Both CSU and acute urticaria can be debilitating due to the itching and pain the hives cause. The disorder is considered uncommonly difficult to treat among dermatological conditions. It is also a more emotionally demanding condition, which can cause great mental distress.
Flare-ups of urticaria are sudden and occur without warning. Itchy, burning, rash-like lesions can appear virtually anywhere on the skin. Individual lesions are called wheals. One characteristic of urticaria is the very short duration of the wheals, each fading within 24 hours.
The various forms of urticaria can be difficult to diagnose. This is because there can be several causes for any patient to develop wheals similar to urticaria. A complete diagnosis requires identifying any environmental factors that might contribute to the symptoms.
Some very effective treatments are available, but must be prescribed and used correctly. Most treatments center around non-sedating antihistamines. Antihistamines interfere with some of the body’s inflammatory responses and are also used to treat certain allergies.
Although the exact source of urticaria is not yet understood, doctors do know certain physical stimuli can lead to flare-ups. These include things like alcoholic drinks, over-the-counter NSAID medications like aspirin and ibuprofen, exercise, and extreme temperatures (both hot and cold.)
Patients can improve their symptom management by noticing which stimuli most often lead to their own flare-ups. By reducing or avoiding contact with these factors, many can substantially reduce the number of flare-ups they experience.
Although there are several treatments for spontaneous urticaria, many patients receive few benefits or have adverse reactions. Likewise, some specific forms of the disorder have few effective treatment options. Urticaria clinical studies are an essential piece in broadening the horizons of urticaria medical research and improving patients’ quality of life.