss one night of sleep my body is barely functional.
I am allergic to lots of things, too many to determine what I'm allergic to - all kinds of food, beauty product, and drug sensitivities, when I eat the wrong thing or too much of somthing I get sick.

Anyone got any clues? The acupuncturist says it's my spleen, but that's what acupuncturists always say. I'd like some course of action. I took levbid but that dried me out, anti histamines make me feel weird and tired.
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Reply Tue 4 Nov, 2003 11:43 pm
Do you drink coffee or tea? I'm onlt asking because I have a cousin who has the same problem and this was brought up as an issue. They (the doctors) are telling him that his main problem is stress.
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Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2003 01:00 am
I am listening, Portal, but can't give easy answers. I too have some kind of urticaria, whatever, relatively quiet lately.

I have a background in medical immunology, only to mention it, not as any kind of answer, but a notice that I tune in to medical explanations.

I developed itchy skin around 1998. Mentioned it occasionally (as I was going crazy) and a surprising number of people told me they had it too....

apparently it is a stealth symptom as people don't want to seem to be infecting others with their itchiness.

Mine has lessened to about 2% of what it was, for no discernable reason, and, trust me, I have been watching.
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Reply Wed 5 Nov, 2003 07:38 am
I'm with you on the itchy skin and allergies - particularly now, as the interior of the house is dry (itchy skin) but the outside world is damp (mold allergy, among many others).

With itchy feet, might I suggest the possibility of a nickel allergy? That's one of the places where it manifests itself (can also be sides of the fingers or the ear lobes). I had it very bad a few years ago and then went on a low-nickel diet, and it cleared up. There are a lot of foods, particularly many kinds of produce, plus all canned foods, that are high in nickel. When I find the symptoms returning, I go back to the low-nickel diet and the symptoms go away. It's not your only problem, surely, but it might improve your comfort. It's also easy to overlook, even though a nickel allergy is the most common metal allergy. My then-doctor had to do about a month's worth of research to figure out what was wrong with me.

As for your other symptoms, have you been tested for Lupus, Crohn's Disease, and/or Sjogren's Syndrome? Lupus and Sjogren's are both systemic autoimmune diseases. Crohn's might be related to your irritable bowel. None of these are to be taken lightly; my cousin died about 10 years ago from complications from Sjogren's, and Lupus and Crohn's are really debilitating.

Oh, and other possibilities Guillian-Barré and Epstein-Barr. They might explain your fatigue.

As you know, there are a lot of possibilities and it may be that there are a few problems and so one diagnosis might not fit the entire bill. And, as you've surmised, some of the problems (like your irritable bowel syndrome) could be caused by medications you're taking for other things. Sounds to me like you need a thorough workup with a bunch of tests to at least rule out what I'm talking about and anything else your doctors have come up with.

Best of luck to you.
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Portal Star
Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 12:13 pm
I try to avoid taking any medications, as they upset my stomach. When I had to take antibiotics for a couple consecutive weeks after having my wisdom teeth removed, I got another symptom of a drug addict - a large red raised circular viral infection on my stomach. It doesn't matter what kind of antibiotics, they all bother me, but some in different ways. It went away in about a month. I don't drink caffeine, that also upsets my stomach.

For a while I thought it was chrone's disease, but I don't have internal bleeding and that disease becomes debilitating over time. I looked into some of the other ones, they seem unusual.
Good to hear yours have gotten better, ossobuco.
An allergy to nickel? How unusual. I keep records of when they are worse, so I guess I'll start recording metal contacts too.

I have been to allergists, they say -for drug allergies- I am allergic to too many things to know what it is I'm allergic to, to isolate it. Especailly as non-active ingredients in drugs vary seasonally and with what's cheapest. Same for food allergies - because no matter what foods I cut out of my diet, somthing triggers my histamines. This is why I suspect these problems are related in some kind of an internal problem related to my stomach and irritable bowel (because how could I be allergic to so many things?)- my mother has similar symptoms but not nearly as severe.
I wonder if it is just my histamine production being whack, throwing everything off, but that doesn't explain why the severity of my problems fluctuate. It also doesn't explain the high white blood cell count - a sign of internal infection. I'm assuming the high histamine levels are causing the hyper-active liver, maybe it has to process toxins caused by allergens? I certainly hope it doesn't make my liver go bad.

I'll give my new allergist a run, see if they have anything new to say. Thanks for your comments. Smile.

It's really not so bad, there are so many worse things to have, but it sure is persistantly annoying. And difficult to get a good back rub.
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Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 07:40 pm
Whatever my itching was a reaction to, and I strived to find out, eliminated foods, etc., individually for months, it went away for a time with benedryl. I never did nail what it was, although I didn't consider nickel. I eat very very few things from cans, namely tuna, canned beans in soup, and canned tomatoes in sauces, all used on occasional basis. Otherwise I skip the canned food aisles. Produce? eek, I do eat a lot of veggies and fruits.

However, I can't say that my diet has changed from when I was an itchy fool and now when I am not. It was also not stress. I've been through much more stress earlier in my life than any time lately, could generally be described as placid to a fault.

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Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 08:34 pm
Portal, what have the docs tested you for? Have they done a full allergy test? Have they checked blood samples for any other problems?
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Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2003 01:50 pm
A nickel allergy is weird (the doctor also knew it was a potential problem when I told him I'd always had a problem with earrings, pierced or regular. Plus I had an extremely itchy rash on the side of one finger and nowhere else. Wacky).

Anyway, nickel is found in (among other things; I can't recall them all off the top of my head):

Mainly, it's found in many growing things. I guess it's just something the plant picks up from the ground. And, yes, it's also manifest in canned foods, even if they aren't on the list. As someone who doesn't like to eat a lot of meat, the nickel allergy diet is tough for me to follow, but it does seem to work for me and I don't seem to have to do it for more than a day or 2 before all's well again and I can go back to eating whatever.
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Portal Star
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2003 03:41 pm
Nickel.. I still find that interesting. I know I have a skin reaction to metal that is not gold or silver. I didn't know those foods picked it up. I do have mild problems with mushrooms, green peppers, tomatoes, and potatoes.

littlek wrote:
Portal, what have the docs tested you for? Have they done a full allergy test? Have they checked blood samples for any other problems?

Actually, lately they have refused to test/ had me cut a couple things out of my diet a week, to see if conditions improved - they haven't yet.
My urticaria has gotten steadily worse over time. Starting a year ago when I moved into my new apartment, it's the worst it's ever been. I suspect there may be some problem related to the apartment, like mold or somthing. I still get it when I'm not in my apartment.

In childhood I was given that prick test and they said I was allergic to pollen, dust, mold, grass, and cats. It's about time I go and make them do another one of those. I was thinking about allergy shots, although they are usually used for nasal allergies I wonder if they would help my urticaria. When I get the time and go to the new allergist, I'll post and let y'all know what was said.

Nope, never gotten a blood sample taken for allergy reasons. I know I don't have diabetes or std's, and that I have a high white blood cell count. What do they do with blood related to allergies?
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Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2003 06:30 pm
Nothing to do with allergies, just wondering if something else could be causing problems. Don't ask me what.... I was just curious. I mean, if you had some type of health problem that made your immune system weak, couldn't some things bother you more than other wise? Do you drink the recommended 64 ozs of water a day?

This is a stretch, but have you ever done any reading on Candida Albanica? http://www.candida-society.org.uk/
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Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2003 07:21 pm
People with allergies have an elevated eosinophil count, if I remember correctly. Maybe elevated IgE, can't remember.
I used to be a immunology lab tech, but it was a long time ago now.

This is all very helpful. I can't wear pierced earrings... get hives sometimes from clothes rubbing against skin. What a sensitive little soul I be! And yep, I love potatoes, tomatoes, pears, mushrooms, yadayadayada. Thanks, Jespah, for the info, especially the info that you can lay off of the offenders and then go back to them, thus if that is related, I wouldn't have to swear off of all those things I like forever.

I too was/am highly allergic to cats, mold, dust, dustmites, grasses, and sixty other things. But my almost lifetime nasal allergies have pretty much disappeared around the time this itchy business started happening. That is not completely gone, but is so much better than it was. For whatever reason - that I haven't figured out. (Yes, I switched washing agents, used lotions, aveeno products, money money money, only short time help if any.)
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Portal Star
Reply Fri 7 Nov, 2003 11:00 pm
Nope. No internal problems of which I am aware other than the irritable bowel, and I used to get strange migranes, but my MRI test was fine and they have since disappeared. The irritable bowel is problematic, though, and I suspect it may be tied in somehow to my allergies. When my allergies get really bad, my head gets a little cloudy.

This is a nice thread.

I really like burts bees products (especially their face soap, moisturizers, and makeup), because they don't bother my skin [Yives St. Laurent/Laura mercier are also pretty good but so expensive...]. Physicians formula has never bothered me (makeup). Iv'e also had pretty good luck with natures gate products. To keep the detergent from being bothersome I put the laundry in for a 2nd cycle (without soap) and if you want to really get the soap out, add a cup of white vinegar to that second cycle.

I keep a couple air filters going, although I hear this has the potential to make things worse over time.

Hmm.. I got a few things on that Candida Albicans checklist...
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Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2003 09:12 am
The problem with the candida check list is that most of the symptoms are vague.
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Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2003 03:17 pm
portal star : sorry to hear of your problems. have you ever been on an elimination diet (should mention that i have not been on it). from what i have read about it (and that was a few years ago), you start with only a few or if necessary one food product(i think rice is often used to start it). you add one food item at a time every ten days or two weeks and record your body's reaction. however, i have also read that it is not always a surefire method of finding out what your system can tolerate or not. at times there will be a delayed reaction and you may have to start over again; at other times other outside agents (dust, rain etc. etc.) can cause a reaction. i remember reading that people can be allergic to certain pieces of furniture (that's what the scientist who wrote the book said), the reason for the reaction being an allergy to certain woods ! i've had allkinds of allergies over the years and have found that stress reduction(i'm retired) is of great help. just cite two specific examples : always thought i could not tolerate peppers(the vegetable kind); my sister-in-law was visiting from germany and said "that's nonsense! i'll prepare them and you won't have any problems". she prepared yellow and orange peppers; stirfried with vidalia onion and butter. i ate them and no problems! the secret : she peeled them first ! also had stayed away from onions for years; but i now find that vidalia onions really agree with me. i also find that when we are travelling overseas, i'll eat all kinds of food that i would not dare eat at home. try getting some books from the library; but be aware that some of them may make you really cranky, because you may think that you'll have to stop enjoying live. final point : what kind of water do you drink ? we have been using a BRITTA FILTER for years and find that the water tastes much better after being filtered. i sure wish you GOOD LUCK ! let us know what you discover on your journey. i assume you have already searched the web, but here is a site anyway. hbg. www.foodintol.com/eliminationdiet.asp
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Portal Star
Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2003 12:14 pm
Wow, that sounds like a lot of work! If it gets -really- bad again, I'll try the elimination diet. Hmm... I sometimes have problems with rice/carbohydraes though - I think b/c of all the gluten, it's hard to digest. I also have trouble with fats. I do well on a japanese diet, especially sushi - like the fish on top of the rice, with some miso soup *delicious.*
I have pretty good luck with fiber, as long as I don't eat too much of it Wink.
I'll have to try peppers without the skins on. Peppers have some kind of irritant in them, so does cantalope and some other foods...

I also find I can eat food overseas without problem, but I account that to exercise and rest - if I'm getting a -lot- of exercise, my problems aren't nearly as bad. Exercise + sleep, no stress, and a careful diet - my irritable bowel is gone and the allergies are better. This is also true of when I go hiking or canoeing in the U.S. Unfortunately, I work and go to school, which is not a situation in which I get a lot of exercise. I walk everywhere, but that's not the same as an entire day of hard labor. Come to think of it, I should try to work more exercise into my schedule once it lets up. Martial arts or somthing like that.

Maybe they have different allergens overseas, ones that don't bother me or I haven't built up a reaction to.
Brita water -is- tasty. Been using it for years.
Thanks for your advice.
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Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2003 12:30 pm
portal star : exercise, sleep, no stress ... i can certainly vouch for that ! just came back from three weeks in europe, we must have walked about three to five hours every day; dead tired in the evening ... SLEEP came quickly ! as for food : i ate pig's knuckles and sauerkraut, spicy italian food, drank about a pint of beer a day (wouldn't dare drink beer in north-america !) - didn't gain any weight. so i do know that exercse is good for me; we don't sit still when we are at home - go swimming and walking pretty well every day, but that's still not the same amount of exercise/work we do when on vacation (hah, some vacation, always thought it was to rest up?). keep us posted, and good luck ! hbg ... perhaps you ought to try RETIREMENT; it certainly has helped me ! ...
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Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 05:16 am
@Portal Star,
Wow, finally someone like me... So, I've never been alergic to anything, not even poison ivy. I've traveled all over the world, drank the water and bathed in it, got the shits in Iraq, lol, but everyone did:-o Anyway, I finally come home to find that I'm developing allergies to like everything, Wtf?! I thought at first that it was my water, I have a well, then soaps and all kinds stuff I tried eliminating and nothing works. I actually had an allergic reaction to an allergy pill and hyper venilated at work for ten hours... I don't know what to do either cause now I'm allergic to almost everything, I am lactose intolerant, I have ibs, and along with that the dermatographic whatever, and probably other crappy linked to this. This has to be one underlining problem here, doctors at the va look at me like I'm an idiot and its bs... The only thing I can come up with was a series of anthrax shots... I don't know what the hell else it can be... If you find anything else out, please, please, please, let me know @ [email protected] thanx...
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 01:35 pm
this is a really old thread, but thank you for bringing it up again.

I suffer from most of these same symptoms, and am in process of trying to eliminate ugly diseases. we leaned towards crohns for a long time, but now it seems that it is maybe something else. my joints are ugly and weakened, however. my left wrist almost never is pain free.

I am celiac, and terrible gluten sensitive.

I get itchy rashes more now, but have always felt, and still do, that they were a symptom of blood abnormalities. like hives...

this post is eerily similar to where I am, except the headaches and fuzziness are near their peak.

good luck in your search for answers...
Reply Thu 29 Dec, 2011 10:08 pm
The only thing that works for me is sleeping pills...
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