Thursday, October 30, 2008

Can Stress Cause Hives?

Hives, also know as urticaria, are a type of skin rash characterized by areas of flat pale red raised swelling or irritation on the skin. This type of rash usually does not stay around for long, but can last from a few minutes to few weeks. This rash is extremely itchy and can cause a stinging or burning sensation, which is extremely uncomfortable, making it difficult not to scratch. While it can have many different causes, stress is definitely one!

Lets explain how stress can bring about a skin irritation and result in urticaria. The largest organ of the body is skin, which is also very sensitive and can react to all kinds of irritates, both external and internal. As we know, stress can also be caused due to hormonal imbalance and can also cause hormonal imbalances itself through the generation of large amounts of adrenaline and cortisol in its natural 'fight-or-flight' responses. These hormonal imbalances have ripple effects affects on the overall health of the body.

Hives occurs in 15-20 percent of the people, affecting women twice as often as men. It can occur on any part of the body and its size can range from few millimeters to a foot. Identifying the causes of hives is a bit difficult as there are several ways in which it can come about.

Now that you know that stress amongst other causes can hives, lets have a look at the different types of hives of which there are two types:

  • Ordinary hives, which appears suddenly on several different places on the body simultaneously and the affected part of the body is red and itchy. It lasts from few days to weeks. If, however, it is around for more than 6 weeks (poor you because it might have driven you mad by then), they are considered to be chronic in nature and needs professional intervention.
  • Physical hives, which arises when something stimulates or irritates the skin. Physical hives are caused owing to scratching and technically is known as dermatographism. It also can arise from exercise, pressure, water, heat or cold and sunlight. Does n't leave much out does it?But, you want to know whether stress cause hives and how does it come about:
  • Ordinary hives are caused as a reaction to food, such as, berries, fish, chocolates, nuts, milk. Viral infections , insect bites or a certain medication can also be the possible triggers. The causes of chronic hives, however, are never consistent which makes its eradication difficult.
  • The common triggers of physical hives as stated are sun, water and cold, but other triggers including stress, fungus, perfumes or deodorants, pets, bacteria etc play a role. They also arise because of hormonal imbalance and this is where stress and its management comes into play. Stress hormones have a particular effect in women, because they can disturb the estrogen and progesterone balance. Urticaria which occurs via this route should be treated seriously and a professional should be consulted as it can also prove to be life-threatening.So can stress cause hives? Yes, strange as it may seem and of more importance it has been proved that it can be life-threatening and definitely does need to be addressed. Some of the generally treatments will include:
  • Personalized stress management program for optimum long-term symptom management.
  • An antihistamine or a steroid, usually a cream recommended by your doctor to relieve the symptoms.
  • Natural treatments are an one option as there are less side effects than what can arise from steroids, as effective as they are. A homeopath can be consulted for this.
  • Be aware though, that people spend a great deal of time and money on the remedies with very little success. One remedy, however, has been found to have a beneficial impact is known as HIVAREX and can be taken orally in order to maintain optimal immune system health.

    There is no exact treatment or cure for hives, the above treatments may not benefit everybody but can help relive it to a certain extent, but never take stress as one of its potential causes of your list.

Edward Nicholson highlights more about stress and its forms and impact and how you can manage stress to your advantage with a variety of different techniques at

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