The causes of hives are numerous and not always easy to identify. It is estimated that in up to 70% of cases, the specific cause cannot be pinpointed.
Can stress cause hives? How about a sinus infection, touching latex, or inhaling mold spores? Believe it or not, the answer to all of these is YES! Before we describe the causes of hives and provide an explanation to the question can stress cause hives, let's review the signs and symptoms of this disorder.
Skin hives result from an allergic reaction inside the body, and appear as red, raised, itchy, welts. The causes of skin hives, also known as triggers, are wide and varied, including ingestion, inhalation, or reaction to a physical stimulus. When exposed to a trigger, the body produces histamine, a chemical that is involved in the immune response.
Common causes of hives:
How can stress cause hives? Stress and anxiety cause the body to produce chemicals called cortisol and adrenaline. An intestinal peptide known as VIP may also be produced. An overabundance of these chemicals is thought to cause an imbalance in the body's hormones, thus triggering an outbreak of hives.
Can stress cause hives that last longer than 6 weeks (chronic hives)? The answer to this question is also yes. The hormonal imbalance that causes hives will persist when a person experiences long-term emotional stress or anxiety.
Here are two great tactics to prevent skin hives:
Now that you know the answer to the question "Can stress cause hives?" you will probably also want to know what you can do to prevent stress-induced hives. Both dermatologists and psychologists agree that the best way to beat this type of skin hives is through stress management. By eliminating stressful triggers in your lifestyle, you can successfully prevent hives caused by stress.
As we stated above, if your hives are caused by stress, you should try to treat your stress first by learning to manage it.
There are many treatment options to combat the other causes of hives. Knowing the pros and cons of each treatment can help you select your best treatment strategy.
Over-the-counter medications. These products block the body's release of antihistamines, but may cause marked drowsiness.
Prescriptions. As with all medications, prescriptions may carry side effects.
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
- Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)
- Clemastine (Tavist)
Homeopathic remedies. Designed to work with the body's natural response system, these all-natural remedies have the appeal of usually being free of side effects, and are available without a doctor's prescription.
- Desloratadine (Clarinex)
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- Hydroxyzine (Atarax)
See a doctor to make sure an underlying illness or disease is not causing your skin hives. If you feel lightheaded or suffer difficulty breathing, see your doctor immediately. Be sure to ask how can stress cause hives, and about other causes of hives.
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