About

One day I was fine and the next day I itched. It was a strange little itch on my left bicep. I figured it was a bit of an allergy from something I had touched. But it didn’t go away, it just got worse. One morning I woke up with hives on my thighs. I couldn’t imagine why I all of a sudden had hives, but by mid morning they disappeared and I didn’t give them much thought again. As time progressed, the itching got worse. At its worst point, my whole body itched. I didn’t have hives, just itching.

At the same time the itching was progressing into something I couldn’t ignore, I began to have restless nights and hot flashes. I knew I was peri-menopausal, and had suffered a few hot flashes here and there, but now I was having five and six a night. So I itched and I tossed and turned and I had six hot flashes a night and I was a full on mess!

I was miserable. And I thought I was crazy. I didn’t have hives. I just had an invisible itch. So that’s where I started in my research. Once I started reading I was quite horrified to find out the various things it could be. And so many people complain about going to multiple doctors and finding no relief I thought I’d try to figure it out on my own first. The whole body itching had stopped but one arm was constant.

Along with trying to figure out what it was I was trying to figure out how to stop it. Oatmeal baths, Vicks Vaporub, lemon, vinegar, lotions, aspirin, I tried it all. Actually the aspirin was my own idea because I kept coming back to the idea of inflammation. I landed on capzasin as something that relieved it. But first it has to burn the living hell out of you to work.

So I kept searching for a cause while trying to manage it. I kept thinking it had something to do with certain foods, like chocolate, but when I researched chocolate allergies it was almost unheard of to be allergic to so I gave up on that.(as a note, histmine intolerance is not an allergy to food per se, but to the histamine in food; chocolate being a big offender.)

So on I went, suffering this weird itch, thinking I was crazy, until the one night I had a beer. And then it all fell into place.

I was out with my friends for drinks and dinner and ordered a beer. Within minutes of the first sip I was engulfed in flames. Well not really but it felt that way. My arms were ablaze with the itch from hell. I ran off to the ladies room to apply my ever present capzasin, and finished dinner. I did not, however, finish the beer.

I went home immediately and started to research the ingredients in beer. Many…but I hit upon histamine. And then from there I fell over histamine intolerance. And several hours later, after typing in menopause and histamine intolerance I saw it. Hormonal fluctuations can cause a rise in histamine which in turn causes an increase in hot flashes.

So I wasn’t crazy after all. Just menopausal.

So now my mission is to cure it, and if not cure it as least manage it until it hopefully levels out and goes back to normal. I haven’t figured out if that will happen. I hope so. But in the meantime, I manage it with a histamine restricted diet (you must keep a food diary!) and many different supplements. And I must say, though I still itch often, I do not suffer night time hot flashes as long as I stick to my nightly regimen of supplements.

I am refining what I take every day. So as I find more things out I intend to share. It’s only been a couple of months, so I still have much to learn. But all I have learned to this point is here. And I’m here to tell you, you’re not crazy either!

37 comments on “About
  1. Sounds similar to me identifying my gluten intolerance. It takes a while to work these things out, but when you do and you realise how you can feel without the offending ingredient, it’s like a massive light bulb being switched on!

  2. Lisa says:

    Oh my goodness. I was so exicited to come across this blog. I have thought for years that I had histimine intolerance. Allergy tests keep coming up negative, but still I had reactions. Now my hot flashes are ridiculous as well. Yeterday I had taken a double dose of allergy meds and found out that my hot flashes subsided. They would start to come on, but rather than peaking, they would go back down. This was very interesting to me. So, today I decided to Google it, and I found you. I feel so vindicated.

  3. LK says:

    Sitting here drinking ginger tea in stunned disbelief that I have stumbled upon your blog. At age 50 ( two years ago) I thought I had suddenly developed a food allergy…welts on thighs, palms of hand, lip swelling, itching, ears and face would get hot and red after drinking even a little alcohol. It seemed to be something different every day and then no symptoms for several days. I finally saw some correlation to monthly cycle, but since it was becoming unpredictable, that was hard to prove. Stress sometimes was a precursor but of course not always. Symptoms were often worse after a couple hours of sleep. After hours of research and using myself as a test subject I too found that olive oil seemed to have a calming affect. It along with chamomile tea seemed to also help with painful periods, (welts were worse during period). I also found the diet based on my blood type to be helpful. I am convinced the hormone fluctuations of peri menopause ramped up my histamine levels. Also, I have experienced two separate episodes of facial flushing while on a flight (when histamine levels rise)and I had had no alcohol. Doctors and nurses have looked at me like I was nuts when I tried to explain all of this. Soooo, thank goodness others are starting to discover this may be fairly common and even better, treatable. Thank you for your blog, excited I found it.

    My recommendations: chamomile tea, ginger tea, relaxing bath with 1/2 cup Epsom salts when feeling stressed, good extra virgin olive oil up to two tablespoons a day, Blood type diet seemed to really help me also. Fifteen minutes in sunshine also a benefit . Most important: sense of humor while repeating, I am NOT crazy. I still drink some coffee and sometimes can get by with having one margarita when just feeling like being on the wild side.

    • Loved your comments. Especially the part about retaining a sense of humor while chanting I am not crazy!

      I was thinking I’d set up a pole with only two answers. Before you found my blog did you think you were nuts? A yes. B no. I’d say we’d see 99 percent yes!

      And as for that margarita, I say have at it. Many a time I sat at happy hour with friends, in the beginning at my worst, with a drink in one hand and a quercetin in the other. I washed it down with the margarita! While eating pizza.

      One thing I’ve learned; life is too short to miss a good time so I’d itch under the table and just keep going!

      Once I knew what I was dealing with and I knew I could gain control over it I determined when and where I felt I could let go of the reigns a bit so I could just have a good time.

      I hope you are now on a healing path. Let me know if you see a positive change now that all the pieces are falling into place.

  4. Pam says:

    I AM SO HAPPY! Not crazy. Just in menopause. Put ‘histamine intolerance’ at the end of my ever growing list of symptoms over the past 8 years… thank you for writing this blog. I see myself in all of you that have posted. This is all new to me since my hives only started 2 months ago and are on a 2 week cycle, but looking back I’ve had histamine issues for years.

  5. I developed Histamine Intolerance on birth control and just discovered what was going on. I’ve been so sick for so long! The birth control did a number on me and I’m still recovering (been off since August 2013) and have been blogging about the hormone-HIT connection at recoveryontherun.com. I had to do my own research because my doctors don’t believe me. So good to come across your research because I finally feel validated. Thanks for the blog and the recipes! Keep up the writing! Happy healing to you!

    • Your blog is wonderful. When I get a chance I want to read more. Did you know there’s a link to neurological issues like depression and histamine? I noticed your post about your brother’s health issue. Maybe he needs to be on a low histamine diet too.

      Anyway, I’m thrilled you found me. Make sure you read about olive oil, omega 3’s and B vitamins on my blog. I think it could really help you. And look at the research online about the B vitamins where it concerns neurological health for your bro.

      Gumbo is beautiful!

      • Layla Bazzy says:

        Hi,

        I like your blog and can relate so much. I was coming back from oversees after being on 21 different flights in three months and came down with histamine intolerance. I didn’t know what it was at first and my husband a ND ran every test on me and still we were unable to find anything wrong with me. So after ending up in the emergency from tachycardia, anxiety attack and constriction of my bronchioles, I started my homework to find out what I had and how to cure it. I researched and found I had histamine intolerance/ Chronic Uticaria at that time. After finding this out I would read and research at least 8 hours a day- now down to five hours…. It did help that I had previous medical knowledge but still it was a beast to get rid of the Chronic Uticaria, which I no longer have. Some of the supplements you mention I did use to cure it and it did include the Olive leaf extract and the B-vitamins but the others were Chinese herbs. There are so many things one must do to get rid of this and the first thing is if your working and can afford to quit the job and come home rest and you can cure yourself. The second thing is one must detox all the organs to strengthen them so they can do the job once you have provided the body with what it needs.
        There are many people out there that do not believe it can be cure but take it from me it is curable. I intend to help others cure themselves here in CA by setting up group meetings as soon as I get some extra time. So if any of you are ever in the Central CA area let me know and I will make time to meet with you and hopefully help you with your journey. Some may say well why am I not telling you what to take to cure it. With Histamine intolerance it is so tricky that it presents itself at the cellular level different with each one of us so I would hate to recommend something and it gives a negative affect one someone and set them back in their journey. I encourage everyone to do a comp panel so you can look at your blood work, it will give you an idea where to begin. Wishing you all the best of health.

  6. Victoria says:

    Thank you! For this wonderful blog! I’ve been dealing with hives since September. Your experience is almost exactly like mine.
    I cannot wait yo shard this info

  7. tamara p says:

    I cannot begin to tell you the living hell I have gone through these last five years. In fact, I’m shocked I’m still sane and able to even type! I’m 51 and after 5 yrs, of edema and tormenting itch, 24/7 (no joke) I’m just now getting a few hours of relief here and there. I’ve dealt with raw/painful skin, having to quit work (life, really), eight doctors, every test known to man, years of research; multiple drug/cream failures, and on and on and on…I, too, continue to search for answers. I did have severe eczema, allergies and asthma as a child, but have always felt there must be some hormonal trigger that caused my skin to go crazy again. This is the first year I have been able to even dress, wear makeup and leave the house for more than three days a month. (Sadly, I had to resort to an immuno suppressor (Cellcept), being our last resort, and before I had a nervous breakdown.) I can say it’s helped tremendously; although, going natural would be my preferred method…sadly, You name it, I’ve tried it! I’m told I’m allergic to hundreds of foods/chemicals/environmentals; my reactions are not immediate and sometimes can be 3 weeks out. So, it has been IMPOSSIBLE figuring out the offending food/chemical no matter how OCD I am with my food journals of 5yrs!!. I continue to do my research and even thought of starting my own blog, as I now realize SO many people are suffering. I only wish I could find a cure for all of us! I wondered if if you had any thoughts on ALCAT testing. I had that done, initially, but now wonder how accurate it really was.Any thoughts?

    • Tamara,

      Keeping in mind I am not a doctor and this is not medical advise, I would say an ALCAT test will not help you find out what’s wrong. It does not identify non-IgE mediated reactions to foods, chemicals, and other categories of substances. In other words, typical allergic responses to foods can be picked up by that test, but if you have a mast cell disorder or something like histamine intolerance that test will not show it. That’s because you might not be sensitive to the food but are sensitive to the histamine in food.

      You mention that you were asthmatic when you were younger. This is part of an IgE disorder. I think that’s where you really need to look to solve your problem.

      Research mast cells, basophils, IgE. All of that will get you closer to understanding mast cell problems.

      I also have a hard time believing a food can cause an allergic like response three weeks away from ingestion unless you are not eliminating properly. Foods leave the system within hours, depending on how good your body is at elimination. It makes no sense to me that something could linger three weeks later and cause a problem. Sorry, but that just doesn’t jive with my understanding of digestion. Although histamine intolerance can cause the system to slow considerably and constipation is a symptom, but three weeks?

      I am very sorry to hear about your traumatic journey through the last five years. I’m quite sure you’d like your life back. And I truly believe that it’s possible. If histamine intolerance or some other mast cell disease is your problem, you can control it.

      I know you said you keep a food diary, so now is the time to go back through it and start matching up what foods you eat and seeing where they land on the histamine food lists. Many times we think we’re eating healthfully only to find out that some of the healthiest foods are high in histamine. Spinach is a good example.

      I think you need to really look into the mast cell thing. Make sure you visit the Low HIstamine Chef’s site. She also has a ton of great information and an important story to tell.

      Please stop back by and update me. I’d love to hear that you are on a healing path and have figured out what the issue is no matter what it turns out to be.

      Good luck,
      Dale

  8. tamara p says:

    Thanks Dale,
    Yes, I’ve had high IGE in the 300-400 range most of my life. I also looked into the mast cell connection and have tried Singulair and even the Xolair injections..so far no relief. Thanks for your reply! Tamara

  9. DebbieS says:

    Hi, I’m Debbie, Just recently found your site. It’s great! About 5 years ago I made a change in life, lost a lot of weight, got fit, kept weight off. To do this included: cutting out foods where quantity was an issue. So for maybe 2 years? I didn’t eat any Olive Oil. A few months into the weight loss, and my upper right lip started feeling irritated, itching & peeling. After a while I journaled & could figure out, that after eating certain foods, I felt almost compulsive, about touching, peeling, picking at the lip, Some days terrilble, others not so bad.The LIST: of my foods nearly matches Histamine List. They are: vinegar, fake butter/margarine, most cheeses, most yogurts, cocoa powder, any fruit spread or jam, preserves etc.; any meat tenderizers,sauces,ketchup,certain syrups, certain preservatives. I am ok with produce, meats,fish. Certain protein powders and certain nutrition bars are awful, especially anything that says “peptides” or something about enzymes, trouble. Certain brands always big trouble. Other brands great.

    For many days I was baking using Chinese 5 Spice with no issue, but one day when I ran out & used Pumpkin Pie Spice, it bothered the lip. I then saw that one the pumpkin pie spice label, it said “sulfiting agents.” So I don’t know if this is a histamine intolerance or a sulfites intolerance orboth. QUESTION:

    How shall I test without going to a lab that I can’t afford? I could A) take an antihistamine pill for a while,and eat what I shouldn’t, and see what happens? B) Try taking Histame or Daosin pills, and test?OR C) Take the B6 and other recommended things like molybdenumto see?

    I can make the lip behave if I eat extremely carefully. But as soon as I try cheese, yogurt, salad dressing, margarine, some “unknown”thing in a restaurant. Or popcorn. mayonnaise from a restaurant, mustard. If I’m not careful I start picking at and scratching the lip again.

    What do you think is the best way to know what this is and what to do?

    • Honestly I think you answered your own question. It sounds like you are histamine intolerant. The list of foods matches and the fact that you have a specific reaction when you eat those foods would indicate it is so. So what more kind of test do you need?

      Don’t eat the things that cause the reaction and think about either using some supplements or adding antihistimic foods into your diet.

      I would not even try an antihistamine. They are terrible for lots of reasons and weight gain is one of them.

      You might want to try histame. I never did because I’m vegetarian and it’s derived from pigs but at my worst had I not been vegetarian I would have tried it too!

      And please consider adding olive oil either into your diet or use it on your skin. It was key to my healing.

      I think you’re on the right track. There is no good reason to eat what you know is causing the reaction to prove a point. Why make yourself miserable?

      Dale

  10. DebbieS says:

    Oops, I forgot to add that now I have had peeling itchy upper lip for almost 5 years. Finally, I kinda pieced together that maybe its histamine intolerance. I know many who have symptoms far worse than an upper lip on right side that irritates, annoys, peels and itches. When I eat the wrong foods, I get a sniffly nose first, and about an hour later, the lip starts up. This does not match many other symptoms of histamine intolerance, but could it be?

  11. DebbieS says:

    Thanks for your reply. I typically will go for several days avoiding those certain foods & lip clears up. Then pattern seems to be,we go to a restaurant, a party, somewhere, or (as the case with the pumpkin pie spice) somehow I unintentionally stumble upon some trouble some food. I don’t like the idea of histame from pigs either. I think I’ll take supplements as you suggested & do antihistamic foods, and enjoy olive oil. Thank you!

    • I’m sure you can manage this and heal. You sound like you really do understand what’s going on and that’s the most important part. Keep a food diary to help identify the triggers and keep a list of high histamine foods handy for reference.

      I remember when I was acutely intolerant and had cinnamon. Within a minute I was itching on my arm. It was a spot on my body that reacted to histamine much like your lip. It’s probably the cinnamon in the pumpkin pie spice with you too.

      I think it’s important to get a handle on this even though it’s only showing up on your lip right now because you don’t want to let it get worse and because it is an indication that you have inflammation that your body is not handling properly. And it’s super annoying I’m sure. So don’t feel like it’s “just” on my lip. It’s a systemic reaction that you need to deal with.

      Hope you heal quickly and can eat pumpkin pie again soon!

      Dale

  12. Wow! And I thought I was the only crazy itcher! Just stumbled upon your blog – and really glad I did. I read an interesting article today by Dr Lam (I have adrenal fatigue as well – lucky me!). Here it is in case you’re interested : http://www.drlam.com/blog/histamine-and-adrenal-fatigue-syndrome/4642/

  13. Karen Crosby says:

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this valuable information! I had urticaria for nine years of my life caused by my immune system, which eventually burned out. Then a few months into the menopause it came back with a vengeance and my immunologist said it was caused by my menopause backed up by clear immune blood tests. I get angio oedema in my face too but this can stop my breathing so I have to carry adrenaline injections with me everywhere. This is ongoing and I have to live on antihistamines so we are working to get it under control. Thanks for the information it is so helpful! Love and light from Karen in North East England!

    • Thank you for your message Karen. I hope this helps to set you on a healing path. Maybe you can share my site with your immunologist. It’s wonderful that you’ve found a doctor who knows what he’s talking about and can help.

      Good luck and stay in touch,

      Dale

  14. Mary says:

    This is so comforting to read, although saddened that people have to go through this. Comforted because then I know I’m not just imagining this. I’m a little bit confused about mast cells and histamine intolerance. You mention both for people to look into it. Isn’t the mast cell that produces the histamine? And when one has histamine intolerance, what does that mean, because too many mast cells produce it, or the body isn’t able to break it down due to low DAO? So is one approach possibly supplementing DAO – is there even such a thing? I read somewhere that one can test for DAO. My “allergic” reactions are not hives(although I’ve had that come and go over the years). This sudden onset involves severe palpitations, difficulty breathing, chest tightening, arms and jaw numbing, and the sensation of a sudden crawling sensation “inside” of me. I’ve never had an anaphylactic reaction but I could imagine that it would lead to that, and then I throw up, which seems to alleviate the symptoms. The first time this ever happened was we were on a plane, about to take off. Thankfully we hadn’t so they were able to turn the plane around and let us off for medical attention.

  15. Rosemary Dolan Lesh says:

    Hi, Do you know of any connection between “cold weather” urticaria and post menopause or any other relation to that distinct type of urticaria? Thanks.

  16. Can I simply say what a comfort to discover somebody who truly knows what they’re discussing online. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people have to check this out and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you are not more popular given that you certainly have the gift.

  17. lydia boek says:

    Dale,
    Thank you so much for your informative blog. I have never had any allergies. But in January, would wake up with itchy hands and feet. Then after a round of antibiotics in February, I broke out in hives. I seen four doctors in the last month and all are baffled. I was praying on my knees when I thought to google menopause and hives. I think God answered my prayer when your blogged popped up. Two hours ago, I thought I was going crazy or dying… now I know its the”connection”. I’m in peri – menopause since October (or nine months after having one of my ovaries removed do to a fast growing but none cancerous cyst). I am currently on antihistamines and prednisone, as well as, vitamin d, quercetin, curcumin, probiotics, and gdl. But if I stop, the prednisone, I break out in hives. I am going to share what I learned with all my doctors and keep notes of all my food I eat.
    Also, I like someone else who posted, had just start to add cinnamon to my daily oatmeal when the hives began.
    Thank you again,
    Lydia

    • Please do share the information with your doctors. So many don’t know about this. If I had a dime for every story I’ve read like yours I’d be rich!

      Some probiotics are triggers too so maybe stop that now. I don’t know what gdl is.

      Isn’t it great to know you’re not crazy?! Good luck with your healing. And let me know what your doctor thinks. Don’t let him make you think you don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s your body and you know more than him about it!

      Dale

  18. Susie says:

    Thank you so much for your blog. I have had facial swelling, patchy reddish, purple skin on my face, flares up when exerting myself, even housework! Alcohol causes severe flushing. Allergy testing negative. Have been wondering about histamine problems. Was prescribed strong antihistamine. Will now follow low histamine diet and see what happens. Have also been taking probiotics, will now stop.

  19. Penny says:

    Hi, I was stung by a wasp over three weeks ago and over the following four days broke out in chronic itchy rashes all over my body except my face. I do recall having a couple of itchy patches of skin on my inner knees leading up to the days before the wasp sting though. Throughout the summer I have been having the hot flushes and irregular periods and a blood test following the itchy rash outbreak shows that I’m borderline peri-menopausal.
    After doing my own research into the chronic all over itching I found a site where someone related hives to a vitamin D deficiency. I asked my doctor for another blood test for this and it came back that I had an insufficient vitamin D level – 57 whereas the nurse said it should be at least 75.
    The doctors have diagnosed CU but don’t really know what is the cause and have referred me to a dermatologist. I’m now into my fourth week of constant 24/7 all over itching and burning/pricking sore skin with little or no relief from different types of antihistamine, including 180mg a day, two lots of Prednisolone for three days each time and numerous types of skin creams.
    I am now wondering after coming across your site as to whether my CU is hormonal related or triggered by the sting or could the sting have compounded my histamine levels that were already affected by hormonal changes.
    I am going to see what the dermatologist has to say when I go in two weeks time and I’m going to mention what I have also researched on here too.

    • Don’t be surprised if the dermatologist doesn’t know about histamine intolerance or brushes it off. It’s not well known in allopathic circles. Trust yourself. Listen to your body and heal yourself. Read through my site and take matters into your own hands. Start on the Current Thoughts page at the index of posts.

      Good luck!

      Dale

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