Guest Author - Jim Lowrance
In recent years, medical research has found a strong connection between thyroid autoimmunity and hives or what is medically known as “chronic uticaria”. Some of the studies specifically state that “Hashimoto’s thyroiditis” can be a cause of recurrent hives. Yet even more medical research studies have shown that children with chronic hives or uticaria should be screened for autoimmune thyroid disease by blood testing their thyroid hormone levels and also testing them for “thyroid antibodies”. The two types of thyroid antibodies (also called auto-antibodies), that are most common in causing autoimmune thyroid disease are the “anti-thyroidperoxidase” antibodies (TPO) and the "anti-thyroglobulin" antibodies (TG). If either or both of these are found to be positive in patients with chronic hives, this could be an explanation for their cause.
When I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, in early 2003, one of the symptoms I experienced that told me something unusual was occurring in my body, was a severe case of hives I experienced, just before worsening symptoms of hypothyroidism, also began to occur. I had never experienced uticaria previous to this from either allergies or stress and I felt they were a strong indication that something serious was going on with my immune system. It was in fact thyroid auto-immunity that was flaring up in my system and the hives were a result of this chronic immune response that was destroying my thyroid gland and causing me to also experience progressive hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid).
The doctor I visited when the hives were flaring up, felt that I was experiencing a food allergy but this had never happened before and I instead thought it was an allergy to a plant of some type because I had been doing a lot of landscape work at that time, while managing some property. The job I had at the time was also very stressful and so I also considered the severe stress as a possibility. The fact is however that I was experiencing the onset of hypothyroidism, from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. I feel the disease hit a level of severity, with stress as a possible contributing factor that caused my body to release histamine (fluid produced by the immune system, to fight allergens) which surfaced on my skin, as a severe case of uticaria.
The PubMed medical research website, provided by the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine, published an article entitled; “Association between chronic urticaria and thyroid autoimmunity: a prospective study involving 99 patients.” The article states the following conclusion; “This study shows a significant association between chronic urticaria and thyroid autoimmunity, and that tests to detect thyroid autoantibodies are relevant in patients with chronic urticaria, whereas extensive laboratory tests are not.”
When chronic hives (uticaria) is experienced and is an unusual occurrence not easily explained by an allergen or another obvious cause, a patient should see their doctor and request thyroid antibodies and thyroid function tests to be ordered. These tests can rule out thyroid autoimmunity or help confirm it as being the cause of this condition.