Chronic Hives: The rash and itching that can drive you crazy!

Hives, also known in medical terms as urticaria, is a skin condition that is characterized by intense itching along with red welts. It looks like a person has been stung by a swarm of bees – only it occurs at any time without warning.

The problem for patients that suffer with chronic hives is that dermatologists and allergists are limited in what they can offer to give lasting relief. At Mitchell Medical Group, I believe we have found a way to provide significant relief for those patients waiting for a solution.

The Cause

In most cases of chronic urticaria, an allergist can have difficulty finding the cause of the hives. In acute cases of urticaria it is much easier: it could be a food a patient ate, it could be a medication a patient used or it can be due to an infection. The simple cases you don’t need a medical detective, it’s usually quite obvious. However, chronic urticaria is more of a mystery. The latest research seems to indicate it’s a mild type ofautoimmune disease that isn’t due to a food or environmental allergen. But…. I have also seen in our practice cases where the hives were due to Candida, a yeast overgrowth coming from the digestive tract.
hives treatment

The Testing

I mentioned that many patients I see have already seen an allergist, who may have done conventional allergy testing for foods or environmental allergens without any positive results. My approach is to look where others may have not thought to check.

The thyroid gland, whether it is overactive or more commonly underactive- hypothyroid- can be associated with hives and autoimmunity. Especially, the condition Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis sounds like a scary condition, but it can be easily treated. In cases where the thyroid hormones are rebalanced the hives can go away. The key tests to look at are:

  • Thyroid peroxidase antibodies
  • Thyroglobulin antibodies
  • TSH
  • Free T3 and Free T4 and reverse T3

The Treatment

In these difficult cases of chronic urticarial, especially those patients that have been depended on oral corticosteroids, I have found a treatment that is safe and effective: Gamma globulin injections.

Gamma globulin is a product derived from plasma that contains protective antibodies from multiple donors. It is nano-filtered so it is considered safe from viruses. It has the antibodies that appear to block the autoantibodies frequently causing chronic hives.

A series of 8 injections in many cases is enough to see significant disappearance of the hives.

I also put patients on an anti-inflammatory diet that decreases the overgrowth of yeast. In addition, some patients also benefit from antifungal medications and sublingual Candida drops for long term protection.

If you suffer from chronic hives, please check all your options: a solution is available.

– Dr. Dean Mitchell
Mitchell Medical Group in Long Island & Manhattan

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