I just read your message and I would like to show here a letter I had sent to a doctor. It sounds like we have the same problem, though perhaps not caused by the same thing. I would greatly appreciate if you could let me know whether or not you found a remedy for them. After doing research, it appears that finding the allergen, or the occupation that causes this is difficult, but I am trying.
Dear Doctor ---,
It is with relief that I find your website and, I hope, some guidance. I am a 35 yo male with healthy lifestyle. I quit smoking 3 years ago, exercise regulatly. Around 23 yo, I had an outbreak of urticaria (hives) during a summer. It seemed to mostly happen when I swam in cold water. The urticaria also appeared at the spot where pressure had been applied, though in a delayed reaction. In general, it would manifest itself as round wealts, red and itchy, sometime the size of a penny, often much larger. They would be located on hands, feet, hips, shoulders, but also on areas not subjected to pressure such as face and even on my skull, feeling more like a bump than an actual dermatological manifestation! This debilitating outbreak lasted a few years with more or less degree of severity. I saw many dermatologists who diagnosed me with pressure induced urticaria and prescribed me anti-histamins, which helped at high dosage only. Enventually, the urticaria disappeared, although I did not change anything in my eating/living habits. The urticaria would reappear here and there, mostly on my hands and forearms, often after strong exposure to the sun or cold, but did not remain chronic. A few months ago, after a few weeks of eating and drinking often too much during family reunions, the hives reappeared ferociously and nothing seems to be helping. There are most prominent in the morning, especially on the skull, face and shoulders.
Is there anything I can do to reduce the swelling? Could it be a combination of things with one trigger (it seems like alcohool makes it much worse, yet I have not had one glass of wine in over three weeks and I still have urticaria). Could it be linked to a gastro-intestinal problem as I have heard elsewhere?
Any advice would be welcomed, as well as any references to specialists in the New York City region.