I just want to share my experience with chronic hives and how I found out that undiagnosed Celiac was causing my hives because hives are not a common symptom of Celiac and some people may be suffering needlessly. The short version is that I had severe chronic hives and angioedema for six months. They were so bad that I had to quit my job. I was on prednisone, zyrtec, singulair, and zantac, and I still had to go to the emergency room occasionally to get a shot or IV of prednisone. I saw my regular Dr. many times, an allergist/immunologist, and many different emergency room Dr.'s. I had many blood tests including RAST allergy tests which stated that I was not allergic to anything. THe Dr.'s said I would just have to take medication until it just went away on it's own (why do they always say that?). Anyway, I couldn't accept that as an answer. I read somewhere that a Dr. would rather see a live tiger walk into his office than a person with chronic hives! When you can't sleep because you are being tortured by hives as big as plates and a swollen face you look for answers. In my case I found out I have Celiac disease. I figured it out on my own through trial and error and looking around on the internet. I got lab work to confirm it. Since Celiac is not an allergy I tested negative for any allergy to wheat. No Dr. suggested Celiac. I also tested positive for antibodies to the protein in milk called casein (at Enterolab). I stopped eating any foods containing gluten and casein (very hard) five months ago and my hives have gone down to one small patch every other day and I just take one Zyrtec and they go away in 20 minutes. They have progressively decreased since I stopped eating gluten and casein and they are almost gone completely.
For those of you with hives who found this post by googling "hives" and think Celiac could possibly be a cause for your hives, do some research. If you get blood work and it comes up negative that does not necessarily mean you don't have it. You can also be gluten sensitive without having Celiac. Also, you have to be eating gluten for the tests to be valid. I stopped eating it and noticed an improvement and then ate some bread and had to go to the emergency room because of the breakout of hives and angioedema. Anyway, I was able to end my suffering due to the information I learned from message boards and I vowed that if I ever figured out what was causing the torture I was going through I would go back and post because I learned so much from the internet that led me to figure out what was wrong with me. Also, I want to add that I also had very high thyroid antibodies that are now down in the normal range after five months on a gluten free diet. Anyway, hang in there and do your own research. If I had listened to the Dr.'s and just took steroids and "waited for it to go away on it's own" I would still be suffering. I also had my two sons (age 19 months and 5 yrs) tested at Enterolab and they also tested positive. They do not have any symptoms but are now on a gluten free diet to prevent any health problems. Now I am grateful for the hives because if I hadn't had that ***l than I wouldn't have found out about Celiac and would have never had my boys tested. Anyway, so much for the short version! Tina