Can Stress Cause Hives
Can stress cause hives? If your frustration over something has been magnified by the appearance of itchy red splotches, then you know that the simple but resounding answer to this question is YES.
To learn more about this, let’s take a look at some of the causes of stress and the symptoms of hives. Then we’re going to look at stress relief.
Hives are red, slightly raised patches on your skin. They are usually shaped irregularly.
They can be very small and spotty in size, or they can spread over areas as large as CD disks!
Sometimes they are called wheals, and sometimes the rash is called a nettle rash, because the rash can feel like you brushed up against a bush with prickly nettles.
Your doctor calls it urticaria, from the Latin for nettles. But no matter what you call them, boy, do they itch!
Hives can come and go within an hour, or they can persist for weeks.
Ordinary hives are those that appear suddenly, sometimes for no apparent reason or possibly because you ate a food that caused an allergic reaction.
Physical hives are the result of a specific stimulus to the skin, like temperature extremes, sunlight, or pressure. Doctors call them chronic hives if they last longer than six weeks.
If you have noticed that you get hives when your emotions are high, then you have the ordinary type of hives caused by stress.
Can Stress Cause Hives - Manage Your Stress
Each and every day we are under stress. Sometimes we are well aware of the stress that is affecting us, like when the boss takes a ride on the Nasty Wagon.
Other times we are so preoccupied by life’s challenges, we don’t even realize that we are stressed.
Life’s ten most stressful situations, ranked in order, include the death of a spouse, divorce, separation, imprisonment, death of a close family member, personal illness or injury, getting married, losing your job, giving your marriage another try, and facing retirement.
Close behind these are deciding upon a new career, facing the death of a close friend, financing a home, and your child leaving the nest.
You can see that most of our top stressors are negative experiences, but even good changes like getting married or sending your child off to college can be very stressful.
Much farther down the list but still bringing on lots of stress are being on committees at your church or preparing for holidays!
The word stress equates with change. If you think of each of the scenarios described above, you can see that they are situations of great change in our lives. Our emotions are heightened by these changes, and our bodies react at the basic cellular level.
Can Stress Cause Hives - A Biochemical Reaction
This is how hives happen: Chemicals called neurotransmitters in our cells warn other cells that change is occurring, and our bodies get ready for a fight-or-flight response.
One of these neurotransmitters corresponds with emotional changes and affects smooth muscle cells and major organs.
Your skin is the body’s largest organ, and the signals sent by the neurotransmitters cause red blood cells to produce clear liquid plasmacytes that have nowhere to go except in pockets under the skin. These are the itchy, red hives!
Can Stress Cause Hives - Actions You Can Take
Now that you have asked yourself, can stress cause hives, how do you get rid of them?
One of the easiest ways is to cool off. Even if you can’t cool off your emotions, you can try taking a cool bath.
Some people use an oatmeal-based product, or use your own oatmeal by putting it in the food processor until it’s a fine powder. Or you can go to a sink and gently splash your face and neck. Pat your skin dry slowly and do not rub the hives.
Another way to get rid of hives is to practice stress relief techniques. If you feel your emotions rising, it’s a good time to go for a walk.
Exercise produces other chemicals called endorphins, and they fight the chemical reaction that produced the hives in the first place. Laughing produces lots of endorphins, but if you’re so upset you can’t enjoy a few minutes joking with a friend you can gear yourself to meditating. Just sit and relax in a chair with your eyes closed and take deep breaths. Grab an ice pack and lay it on the worst spots. Drink some cool water.
People who have hives all over their bodies sometimes take antihistamine medications as the last resort to ease their suffering. But if you keep getting them back, you need to see a doctor. It’s never good to take any medication for a long period of time without having your condition evaluated by a physician.
You could be allergic to something in your environment, or you could have an underlying medical condition such as thyroid disease. Can stress cause hives? It should be clearly by now that it does.
Last but not least, no matter what else, don’t scratch! You’ll make things worse.
Remember that change is inevitable. Make a list of ways that you will deal with whatever is happening in your life. Tell yourself that you refuse to be a Cranky-pants like your boss! You’ll feel better in no time.
From Can Stress Cause Hives to the main page about Stress Symptoms