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Discussion:
Dermatographism
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Does anyone else have this? I was diagnosed today with dermatographism, which literally means "the ability to write on the skin" I've been on zyrtec for at least 10 years and before that I was on hisminal (no longer available). I always thought I was allergic to lots of soaps and perfumes and scented things, we tried almost every laundry soap out there. When I started taking zyrtec year round I stopped having problems with the hives. I thought I had finally found a soap that worked! Then every time I tried to go off of the zyrtec I would break out in hives on the 3rd day. I finally went to an allergist today and I had to be off of all allergy meds for 1 week. I have been in HELL with the itchy hives!!! Turns out every allergy test came back negative, I have NO ALLERGIES AT ALL!! All these years I thought i was allergic to pollen and dust and my dogs, not at all! What I have is dermatographism. Basically any pressure or touch on the skin causes me to itch and then break out in hives from the itching. It's not real common but somewhat. My doc said I will probably have to stay on zyrtec the rest of my life for it. I'm good with that since I've been completely symptom free for almost 4 years while being on the zyrtec year-round. So to anyone who has similar problems to test for this all you have to do is take a pen or tongue dispenser and rub it across your skin, if you get a raised red rash that goes away on it's own within an hour that is what you have!
Posted on 04/25/08, 10:23 pm
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Reply #1 - 06/25/08  10:57pm
" I have this, too. I started getting hives when I was 12 but I come from a family with a lot of allergies so it wasn't a big surprise. I was sent to an allergy specialist once and while I am allergic to dust, pollen, etc. etc., I know my allergies aren't the cause of my hives.

For me, meds were more problematic than the hives. But I'm always itchy. The touch of my clothes, especially on my legs and back and neck makes me crazy. I always have hives, somewhere. "
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Reply #2 - 08/06/08  1:45am
" I just started getting symptoms including really itchy skin and welts from scratching. I take Benadryl and use lotions to relieve the itching. I also started to exclude gluten from my diet, as that tends to be the culprit for allergies. The symptoms started a little over 2 weeks ago and have gotten bad enough to be really annoying. I will keep you posted about whether or not anything works for me! "
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Reply #3 - 12/18/08  7:58pm
" I was diagnosed with dermatographism in 2006. My aunt has it too. I am on hydroxyzine. It is under control but I absolutely cannot go without it or I will lose my mind from the itching! When I was first diagnosed I was put on zyrtec. It worked for about 1 week and the symptoms returned with a vengence! I had all the allergy testing done too and it all came back negative - no allergies. I swear it has to be an allergy to something though. If so, it seems impossible to figure out. There is no pattern to the symptoms. The only thing is pressure to the skin. If I go without my meds I itch from randome things and it goes away for a while but will always start up again at any time. Sometimes all it takes is the hair on my head to be touching my ear and my ear is suddenly itching and on fire. Then, just like that it stops!

Anyway...I've found other posts on the internet about this but none of those boards are active any longer. I hope this one still is! "
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Reply #4 - 02/20/09  10:48pm
" I was diagnosed with dermatographism about 10 years ago, but I have had symptoms for at least 3 years before I was diagnosed. I take antihistamines on a regular basis, every other day, or if I forget, when I get itchy! Over the years, I have tried to find out what caused this to happen, because, I did not have any skin problems as a child, and it seemed to come on out of nowhere shortly after I finished college and began working full time. I have had dermatographism for some time now, the funny thing is that I often don't even know I was itching myself until someone else points out the scratch marks on my neck or arms, other times, my skin seems like it is on fire if I don't scratch. As long as I take my antihistamines, it doesn't bother me at all. One piece of advice I was told by my allergist when I was diganosed, is to change the antihistamines that you use every now and then, because your body may become used to the same antihistamine and it may become less effective.

I found out something interesting today when I was looking for information for another problem that I have been having for several years, night sweats. I am only 34, so menopause was most likely the cause. My doctor is having my thyroid tested to see if it is low, if so this could be the cause of the night sweats. I decided to look into hyperthyroidism (low thyroid) and what I found was very interesting; there may be a link between hypothyroidism and dermatographism. Apparently low thyroid can cause skin problems, such as hives! Men and women can have hypothyroidism, but is is more common for women. I did a google search and typed in dermatorgaphism and hypothyroidism and found several articles linking the two.

I am eager to find out the resultsof the test. If my thyroid is low, I will be very curious if treating it would relieve my dermatographism symptoms. "
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Reply #5 - 02/21/09  10:41am
" I had my thyroid levels tested before any allergy tests were done - so I know it's not that, unless it's possible for the tests to come out normal but still have an undetected problem with the Thyroid? I must go back and check the test sheet to see what all I was tested for. Perhaps the gluten could be a culprit. Who knows! I swear it has to be something in or on my body that is causing this itching. I don't buy the "leaky histamines" theory that my doctor gave me! Haha! "
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Reply #6 - 02/21/09  6:43pm
" My skin reacts like that too! Had thyroid tested and it came back negative. Extreme temperature change does it too! I am taking Zyrtec for now. I also had a ANA test to see if I have Lupus. It came back very low(43).
Fed up with Drs. for now. : ) "
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Reply #7 - 02/21/09  8:16pm
" just when I think I might be figuring out a possible cause - I'm wrong. It's very frustrating. "
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Reply #8 - 02/21/09  11:50pm
" I think this is what I have too. I went to an allergist this summer. I was tested for ALL kinds of stuff... The only things that showed up were things I already knew... mold, latex, chocolate and strawberries. I stayed away from all of these these things, and couldn't understand why I still got hives at the drop of a hat. All the time. Every day, somewhere. When my doctor told me that it wasn't specific allergies, but something else, I shut down right there. I was so disappointed that I couldn't just avoid something to get this ll to go away. He did mention the name but I was upset and didn't care. I'm pretty sure he said dermatographism. He mentioned trying different kinds of allergy medications, but he also mentioned steroids or something, and I'm not interested.

I get hives if something like clothing rubs on my skin. I get hives if the temperature changes really quickly. I get hives EVERY DAY from the shower, no matter what temp the water is. He tested me for chlorine and other stuff, but came up with nothing. I also, and this is fun, break out if I'm stressed, usually on my face, above my top lip. Awesome :-P I'll tell you what though, I'm going to try taking a zyrtec every day and see what happens!

:-) "
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Reply #9 - 02/22/09  7:23am
" Sounds exactly like what we all are experiencing - Dermatographism. When I was tested the allergist said my skin reacted to the saline more than anthing else, which means it's just my skin reacting, not an allergen causing it. That's frustrating when - like you said - you can't just stop eating something or stay away from something. It's not that simple. I take hydroxizine. That makes a big difference, but doesn't completely mask it. Every time I try to stop taking it I drive myself nuts! Haha! I'm not happy about taking meds. "
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Reply #10 - 02/27/09  11:39pm
" Amazing...I have had this for almost 15 years,i'm 37 now. very frustrating, no cure in sight. i have just recently seen a naturopath who did some acupuncture and i'm on remedies. She thinks it can be cured but may take up to a year. I have also had several allergy tests and been on Reactine for years. The naturopath thinks its a liver issue,not diseased just in a way clogged. We'll see, it's worth a try to me. If I am 2 hours past when i usually take the allergy med, i go crazy too. I got mine about months after a trip to St. Kitts where I got sick... "

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