Are my hives caused by an allergy/intolerance o... - Thyroid UK

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Are my hives caused by an allergy/intolerance or are they another symptom of underactive thyroid?


Hives has been an ongoing symptom for me for a number of years, certainly before I was diagnosed with autoimmune thryroiditis in 2011. I am aware there is a some sort of link between autoimmune antibodies and hives. I have now been referred to the allergy/immunology clinic at the hospital. I'm really confused as to whether my symptoms may be caused by an allergy or intolerance, or because I'm not been adequately treated for hypothyroidism.

I suffer from hives daily, they get worse into the evening and seem to go hand in hand with a woolly headache, aching joints and general fatigue. I take one 180mg fexofenadine most days, and although they are the best anti-histamine I have tried, they are becoming less effective. My hives are much worse if there is any kind of pressure on my skin, and sometimes they are unbearable. They can appear anywhere on my limbs, torso or neck, though not usually on my face.

Other symptoms I have generally are poor memory and brain fog, being tired all the time, strange outbreaks of spots on my temples, painful periods and constipation. Have recently reduced my hours and responsibiities at work as everything became such so an effort.

I'm taking 75mcg levothyroxine, at night. These are my latest test results from August 2012.

Serum TSH 1.5 miu/L (0.2-6.0)

Serum free T4 16.2 (10.0- 25.0)

No T3 test, as apparantly can only be done if requested by an endicrinologist

Serum ferritin 21ug/L (10.0-322.0)

Serum B12 405ng/L (211-911.0).

I'm aware the ferritin is low (and was previously 9ug/L) but I take 3x natures plus hemaplex iron tablets daily, as recommended by a nutritionist. They also contain lots of B12.

Thyroid peroxidase antibody levels in July 2011 were >1300+.

Have had a blood test to detect Coeliac disease, which was negative.

Any comments or thoughts would be much appreciated! This is my first question on this forum, so thank you for taking the time to read this.

20 Replies

Your FT4 suggests you are a bit under-dosed? So do your symptoms.

Might be worth switching round anti-histamines - fex might be best overall, but sometimes it is good to give it a rest and try using one of the others.

Have you considered vitamin D?

DawnyM in reply to helvella

Thanks for your reply, I've never had a test for Vit D so I will look into that. I think I do remember reading somewhere that anti-histamines become less effective over time, so I'll try switching back to something else and see if that helps.

Hashoo in reply to DawnyM

I have mass allergic reactions constantly, since taking levo my allergies have seriously subsided but I still take antihistamins....I swap between fexofanadine and citirozine as when one becomes less affective the other pics up, I have been told that this is normal and that sometimes you may need to change to something completely different!...I too get the Hives I simpathise.

I have been to get allergy tested and am apparently allergic to nothing....however, I notice a big increase in my reactions when I eat tomatoes and am going down the "notiing down everything and seeing what causes my reactions route"....anyhow, hope it all goes well for you! :)

Good luck

DawnyM in reply to Hashoo

Sorry to hear you're suffering too. Seems very similar to me, going round in circles trying to think of different causes! I did read something recently about histamine intolerance, although I can't remember where on the web.

Every food I enjoy is quite high in histamine apparantly including tomatoes, cheese, spinach, kidney beans, eggs, etc (every vegetarians staple diet!). I was going to mention this at the allergy clinic when I go in Feb.

Let's hope we both get to the bottom if this. Take care.

Hashoo in reply to DawnyM

Fingers crossed!!!....I was told that I may have an allergy to salicitates (I think that's how you spell it) but trying to avoid these is impossible, especially as you get contradicting information all over the place!....let me know what they tell you and if you get any the moment I've gone down the herb route and am taking tinctures and drops given to me in Poland (I don't know what all of them are but one of them is propolis which you can get in the shops here...I've also been told to eat a piece of over 65% dark chocolate a day and a pinch of nuts a day plus spinach and beetroot 3 x a week each + something called "ostropest" 3 teaspoons 3 x a day with natural yogurt)....I don't know if this will help you especially as I can't give you all the names of things but the things he's told me to eat make sense as they're rich in the vitamins which I'm lacking. If you find alternatives I would love to hear them but since taking these things with thyroxine (not at the same time) I'm getting fewer allergic reactions...I stopped taking the herbs for 3 weeks when I went on holiday and everything came back so I'm a believer but they haven't completely cured me. Anyhow, I'm ranting, I hope you find something that works for you...most importantly, go to your Dr and tell them you need to change your antihistamins, keep some of the ones you have to one side if you can so that you can at least have some relief if the new ones don't work and change to a different one and keep changing till you find one that works again :) ... good luck again and sorry about the miss mash of info :)

DawnyM in reply to Hashoo

That sounds interesting, something in all those herbs and foods must be helping then. I don't know about you, but I drive myself potty if I go a day or two without hives, wondering what I've done differently or eaten/ not eaten.

I'll keep in touch and let you know if I pick any interesting info after my appointment. A problem shared and all that!


RedAppleAdministrator in reply to DawnyM

I did read something recently about histamine intolerance, although I can't remember where on the web.

Have you tried the forums at Allergy UK? Lots of discussion there about histamine intolerance.

Here's a link

DawnyM in reply to RedApple

Thank you!

I was diagnosed hypothyroid after investigation for angioedema and urticaria.

Immunologist was clear that there is a strong linkage to urticaria if autoimmune is causing the thyroid issue.

Clear research paper on this link


sporty333 in reply to PaulB

Hi Paul

When you say urticaria? What symptoms are they exactly?



Maybe you do need an increase in meds. I don't know if this link will be helpful.

DawnyM in reply to shaws

This is very helpful, certainly makes sense to me.


Link below

Meant this link

DawnyM in reply to PaulB

Thanks Paul, I found both links very useful. The wiki info is in line with my GPs thoughts, that it's unlikely I will find a cause by going down the allergy testing route. My appointment with immunology is on Feb12th, so I'll see what happens there.

Did your own urticaria clear up as soon as you started having treatment for your thyroid, or did it take a while to get there?

PaulB in reply to DawnyM

Yes my urticaria has cleared and the idiopathic anaphylaxis is now very rare and less severe. Can only say great things about the immunologists, I was very ill with this and it became life threatening at times till thyroid was under some control.


Hi Dawny, I know you said this happened prior to taking thyroxine but I wonder if this thread would be worth reading.

I'm overactive (Graves disease) but now in normal range and suffer from chronic urticaria so it's not necessarily to do with being hypo but just having a dodgy thyroid generally! It's interesting reading more about salicylate allergy- that's sounds just like me! I break out badly if i drink red wine or wear perfume and have ended up in hospital with terrible angiodoema after a facial. MY GP prescribes cetirizine which I take daily but I also use Piriton if i swell up too much as it's the only think that works with angiodoema. Yuck.

DawnyM in reply to VintageChick

Crikey, so not necessarily just related to an under active thyroid then? I've never had a serious reaction that warrants a hospital visit like you. I can't help but think if my body stopped trying to fight itself, I might have more energy to do other things!

Can I ask if you've had any allergy testing done, and if so, did they find anything?

It's a tricky one and I hear you about the the fighting thing!!! I'm learning to live with it but everyone seems convinced that it's thyroid related and when my levels have stabilised (which they've done in the last week) it will disappear. Even today I had a fat lip for no reason that I can see. If I catch it at the tingle stage I can Piriton it to death. I'm seeing the end next week and will ask if he'll refer me to allergy testing but I fear his answer will be wait and see.

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