It is often called exercise-induced urticaria, because one of the triggers is physical activity, which classifies cholinergic urticaria in the group of physical urticarias. Running, walking, lifting, exercising; almost any form of physical activity that can increase body temperature can trigger a flare.
Different activities can change your body to different amounts of degrees, and depending on the drive and vigor with which you perform them, they can also influence your internal body heat.
Cholinergic urticaria is sometimes called heat urticaria, because other factors can trigger it. Spicy foods are one of the most common reasons people have breakouts. Emotional triggers also contribute to flare-ups. Anxiety, anger, extreme laughter, and even blushing can cause cholinergic urticaria to rear its ugly head.
The word cholinergic as described in any medical dictionary means “related to acetylcholine”. This is a parasympathomimetic, that is, an action caused by stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
With cholinergic urticaria, a heat trigger of some sort causes the body to release acetylcholine at nerve endings in the skin, causing a hives-like reaction.
Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter in both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system, and it has many functions, but one is to aid in muscle contraction.
Unfortunately, this topic is so complex that many doctors and scientists aren’t exactly sure what actually causes a person to have a hives reaction to their own body heat or even sweat.
Many things have been suggested, such as possible autoimmune disorders and even blood disorders.
Control cholinergic urticaria when caused by stress
The real treatment right now is management of this rare form of skin hives. One thing that is noticeable is that stress seems to play a very important role in people with heat urticaria, especially among adolescents.
Stress management is a serious option to consider if you can determine that your skin’s reactions are due to being overwhelmed, anxiety, anger, or general emotional feelings from current life events.
It is more than possible for a person struggling with cholinergic urticaria to get relief by counteracting the stress trigger; using breathing techniques, relaxation strategies and stress management techniques.
The reason this is important is because stress triggers a defense mechanism in your body. When this happens, your “fight or flight” response is activated and your body’s core temperature may rise.
An increase in dermis (shell) or core temperature can trigger an outbreak if you suffer from cholinergic urticaria.
Assessing Your Diet – Are Spicy Foods the Problem?
Eating spicy foods can also raise your temperature. These include mostly hot peppers, but also tubers that cause your body to heat up in order to digest.
Also, foods that are heated can trigger an episode of hives. Liquids like hot chocolate, coffee, and hot soups can raise your temperature, especially if consumed too quickly.
Many foods activate a process known as thermogenesis, which causes your body to produce heat during the process of digesting certain foods. Some will have a slightly more thermogenic effect on the body than others, and while eating foods high in the thermogenesis process is great for weight loss, it can trigger sensations of itching, stinging and burning of the skin in people who have hives cholinergic.
Internal body temperature control
Thermogenesis, thermoregulation, and emotional state can also influence the temperature inside your body. It is very important to understand all of these triggers so that you can cut them off in the stride.
Light physical activity can cause an episode of cholinergic urticaria, but obviously more strenuous and intense exercise will make things worse.
Some people who have UC also have oral occlusion, which means they struggle with sweating due to clogged sweat glands. As a result, toxins build up in your system, which can cause a host of problems for your body.
Some patients with cholinergic urticaria choose to exercise through the sensations of itching and burning of the skin so that they can sweat well. You need to be careful when doing this, because doing this process too much can put your body into shock.
However, sweating through hives seems to help many people with UC.
External body temperature control
The change in environmental temperature is one of the most important factors to take into account. Outside temperatures, hot water (either drinking or bathing), thermostat settings, and even the clothes you wear, how much you wear, and fabric materials are all necessary to understand to control cholinergic urticaria.
You may find that wearing sweat-wicking shirts when you work out really helps. These draw fluids from the skin and are quite effective at doing so.
Also consider using a dehumidifier for your office or home environment. This will keep moisture at bay and help you exist in a livable environment.
Finally, cold compresses work very well if you feel an outbreak of hives coming on. There are many different ways to make them, and you can even combine herbs and essential oils that have healing and skin-soothing benefits.
Making one is simple. Just take a clean cotton cloth and soak it in a bowl of water. Whether you want to include some herbs or oils is up to them, but those would go in the water too.
Normally the water compresses are made very hot, but there are also cold ones; making simple use of cooler water. This method is not appropriate for people with aquagenic urticaria (water rash), but it is helpful for people struggling with cholinergic urticaria.