The following is written by Skinwriter Anonymous. I wrote some thoughts on the matter below his story.
Some breakthroughs fixing my Dermatographia urticaria by Skinwriter Anonymous (19 july 2014)
I spend much time going through all message boards, articles and publications since the day I discovered I had dermatographia, trying to find a solution or at least a clue that would cause some relief. I feel obligated to type out my own experience and add a possible solution (or at least a clue) to what is already known about this condition.
* Just skip to the last 3 paragraphs if you want to avoid my tearjerker life history ramblings:
A little history. I’m a 30 year old male and about 1.5 years ago amidst a very stressful period I developed dermatographia. It started on a random day: someone noticed my face and neck were red. I looked in the mirror and it was swollen. I figured an insect bit me or some other allergic reaction. Later that day I found out that wherever I would touch myself: it would get red, swell and start itching. A mosquito bite type of itch, impossible to ignore.
Not familiar with dermatographia and having a history with allergies I figured some substance was on my hands or in my direct environment that caused all this. For a week I spend most of my time washing all things in my environment, my clothes, my bed and so on to get this ‘stuff’ that made me allergic out of my environment and system. It didn’t help, my skin condition only got worse: the smallest touch (where before I had to scratch) would make my skin itchy and swell like an insect bite for 30-45 minutes. After a week it got so bad that changing clothes, walking, sitting, shaking someones hand or anything else that created pressure on the body would cause itching and swelling from hell on and near the area touched.
Sometimes at night I would scratch myself by accident causing swelling and itching, I would scratch more, more swelling and itching and by the time I realized what I was doing 1⁄3 of my body would be swollen (legs, back, buttocks, stomach area!): the appearance identical to that of someone who had scar tissue from a severe fire accident. Swollen, thick, itchy hot skin. Terrible.
By then I realized it was not a normal allergy, not caused by some external factors and the internet taught me about Dermtographia. I could write texts on my skin! After hours (days!) of obsessive internet research most people seem to indicate it is food related so the months that followed I focused on food: changing diets, leaving out certain ingredients, trying oats, adding vitamins, trying different brands of mineral water: all ideas and tips available on the net I tried them. Nothing worked. (Only thing I did notice that for some reason my symptoms got worse after eating a lot of processed sugars. Drinking cola or eating McDonalds for example would almost instantly create an itch attack causing my skin to swell much faster than normal.).
After some month where i could find nothing that would make any _substantial_ difference I decided to move on to the next phase: antihistamines: I bought a random type of antihistamine (‘first generation’ as I later learned) and wow: no more swelling and itching after 30 minutes taking a small pill! What a relief! No more itching! But within a few hours I learned about the downsides: I got tired, decided to take a small nap.. and woke up 24 hours later! Heavy sedation from a pill just a few millimeters big for almost 48 hours. Not good!
Second disadvantage: although no more itching and swelling: the anti histamine seemed to make my skin even more red when touched and not just red: a more unnatural type of red that would last for an hour instead of 30 minutes: touching my face, neck or hands by accident during the day really made me look like a clown.
During this period I also did several blood and urine tests even an allround STD test: all came out normal. I soon discovered second generation antihistamines (that would still make me tired but not as much) but unfortunately they all caused my skin to turn orange instead of red when touched. If you intend to take antihistamine daily take a half or even 1⁄4 of a pill instead of 1. Same effect after a week of buildup, your body will not become resistant to it as fast as when you take 1 a day and less side effects (sedation). Hard to believe such small pill can be so powerful but it works…. If after some months the effects of your antihistamine become less: switch to another one.)
After 9 months or so I got used to my condition, quit using antihistamines and ‘trained’ myself enough to avoid most things that would cause symptoms. (interesting how your brain adapts, from how you shave, sit down, take of your tshirt, touch your neck, learn to not scratch yourself when you itchy etc. You automatically adapt your habits to avoid skin pressure). Except for public embarrassment (shopping for clothes and trying them on in the shop? or getting a haircut anyone..?) I got used to it.
A month ago i developed a urinal tract/bladder infection. Nothing special, just painful when peeing. So I went to the doctor and he prescribed me an antibiotic. 2 pills a day for 7 days. Simple treatment. I took the pills, 3 days later my bladder infection symptoms went away. All good.
Next day I walked on the street with a girl and we were fooling around and as a joke she grabbed me by my neck with her hand. She didn’t know I have dermatographia but I of course knew that 3 minutes later my neck would be so swollen and red it would look as if someone had tried to strangle me…oh boy. 3 minutes later i looked into a mirror to see how bad the ‘damage’ was and i was stunned: just a few spots where her fingers touched my neck but nothing severe! 5 minutes later even those spots were already gone and my neck was back normal!
I quickly found myself a paperclip and did some scratch tests on my arms and hands: skin would still become a bit more red compared to a ‘normal’ person but no more swelling and itching!! And 5 minutes later the red would already disappear. Conclusion: my Dermatographia disappeared for at least 90% compared to a week earlier!!
My obvious conclusion is that there is a relationship between the antibiotic treatment and the disappearance of most of my Dermatographia symptoms. During my research days I did find a few messages on several messageboards claiming people’s symptoms went away after ‘their infection was healed” but didn’t put much weight to it.
Another thing that changed since my small antibiotics treatment that could be a clue: bowel movements. I wasn’t really aware I had a problem with this (they were irregular and I always had issues with my bowels but have a terrible diet and fast lifestyle so I figured this was the cause) but since my antibiotics treatment I am ‘regular’ and somewhat ‘normal’ again.
This leads me to 2 conclusions:
Although no signs of any infection, viruses, yeast fungal issues or other things were found during lab tests I did earlier: Maybe somewhere in my system there is/was a bacterial infection that also caused my dermatographia symptoms and it got fixed with the antibiotics treatment. Maybe it was a bacterial imbalance in my bowel system causing my Dermatographia symptoms and it got fixed with the antibiotics treatment. The latter seems most logical because I suppose any other infection in the body for over 1.5 years would have caused some symptoms (pain).
I hope this information may be useful or a piece of the puzzle for someone out there trying to solve the mystery of this condition that seems to come and go without a clear reason.
Skinwriter Anonymous 19 july 2014
Thanks for your input, Skinwriter! This is really interesting because I’ve actually heard the opposite: that antibiotics caused dermatographia. It could be that it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotics–I myself am allergic to penicillin and got a rash the first time I took it–and maybe the antibiotics themselves weren’t the cause. It would be interesting to learn that dermatographia is linked to infection, although I think since it is so different for every individual, this is likely not the case across the board.
I do believe that dermatographia is linked to toxicity, so having increased bowel movements definitely helps since your system is moving–getting rid of waste. Great news that your digestive system is working well ;’) ! I’ve also noticed a link between processed food and itchiness. Since I started eating healthier (more fruits and veggies, no processed foods, drinking tons of water, and the biggest thing: no gluten!), my symptoms have eased up. It really works! Especially since certain foods can trigger an outbreak. Doing an elimination diet to find out what you’re allergic to is extremely helpful. Personally, I avoid antibiotics and haven’t taken them for years, but by all means, it may be worth a try since it worked so well for Skinwriter Anonymous!
For more tips on how to naturally heal dermatographia, check out my blog post here if you haven’t already.
I also recommend products to help the itch on my Dermatographia page :=)
Please leave a comment below if you’ve found a link between dermatographia and antibiotics. I’m curious to learn more!
Image courtesy of Skinwriter Anonymous. This shows how quickly the welt goes away since his symptoms have almost disappeared after taking the antibiotics.
Michael McKeeon August 8, 2014 at 1:55 am
My name is Micky,
I am 22 years old and only recently have I shown any symptoms of Dermatographia. Several weeks ago I began taking the Antibiotic (Amoxicillin) for an infection I was having. The infection died down and my prescription ended. Several days later I began to itch all over my body, and I wasn’t sure why. I assumed it was a food allergy or the hot weather. After several days of this is began to notice the I developed welts very easily. After searching I discovered Dermotographic Urticaria and was later ‘diagnosed’ by my family doctor. It wasn’t until I read this article that the lines between the antibiotics and my condition connected for me. This was several weeks ago and I have since been off the Antibiotics but my symptoms haven’t lessened other than now I know what it is I can manage it better. Thank you for this article; I hope my account of it all helps.
Ariana Page Russellon August 11, 2014 at 10:30 am
Hi Micky, thanks for writing! This is helpful–it confirms my suspicions that antibiotics and other medications can trigger the onset of dermatographia. Please see my post for more suggestions on how to treat dermatographia. Good luck, and please keep in touch! Let me know if you experience changes in your symptoms as time passes and you’re off the antibiotics for a longer period of time.
Lucy Smarton December 28, 2018 at 2:52 pm
I’ve had dermographism for 18 years and the only way i’ve found to manage it is taking cetirizine hydrochloride daily. However, I’ve just been taking an antibiotic called Clarithromycin and for the duration I took it for I didn’t need to take the antihistamines and had no itching. This is a first! I’m so curious to know why! Sadly i’m needing to take them again now 🙁
Tracyon April 6, 2019 at 12:00 pm
Hi, i developed this condition a couple of months ago, brought on by an antibiotic. At first I thought I had an allergic reaction to something I had eaten the day before as I started to itch in random areas and scratched areas were very red and very hot to touch. Luckily I had some over the counter antihistamines which helped a bit but I still itched but not as much. After a few days of looking online, I came across this very website and realised this is me, these are my symptoms.
I decided to see my Dr, to say she was impressed with my self diagnosis was an understatement. Anyway she prescribed me an antihistamine called Fexofenadine 180mg, since then I haven’t looked back, I may get the occasional itch, not very often though, the only symptom I can show for it is the skin writing which can be quite amusing. I now have this life changing tablet on a repeat prescription for life. I would urge anyone who hasn’t already been given these tablets to go and see their Dr ASAP.
Jonna Marieon March 7, 2017 at 6:20 pm
Antibiotics has only helped me as well at the emergency and urgent care centers, Now that I am in my 30’s I made my self go to an allergist. I had bites as a child and into my adulthood and would occasionally swell..well within the past 6years the infection would go into my blood and I was even hooked up to an antibiotic IV..I hate benydryl or anything that makes me sleepy..mother of 3 : j
Cayon March 1, 2019 at 11:12 pm
Hi! How are you faring with Dermographism? I took amoxicillin a month ago for a uti, and developed it
A.on August 19, 2014 at 5:18 pm
I’ve had dermatographia for as long as I can remember. I am 22 now. It’s interesting to see the differences in people who developed it later in life; to me, it’s not even a problem (most of the time), and I just found out it was even a condition a couple of months ago.
If dermatographia can be caused AND relieved by antibiotics, it sounds like it might be due to a gut bacteria imbalance. I’d be interested in seeing how taking probiotics might affect its symptoms. I, myself, haven’t noticed a link between antibiotics and my own dermatographia, but I’ve suspected for a while that I have a bacterial imbalance. But, again, I seem to have been born with it, so it might be different for me!
Ariana Page Russellon August 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm
Hi A, thanks for your input. I’ve actually found that taking probiotics helped ease my symptoms (along with eating well and drinking lots of water). There are so many things linked to gut health, it wouldn’t surprise me if that’s it.
Welcome to SkinTome ;’)
Jenon January 21, 2020 at 6:55 am
After taking one probiotic I began to have these welt marks. So it definitely has something to do with the bacteria. I had this for two years, and eating sweet seems to make it worst.
Ariana Page Russellon September 19, 2014 at 2:05 pm
Thank you Ms George! Glad you found us ;’)
Amandaon October 22, 2014 at 12:17 pm
Very interesting information.
Following this train of thought, could it be possible that the organism responsible for infection may be living in our bodies already? Then certain triggers, such as stress, changes in body chemistry, or exposure to certain synthetic chemicals could potentially trigger “outbreaks” by providing optimal conditions for the organism to multiply.
This puts me in mind of other types of infections such as yeast infections or H. pylori (bacteria in the gutt often responsible for chronic heartburn and ulcers).
Beeon November 23, 2014 at 8:27 am
My feelings are that antibiotics and food do not cause or cure dermatographia as such. I am with A and suspect that it’s more to do with the general health of the gut. As we know, antibiotics, food and stress all have an impact on the state of our digestion. Healthy gut flora mean we absorb the right balance of nutrients from our food. If antibiotics appear to cure or cause dermotagraphia maybe it’s because they cause a change in the gut environment which then effects illness and other conditions of the body…including skin reactions.
Ariana Page Russellon November 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm
Thanks for your input! I agree, gut health is important–not only for nutrient absorption, but for general digestion and elimination as well. Toxins put a lot of stress on our systems! Also, each person’s dermatographia is unique, and so are our triggers.
Beeon November 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm
Yes, right, we are all different. I know mine started because of stress but I consider my diet very healthy. I have no idea what effects it one way or another. I suppose anything that our system considers an overload – stress, a type of food, stimulation etc.
angelaon January 15, 2015 at 8:08 pm
Ok so I am really hoping the anonymous person that wrote this can tell me what antibiotic he took because the exact story that he had is what happened to me pretty much. except I started this 6 years ago and I was in the hospital and they gave me an antibiotic that I was allergic to, it was (Ancef) and I broke out into hives and they had to give be shot of benadryl. Ever since that day I had permanent hives/dermatographia. I also have had tons of bladder infection and was thinking the 2 might be linked but cant figure it out and Dr.s keep telling me nothing has to do with the other. So anyways I have taken plenty of antibiotics for bladder infections and sometimes those antibiotics done even work and they have to give me a different kind. Maybe they have been avoiding giving me a penicillin antibiotic becasue the Ancef one I was allergic too, but maybe I really do need a penicillin kind of an antibiotic. does anybody have an idea of what I should try???? please I really am feeling hopeless like this is going to be my life forever….
Ariana Page Russellon January 16, 2015 at 6:01 pm
I will let you know if I find out what kind of antibiotic he took! In the meantime, have you tried cranberry pills? If I feel the slightest feeling that I might be getting a bladder infection I take those and it prevents the infection all together.
For the dermatographia, you really just have to experiment with different treatments. The general consensus is that there’s no cure. It does go away sometimes, but for reasons unknown…
angelaon January 17, 2015 at 12:56 pm
Yes I have tried cranberry pills for years and they do not work anymore I have taking bottles of them, even though it doesnt help with the pain anymore I still take them to promote healthy bladder function and also use D-mannose. D-mannose promotes healthy bacteria into the bladder. I also have used numerous natural remedies. I do not take antibiotics anymore for bladder infections because they usually dont even get rid of it and Im worried about the damage it is doing to my body. So I wanted to start a experiment on my skin when I dont take my meds. I didnt take a pill last night and Im going to write on my skin and take photos, then the next day and next until I cant take the itch no longer. And then see what happens I also want to cut out a food to start eliminating possible allergy so Does anybody have a suggestion on what I should stop eating first, I already went vegan and gluten free for 6 months each and no change so I know it cant be dairy, wheat or meat….soooo what do you think??? thank you
Ariana Page Russellon January 19, 2015 at 11:25 am
There is a protocol for the elimination diet–you start by having smoothies and stuff to cleanse your system, then gradually re-enter certain foods to see which ones trigger a response. Google ‘elimination diet’ to find a good site for more information, and directions on how to properly do it. If done this way, you can get a really good sense of how each food affects you. Let us know how it goes!
angelaon January 20, 2015 at 11:18 am
ok thank you I will check it out and let ya’ll know!
Kellyon July 1, 2017 at 6:03 pm
HI Angela…have you had a urine culture done? If you do NOT have bacteria in your bladder, you are NOT have bladder infections. It sounds like you are describing interstitial cystitis. There is a medication used for IC and its call Elmeron. Another successful treatment that takes away the pain for a reasonable period is a bladder distention, a simple procedure they do in the OR. I would as for a referral to Urology if you’re urine culture is negative! Good luck to you ! 🙂
Andrea Rollinson July 14, 2018 at 6:10 pm
I have dermatographia and also had a severe allergic reaction to penicillin as a child! (So bad they admitted me to the hospital) I wonder if there is a link there?
angelaon January 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm
oh yea I do take fish oil and pro-biotic too just to make sure my gut is all in order!! I am definitely not perfect though I eat a lot of sugar yes its organic but that doesnt mean its ok and I bake, I loooove to bake so a lot of baked bread, quiche’s and veru good quality coffee. But you know all of these things are not good for your health even if I use the highest quality ingredients!
angelaon January 17, 2015 at 1:07 pm
does anybody think this could be the cause SUGAR????
Ariana Page Russellon January 19, 2015 at 11:26 am
It’s so different for everyone! I know sugar definitely makes my skin more itchy, but some people are okay with it.
anna laneon February 24, 2015 at 5:03 am
I hav many white scars from going up on farm and other injuries. I need help
Ariana Page Russellon February 26, 2015 at 12:07 pm
Hi Anna! Thanks for the note. Have you spoken to a doctor about your scars?
Dolphinon March 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm
Fantastic entry! I’m gluten-free, too, and thought it was awesome how you mentioned it. I’d always thought antibiotics were a cause of dermatographia, so this was very interesting. Wow!
Ariana Page Russellon April 2, 2015 at 4:44 pm
Hi thanks for the note! I think gluten makes my dermatographia worse, and I’ve heard others say the same thing. Sugar too!
Andrea Rollinson July 14, 2018 at 6:11 pm
Yes, I’ve noticed the exact same thing. I can eat it, but I’ll pay for it with being extra itchy afterwards.
Jenon January 21, 2020 at 6:58 am
After taking one probiotic I began to have these welt marks. So it definitely has something to do with the bacteria. I had this for two years, and eating sweet seems to make it worst.
Tetchjanon May 2, 2015 at 9:25 am
My dermatographia started when I was about 7. I got used to it by the time I was a teen and had adjusted my behavior (rubbing instead of scratching and digging my fingernails into my palms to offset the painful itching whenevery hair was done) to avoid most of the symptoms. In my 30s I started taking a multivitamin called Alive and super B complex vitamin supplement. One day I realized my dermatographic symptoms were gone. I thought I’d grown out of the condition just as I’d seemed to grow into it. However, years later I stopped taking the Alive and B vitamin supplement. Within a year my symptoms were back with a vengeance. I started to take Alive and super B complex again and within a month my symptom severity had reduced by half. Upon research I found that B vitamins help support your immune system. I can’t say for sure that Alive does anything but I was desperate to combat the symptoms and went back to what I was taking when my dermatographia was subdued. After reading the other comments here I also recall doing a 30 day round of Colonix cleansing system during the time I was taking the supplements. I hope this helps.
Ariana Page Russellon May 6, 2015 at 12:30 am
Thanks for letting us know!! It’s always good to hear what works for people :^)
Moriah Giordanoon May 12, 2015 at 11:47 pm
May 12,2015 My dermatographasia started after taking antibiotics for approximately
30 days. I had an oral infection caused by a dental implant. Nothing
seems to help except loose clothing and cool showers. I am going to try
a probiotic and B vitamins as mentioned by others. Will keep the site po posted.
Ariana Page Russellon May 25, 2015 at 2:32 pm
Yes please let us know how it goes! Thanks :^)
Maggieon July 11, 2018 at 6:15 pm
Seeing that this is 3 years later I doubt you even get on here anymore but I just recently got the same thing starting 2 weeks ago I’ve been on antibiotics on and off for several months for abscess tooth and all of a sudden I started popping up hives when I would scratch my skin or if I rubbed up against something too hard. Wondering how long yours lasted if it ever went away or whatever I hope it did.
Paton February 15, 2019 at 7:26 pm
Last month my wisdom tooth was extracted and was on amoxicillin. 2 weeks later hives. Now stated by doctor that it s dermographism as all blood and urine is good.
Rachelon May 25, 2015 at 11:58 pm
Hello, I too had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and for a week or two now have been super itchy. I notice the welts and pretty much diagnosed myself with dermatographia, and thought it would go away as a side effect soon. To my dismay I am being proved more and more wrong the more I research this. I took Macrobid, aka Nitrofurantoin. It’s the only thing I’ve ever had an allergic reaction to. Going to make an appointment with my dermatalogist tomorrow. Don’t know if there’s much she can do it sounds like. This is really bumming me out. I’ll post more as I know.
Ariana Page Russellon May 29, 2015 at 12:38 am
Hi Rachel! Sorry to hear about your unfortunate reaction to antibiotics. What did your doctor say about the welts? The good news is, I have heard people say that it can go away spontaneously, just like it appeared. Let us know how it goes!
Lorion June 25, 2015 at 12:20 am
I was put on Macribid for a bladder infection. I had to take it for 10 days. On the 9th day I broke out in really bad hives everywhere & was having trouble breathing. The doctor said I had a severe allergic reaction to the drug. I was put on a antihistamine & the doctor said I could expect more hive flarups for up to 2 weeks. He was right but they weren’t as severe & the antihistamine did help. It’s now been 3 weeks & I’ve started getting red streak/scratch type marks on my skin. They are really itchy. I would think the antibiotic would be out of my system by now. Did you find out any new info on your condition?
Ariana Page Russellon July 2, 2015 at 1:37 pm
Hi Lori, Thanks for writing! I suggest you try the tips I’ve written about here http://skintome.arianapagerussell.com/what-to-do-with-the-itch/ , and read through the comments–there are tons of suggestions. Hope that helps, let us know how it goes!
Saraon November 14, 2016 at 4:30 pm
Chiming in so you don’t feel alone. I got dermographism twice, both times after taking Macrobid. didn’t have the same severe reactions as you, my symptoms started about a week after taking and then the dermographism stuck around for 3 years the first time and now into a year on the second time…
Jennaon June 29, 2018 at 6:58 am
I am trying to find ways to stop the itching/hives AND also find the underlying cause of this. The doctors and dermatologists have not been helpful further than telling me what I already knew by self diagnosis. I have Dermatographia and uriticaria…. but why? I’ve decided to attempt the cleanse/detox idea and then keep a food diary. I also looked back at medications to see what may have caused it. I’m thinking maybe Macrobid or Fluconazole because I took both before my major outbreaks but also took naproxen. In September 2017 I went to Jamaica and swam in the ocean with millions of tiny jellyfish…. weird feeling. Went back to my room on the ship and showered, only to find that my skin got really inflamed and itchy. I blamed the jellies, took Benadryl for 2 days to deter the itch, and didn’t think much of it. Came home and was itchy again for quite a few days and took the same meds and it cleared up. Was off and on through December. During a flare up, I also had a headache. Sat down to eat dinner and took the first headache med I could find (Naproxen) which I had never taken before but knew it was like ibuprofen. Within minutes I felt a sharp cutting sensation in my throat while swallowing a bite of food, plus my mouth and lips started itching and swelling. I stopped eating (thinking it was something in the food) and went to take two Benadryl and laid down which resulted in falling asleep. Woke up the next morning with extremely swollen face, tongue, and throat. Still itching and had hives everywhere… also itching in all mucous membranes. Difficulty breathing made me go to urgent care where I was immediately given Benadryl shots and steroids. Swelling subsided but returned after 5-6 hours. I took Benadryl and used ice packs off and on for 2 days, and soon the swelling was subsiding…. but left me with something worse. All mucous membranes began to hurt. I developed canker sores all inside my mouth and a completely raw vagina (inside). (Sorry if TMI) To the point that I couldn’t eat without extreme pain and urinating had me in tears and bleeding. My skin was literally peeling off in my mouth, etc. I was attributing all this to a food allergy. After some prescribed steroids and antihistamines (Zyrtec/Benadryl) it went away within about a week. Avoided the food I had eaten previously. Continued to have skin itch off and on. Still blaming jellies… thinking it could be something else. Googled and had panic attack based on all the possible diseases I may have lol. February comes around, staying at my MILs house to dog sit. Particularly itchy. Another headache. Another Naproxen. Within minutes I was swelling, flushing, difficulty breathing, presyncope…. seriously believed I may die. Got in a cool bath and tried breathing slowly to calm down. Mouth got itchy and started swelling…. got out of the tub and took two Benadryl. Went to bed. Woke at 4am choking on my tongue. It was supposed swollen that I had teeth imprints in the sides. My face was almost purple and so itchy/swollen. Went to ER. Never even sat down in the waiting room. Was given IV fluids, antihistamine, and steroids. 8 vials of blood drawn. Doc called it a naproxen allergy. Makes since right? Called the itching and hives Dermatographia uriticaria. I literally can make a smiley face on my arm and it swells into a smiley welt lol. After a couple days the swelling and itching had made its way south as well. Again the skin in my mouth, etc was burning and raw. Canker sores all in my mouth and under tongue. Intense pain. No sores vaginally just peeling raw skin internally and extreme pain/bleeding from skin peeling. This time it took almost 2.5 weeks to heal up. My point here is the Dermatographia never seems to leave completely and sometimes I have flare ups. Right before my cruise I had taken macrobid and fluconazole. First time ever having Dermatographia and it’s never gone away completely. Both times taking naproxen my hives, angioedema, and swelling went insane. About 3 weeks ago I started macrobid again and took a fluconazole on the last day (of 10 days). Within 24 hours, my hives and itching were increasing. After 48 hours…. it is so extreme that I scratched myself to bruising and bleeding. Of course every place I scratch makes my hives spread and get worse. But since February this is my first real flare up. I’ve avoided all meds this time except for antihistamines and so far I haven’t had any mucous membranes issues. Never taking naproxen again …. I’m now going to avoid macrobid and fluconazole as well. Has anyone considered that this may be a sulfa induced condition? I know I can’t consume large amounts of sugar, but other than that… this skin/immune condition is a mystery to me. I’ve not even eaten breakfast yet today or had my coffee because I’m worried I’ll induce the itching and crazy hives. The itching drives me mad… especially when it’s on my palms or soles of my feet. If anyone has any sites or read anything that has helped them, Please let me know. Sorry this was so long…. just wanted to be detailed and see if anyone else could relate at all.
Rebeccaon May 2, 2019 at 8:27 pm
Please have you doctor check you for Stevens Johnson Syndrome. It sounds exactly like what you’re describing and can be caused by medication. It can be life threatening if not handled correctly.
Jennaon May 2, 2019 at 8:48 pm
Okay I will ask them to check for that. All of my bloodwork has consistently came back normal so there must be something specific they need to look for?
Jessieon May 2, 2019 at 8:56 pm
You might also want to research MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome). My daughter’s skin issues began at age 9 -she had been complaining of migrating joint pain and fatigue then got strep a few months later and was put on abx. This was a “perfect storm” and everything got worse including the joint pain and swollen joints, muscle pain, fatigue, stomach aches, headaches, itchy rash and hives, which continued on into Dermatographia for the past 3 years. She actually had high anti-nuclear antibodies, which is an indicator of an autoimmune disease and she was misdiagnosed with systemic lupus. She got worse on the immunosuppressives however and we were informed that it was not lupus and she continued to struggle. To make a very long story short, after nearly a year of illness she ended up being diagnosed with Lyme disease and coinfections along with a neuropsychiatric autoimmune disease caused by strep and/or Lyme. MCAS can be related to lyme or, I believe, a dysregulated immune system in general, which can be related to underlying stealth chronic infections and/or an imbalance or lack of nutrients. (She was also deficient in iodine, ferritin, vitamin D and zinc). I have read that there could be a relationship between antibiotics and dermatographia. My daughter experienced the skin issues after taking amoxicillin but she had taken it earlier in life without problems and the doctors said it was not an allergy. Once we found out she had lyme disease we learned about something called a herxheimer reaction, which happens when your body is unable to filter out the bacterial die off fast enough causing a worsening of symptoms. She is doing much better after 3 years of tx but she still has dermatographia. She has taken Dhist (a natural antihistamine), and some other natural products and some people say a low histamine diet helps. I guess that’s a lot of food for thought. Best wishes!
Arianaon May 19, 2019 at 5:16 pm
Wow what a story! Thank you for sharing Jessie! It’s always so interesting to hear the different triggers for dermatographia. It really varies but is usually linked with some kind of gut/microbiome imbalance, so what you wrote doesn’t surprise me. I hope your daughter is doing great. She sounds like a real trooper!
Tracy Elmeron May 6, 2019 at 10:49 am
Hi, I discovered this condition in February this year, caused by antibiotics for a bladder infection. After a visit to my Dr, I was prescribed Fexafenadine 180mg, it has taken several weeks to get into my system completely and now I have no symptoms of Dermatographia at all. I am now on these for the foreseeable future.
I can only recommend that you see your Dr and ask for this very strong antihistamine. Normal over the counter antihistamines will help but they won’t suppress the symptoms.
Jennaon May 7, 2019 at 6:51 am
Fexofenadine is Allegra which I already take one a day as well as doxepin at night. I feel like they work relatively decent, but I want to find the underlying cause and maybe end this issue forever…. wishful thinking.
Candice Crafton August 24, 2017 at 8:11 pm
I wrote a blog on this in 2013 addressing the same issue! Macrobid caused my hives and dermographism as well.
Saraon October 16, 2017 at 11:40 pm
I know this thread is old, but I HAD to chime in. I got dermographism twice, both times after taking Macrobid. The first time the doctors said there was no way that it was the antibiotic, just a coincidence. I did lots of natural cleansing and eventually got rid of it for a few years. Then one UTI and a dose of Macrobid later, it was back. With a vengence – been two years now and have not been able to budge it even with all the tools and tricks I learned from last time.
Sarahon June 28, 2018 at 2:46 pm
OMG, Sara! I’m a Sarah too, and my dermographism developed 4 days after I finished a course of Macrobid for a UTI — I’m convinced that the Macrobid caused it. Sorry that we’re in the same boat 🙁
That was 4 months ago and not very hopeful that my dermatographism will ever go away 🙁 The crazy welts & scratches are so embarrassing. I’m a wedding photographer; it’s impossible to avoid incidental scrapes & bumps while working, so I have to wear long sleeves even in the hot summer weather when I’m working or I look like I’ve been attacked by a bear!
A nightly Allegra pill helps greatly with the itching, but the actual welting/hiving response isn’t affected, in fact the marks seem to look worse, but as long as the itching isn’t so bad, I’ll take the crappy tradeoff…
Just wanted to let you all know that your stories are really helpful — it makes me feel less alone, since I don’t know anyone else with this problem!!
Antonellaon November 22, 2019 at 8:54 am
Omg me too and my allergist said he had another client that same week with same exact thing. UTI on macrobid and later diagnosed with Detmatographism.
HAon June 21, 2018 at 6:11 pm
You know it’s funny you say that you’ve reacted to an antibiotic. I’ve had dermatograohia for 11 years now and at the time I developed it (I was 14) it literally happened after a 3 month course of a tetracycline antibiotic for my acne. One day i woke up all in hives, constantly itching, I was swollen…my feet were swollen, hands were swollen, face was swollen. I stayed like this for two weeks and my GP didn’t have a clue he just said it’s an allergic reaction to the antibiotics I was taken. A few months after that I still had the hives which were coming and going and then I was referred to a consultant dermatologist who then diagnosed me with dermatographia. But when I asked her could it have been triggered by my course of antibiotics she said no, the cause is unknown. I’ve been living with this condition for 11 years and let me just say it’s been hard especially during stressful times I’ve realised it’s so much more worse. A few months ago I was put on a trial of medicines (Loratadine (antihistamine), Ranitidine (H2 receptor antagonist) and Montelukust. I took these medicine for 6 weeks and they were helpful, now I’m waiting to try out UV light therapy hopefully in the next few months apparently it’s helpful too. But in the mean time it is hard… especially to control the itching. I particularly find my dermatographia is worse when I’m stressed and after hair removal also which is annoying. But hopefully I am also planning to have a change in my diet and try to live a healthier lifetstyle. I hope it works I’ll let you all know how the uv therapy goes!
ELLENon November 20, 2018 at 12:26 pm
Mine was caused by Macrobid as well… It’s been a week already, very severe.
Ericaon June 16, 2015 at 1:56 am
Hi. I recently started getting these symptoms. I noticed it after taking metronidazole. So I am not sure if this caused it or stress. Since I did have a very stressful event in my life just about the same time as I took this medication. I have yet to see a doctor but I will soon as its starting to become worse and embarrassing. If any others have used this medication and had this same reactions please let me know.
Ariana Page Russellon June 18, 2015 at 1:25 am
Hi Erica! If I hear someone else mention metronidazole I will definitely let you know. I’m not familiar with that one though. It could’ve been a combination of the medication and stress that triggered the dermatographia for you. Maybe your system just got really overwhelmed… Try doing an elimination diet (see my post about it here: http://skintome.arianapagerussell.com/how-doing-an-elimination-diet-can-help-heal-your-dermatographia/ ) and let us know how it goes.
Angieon June 19, 2015 at 1:11 pm
Wow! Great to find someone who listed out what they did, what worked and what didn’t. I was just telling my husband I thought mine could be related to toxicity due to slow digestion. He disagreed but after reading this, I think maybe I’m on the right track. I’ve always had slower digestion. I have GERD and IBS. The GERD is probably worsened by the slow digestion. Thanks for your post…this gives me hope!
Ariana Page Russellon June 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm
Thanks Angie! It’s so good to hear from you. Have you tried an elimination diet? There could be something you’re eating that is making your symptoms and digestion worse… Let us know how it goes if you decide to try it! Cheers to hope :^)
Shakiraon July 5, 2015 at 2:37 pm
Hi I’m 31 now,i was born with this skin condition and was told by many doctors over the years that I will grow out of it… never happened but lessened.I was on pilaramine tablets one a day for about a 2 years, and it worked, but i stopped due to it having long term effects on my kidneys.I learned to live with it and really until today thought I was the only person in the world that has this and it actually has a medical term.
Ariana Page Russellon July 6, 2015 at 11:28 pm
Welcome to Skintome, Shakira! Good to have you here :^)
kevinon August 8, 2015 at 11:36 pm
Hi. Im 24. I started to experience this condition one week ago. Then i saw this thing “dermatographia” over one of SNS, and i confirmed i am a skin writer. I am glad there is this kind of forum to read on. I will try all the advise from here. I think sugar aggreviates my condition. I ate a lot of sweets this breakfast and this afternoon, even a light rub of my arm to my hair, it became red and itchy. I will try to avoid sugars. It bothers me that a lot of you guys have this for years now. I can’t take it any longer. It is very bothersome and irritating. :’-(
Ariana Page Russellon August 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm
Hi Kevin, welcome to the club. Let us know how it goes. We’ve all figured out ways to ease the itch, you just need to find out what works for you :^) Keep trying different things, and good luck!
A. Weberon October 7, 2015 at 5:40 am
Omg I am so glad to find this…My wife is going thru this as i type this. She has been in the hospital for the 3rd night in a row. Her symptoms started 7 months ago at work when she swears she was bit by a bug. She went to urgent care and was diagnosed with celulitus and sent home with antibiotics. She went threw the treatment and few days later she had the redness and itching. So she went to our primary care provider who prescribed a different antibiotic. She had a bad reaction to that one. So they told her to stop taking that one and put her on another one. She went thru the treatment for that one and one day a few weeks later came home from work again complaining about being bit again. She went back to our primary care provider and they referred her to a dermatoligist. When we got there to speak to him and have him check her out he was determined it was bed bugs.sent her home with instructions on how to fight bed bugs. well we actually had our apt sprayed 2 times already before we saw him and he didn’t want to hear it. So few months went by she still been having symptoms off and on. We change our diet we stopped vitamins and prescriptions docs put both of us on. we washed everything in both our wardrobes. at the laundry mat cuz we were afraid the bed bugs were in the basement too by the washer and dryer. Little time went by and she came home again with a huge rash on her leg. she made an appointment to the dermatoligist again and when we got there he was still stuck on the bedbugs. He did a biopsi from the area on her leg. a week went by they called with the results and said that the biopsy in fact was a bug bite. not certain if a bed bug or another bug. We had our apt sprayed again and a month later the landlord followed up with spraying again. So now comes this Sunday. she comes home from work again complaining about her hand and arm itching and red and swelling up. she decided she was going to the E.R. well they couldn’t figure out what was wrong and the nurse said she didn’t feel comfortable sending her home with antibiotics again and decided to admit her over night. they gave her antibiotics again. 1st one didn’t work 2nd one didn’t work. my wife told me when i visited her that they gave her 4 different antibiotics and none of them worked. they gave her benedryl and clariton to stop the itching. yea it helped a little she said but not for long she start itching again. Monday came and they were doing all kinds of tests. limes decease and std tests etc.. they took a lot of blood from her. everything came up negative. I started thinking up all night concerned for my love. I googled if turtles can cause a rash or allergic reaction if scatched. cuz she told me on her hand it looked like she had 3 tiny claw marks. and she did clean our turtle tank a few days earlier and i thought just maybe that was it. well when i googled that i started reading and seen the word dermatographia. I read on and watched a few videos on youtube. after that i was convinced that this was what was going on. so i called the nurse at 3am and asked her to tell the doctor to look into it. well Tuesday comes wife calls and says she is going to be discharged in the afternoon. afternoon comes and she ended up having diarheia so they were afraid she got cdiff from all the antibiotics they had given her on Sunday. so they decided they were keeping her overnight again. when i got to the hospital to visit again. I was surprised to see her in isolation. i started telling her what i found on the web. she called me crazy and just kinda laughed and said i was irritating her. So anyways i asked the nurse if i could speak to her doctor at around 3-4pm. I waited and the doc never came. 10pm my wife was dosing off from the benadryl that she asked for. so i went home and let her rest. I started looking on the internet again about dermatographia because by now i was determined this was the problem and stumbled on this artical. Your testemony was the exact description of what my wife had been experiencing for the last 7 months. And had been telling me and the docs and people at work. Now its 3 am again Wednesday I jumped in my car and drove to the hospital and demanded to speak to the nurse. they put her on the phone for me. I really wanted to talk to her face to face so I could see that she was reading this. well they would not let me up but she did jump on her computer while i was on the phone and read it. she was pretty quite till i said did u get to the part about the bug bite.. and she had this concerned voice and said this is exactly what she has been talking about..I said yea.. I think its a break thru and she agreed. she printed it out and put it on the docs desk for him to see when he gets in in the morning. I want to thank you so much for posting this. If i didn’t find this who knows how much longer this could of gone on undetected. well as i walked out I yelled “It took a High School drop out to figure this out” and at that moment a lot of my own stress was relieved. Not sure about the cdiff I wont know till morning if she ended up getting that. But whats important is shes gonna be o.k. Thanks again! A.Weber
Ariana Page Russellon October 7, 2015 at 1:27 pm
Wow what a story! I really hope your wife is okay. Poor thing! If it is dermatographia that she has, make sure she tries some of the things I suggest in http://skintome.arianapagerussell.com/what-to-do-with-the-itch/ . Coconut oil does wonders for the itch. Let us know how it goes, and send my best to your wife!
Val C.on November 1, 2015 at 2:41 am
I’ve read the first few post & they really captured my interest. I’ve been a skin writer for about 3 years now. It all started when I tried taking Niacin supplements for the first time due to wanting to increase my energy level. I had no clue about the whole flushing process. I flushed so badly that I had to go to the E.R. I was given a prescription & a shot. I think some type of steroids (I kind of forgot because around the same time I had a allergic reaction from food I ate at a restaurant which I also had to go yo E.R.). No I’m not sickly & just allergic to the world, they just coincidentally & unfortunate mishaps. Anyway, the prescription had me better, but once it ran out, I noticed that I was having these itching phases that were consistent, then I realized the marks left from scratching each & every time, so of course I Googled it & what do you know I joined what only a small fraction of American’s have… Dermatographia! Tonight the ideal popped in my head that maybe it was the shot that the doctor gave me to cure me of my flushing from the Niacin (you see, I don’t trust shots because who knows what ‘experience’ they’re testing on you), so although it’s 1:30 a.m., I decided to Google it to see if anyone else spoke on the same matter & what I’m hearing is very interesting. After all, of course we’ve all wondered where the heck did the disease come from & “why me!!!” I was just fine until this very odd & aggravating condition came along. Seemingly now, I would agree that it is indeed linked to antibiotics! Now of course I must find out what the heck the name of that prescription was that I took 3 years ago!
Ariana Page Russellon November 17, 2015 at 11:01 pm
Wow amazing story! Thanks for sharing Val! Let us know what you come up with. It always blows my mind how much variety there is in what causes dermatographia for different people…. endlessly fascinating, and weird!
Marinaon November 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm
Wow, this is super interesting!
I am a 17 year old currently going through dermatographia myself. I’ve had this condition for about 2 years now, and I noticed that it usually worsens in the summer. I found that antihistamines, cold baths and ice packs are the best when dealing with the itch. Although it can be pretty annoying at times, I find myself having a love-hate relationship with this condition because I can doodle on my arm and make pretty cool patterns hahaha.
Ariana Page Russellon November 17, 2015 at 10:52 pm
Thanks for the note Marina! I hope the love part supersedes the hate part ;+)
Alexon January 1, 2016 at 11:14 pm
This condition has really lowered my self esteem. If I try a shirt on in a store in the dressing room my entire forehead and neck gets red and I feel like an idiot when I walk out of the dressing room. Sometimes when I sit at my desk at work I’ll prop my elbows on my desk and rest my cheek on my palm. I’ve been called into meetings and had to walk into the meeting with large red palm marks on my face. It’s pretty embarrassing. I’m a single 30/yo male and I’m ashamed to even date because of this condition. So let’s keep this post and these comments going until we figure it out!!! I’ve noticed that sometimes I’ll have an all-out outbreak. A small part of my body will start to itch, then it spreads like wild fire to my entire body! These outbreaks usually happen at night and I remember reading somewhere that this might be linked to cortisol levels? Not sure how cortisol effects the skin though? I have HSV (herpes) and I seriously doubt the two are connected, but just thought it was interesting that this condition (like herpes) sometimes lays dormant then sometimes has full blown outbreaks. I’ve recently discovered that I have Leaky Gut and I’m working on resolving that by eating super healthy and supplementing with L-Glutamine. The skin-gut connection makes a lot of sense if you read up on Leaky Gut. Mostly everybody here had some experience with antibiotics which severely effects the gut bacteria balance. I sporadically take probiotics, but in hopes of suppressing this condition I’m going to take a probiotic with each meal and do a “scratch test” before and after each meal. Just wondering, but has anybody had any luck with an elimination diet? I’ll keep experimenting to try to fix this issue and I’ll repost if I find anything useful. Good luck everybody!
Ariana Page Russellon January 6, 2016 at 8:45 pm
Hi Alex! Thanks for sharing your story. I take probiotics once a day (PB8 brand) and it definitely helps my skin and digestion. You’re totally right: there is a connection between our intestines and our skin–it’s all connected. If there’s a problem in one part of the body, that could also manifest in another part. Some people just have severe reactions to certain foods/medicines/products, and because our skin is sensitive, our imbalances show up on there.
I’ve never done the elimination diet, but have noticed that since I started doing all the things I talk about in my dermatographia has gotten much better.
In my opinion, the best way to deal with your insecurities surrounding your skin is to face them. Be upfront about your condition, tell people at work about it. If someone gives you a funny look, just say, “There’s my sensitive skin again,” or whatever you want. It’s been so relieving to share this condition with people. It has helped ease my insecurities about my skin. And if you tell a date about your dermatographia and they’re turned off by it, then screw them anyway. They’re too shallow ;+)
Hope that helps! Let us know how it goes if you decide to try the elimination diet.
Jennyon January 20, 2016 at 2:25 pm
I was diagnosed when I was around 5 (I’m 32 now). I was on every known antihistamine over the years; claritin, hismanale(sp?), benedryl, etc. Nothing helped. I finally stopped taking them a few years later. My symptoms were manageable. I got used to them. Oh, I’d still itch & swell up a lot, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. Then about 8 years ago the intensity increased dramatically! It was unbearable. I’d itch 24/7. It would travel all over my body, & I would usually cry myself to sleep. I put off going to an allergic for a while because they had never helped before. I finally broke down & gave it one more shot because I was about ready to kill myself. It was horrible. My allergist told me to take zyrtec & zantac (it’s actually an antihistamine!). Thankfully this worked for me! I couldn’t believe it! After 8 years, I’m starting to have some “breakthroughs”. I start itching several hours before it’s time to take a dose, so I might have to take a zyrtec twice a day. That’s what my allergist had me doing originally, but I would get tired. I’m not sure if it was from the zytec or not because it’s not really supposed to make you sleepy. So anyway, I was at the GI doctor last week. I was giving him my medical history. He said that they had actually developed a medicine for dermatographia, and that it seems to be GI related. I’m going to ask him about that on my next visit. The reason I went to the GI doctor is because I tested positive for an APC gene mutation which puts me at a higher risk for colon, gastric, & pancreatic cancers. I also tested positive for BRIP1 which puts me at a higher risk of breast & ovarian cancer. I do have some GI issues, but nothing major. I had blood work done a couple years ago, & my vitamin D levels were really low. I’m also read where low vitamin D is linked with irritable bowel syndrome. My GI doc also wants me to keep an eye on my thyroid. Now I say all this because my son was just diagnosed with urticaria today. It’s similar to dermatagraphia, and he’s almost 5 (same age I was when I was diagnosed). We took him to the ER on 12/9/15 for severe croup because he was having trouble breathing. They gave him a steroid & zythromax (anitbiotic). He took it for 5 days, & 5 days later he had urticaria. I’m going to look back at my medical history & see if I was prescribed an antibiotic around the time my symptoms started. I’m going to follow some of your suggestions and see what helps. I’ll post an update on what my GI doc says.
Ariana Page Russellon February 2, 2016 at 7:34 pm
Wow Jenny! What a story! That’s so interesting about your son. Please do let us know what you find out.
Have you tried an elimination diet? I’m wondering if a major dietary change would help you since you have GI issues? Anyway, let us know how it goes!
indiaon January 21, 2016 at 3:26 am
Mine shows up when i drink coffee or soda. I think i may have a caffeine allergy. Also it could be toxic due to mold, i have mold in my walls and im trying to move. This could be why the penicillin and amoxicillin aggravate it, because they were developed from mold. Just a thought, but check for mold and watch the caffeine.
indiaon January 21, 2016 at 3:33 am
My thyroid also was tested as overactive. I began eating brussel sprouts 4 days a week and less sugar. I also began drinking colon cleanser tea from spring cleaning. I got it from amazon.com it comes in a red and yellow box and it is natural. I also began drinking water and eating more fruits and veggies as well as nonfat plain yogurt. I have not had a breakout since and my thyroid levels are back normal. There is a god and he is good.
Ariana Page Russellon February 2, 2016 at 7:31 pm
Yes he is good! I’m glad to hear you’ve found some things that help your condition. I agree, drinking lots of water is very very important–as is eating lots of fresh produce. Thanks for sharing!
JCharleson February 29, 2016 at 1:41 pm
I’m in my eighth week of dermatographia.
I absolutely believe it came from a reaction to Amoxycillin over the holidays.
Now I think my diet and other factors agitate it. It’s awful. Everyday.
I’ve read it can last a lifetime. That’s dreadful to consider. But I absolutely
believe this happened as a result of my antibiotics.
I’m 45, by the way.
Ariana Page Russellon March 3, 2016 at 11:52 am
Wow, thanks for sharing! The good news is, once you learn more about what your triggers are you can avoid them. Ultimately dermatographia teaches us how to be very attentive to what our bodies need… Also, I’ve heard stories from people who’s dermatographia has disappeared. You never know!
Nicholaon March 5, 2016 at 8:15 pm
I just came on here to see if anyone has found the cure to this. I’ve literally had this ad long as I can remember. I’m 34 now and I know I’ve had this since 2nd grade or earlier. I’d love to hear if someone has heard of some solution. Following…
Ariana Page Russellon March 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm
Hi Nichola, welcome! Did you read my other posts about taking care of the itch?
Hopefully this will help! There is no cure, but with diet and lifestyle changes you can ease your symptoms 🙂
Nicholaon March 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm
Thanks for responding. I am actually not itchy like I think many of you are. If the wind is just right or if a hair falls on my arm for example I may itch my are but I am not itchy if nothing causes it. I just want to know why these mast cells are so sensitive on my skin and not on someone elses.
Tetchjanon March 14, 2016 at 11:46 am
Hello, again! I have successfully reduced my level of sensitivity through a daily regimen of Super B Complex. If you research how the body uses Vitamin B you will find that it is key in the proper function of the brain and nervous system. As it is OTC and harmless, I recommend at least trying it to see if your symptoms abate. You should see a difference in 3-5 days depending on your dosage. I take mine with a multivitamin called Alive but medically Vitamin B pills do not require any complimentary supplements to activate their potency.
Sharonon March 16, 2016 at 8:56 pm
I was diagnosed this week with dermagraphia/uticaria….but after reading all the stories I don’t know if it is what it is now..possibly bc apparently everyone is different.
I was 26 weeks pregnant when my water broke (2-4-16), I went to the hospital and they gave me a TON of meds (Erythromycin, Amoxicillin, Ampicillin, Betamethasone) for 7 days. My son was born at 28 weeks (10 days later). I was discharged 2 days later.
Shortly, before all this i had REALLY dry looking hands and a rash looking thing but just attributed to winter, thought nothing of it…but about day 5 when they removed an IV, my skin was really irritated and had raised white bumps, nobody thought it was anything.
(While in labor my 2yr old had a 103 fever and a nasty viral infection).
2 days after discharge, and being around a very sick kid coughing in my face, I woke up with this huge rash covering my body. It stared on my hands, arms, stomach, boobs, then legs, butt, back, shoulders, and a little face all in the matter of hours!
I waited 2 days to get to a dermatologist and she said this was one of the worst cases of PUPPS she’s ever seen, although my story wasn’t congruent with a typical PUPPS case, she said she could tell by looking at it it was, so gave me prednisone, hydroxizone and some steroid cream. In a day it cleared completely..but by day 2 I got extremely sick bc it weakens your immune system. I was told to get off prednisone immediately.
Went to my regular dr and was told I had bronchitis/virus and to take Augmenten antibiotics for 10 days.
About a week later the rash came back! The derm said no predisone just use the cream, it was gone by the next day.
Now 4 weeks after baby’s born I get the rash all of a sudden out of nowhere. The next derm said, it was probably not PUPPS, but he wouldn’t rule it out and was Uticaria/Dermagraphia with possible Exema. Gave me Methylprednidosnol which cleared it up overnight. But still said to take an antihistamine when needed.
Went to the allergist today and he said was uticeria and dermagraphia as well as a viral infection and should completely cured within 6wks and if I took the meds will not return. He also pointed out it was the most severe he’s ever seen. He said it was unlikely caused by the Penicillin drugs taken bc the outbreaks were slightly different each time (I took lots of pics).
Sooooo sorry for my long story but wanted to be specific with drugs since it might be helpful to others. Side note, I’m 31, very healthy, incredible metabolism, eat a almost completely all organic fruits and veggies, all grass fed meats, barely any processed foods or eat out. But this past month or so I have really been eating tons of sugar (ice cream, chocolates, ect) I’ve never in my life had any issues like this.
My rash was getting increasingly worse overtime, and was elevated on my skin. Every time I scratched it spread everywhere. I don’t see how people have had this for years, I was told it goes away.
Has anyone been diagnosed as severe or been given any steroids to clear it up?
Has anyone been sick or have any events they think triggered it?
My itching was so bad I took my boots off while driving to scratch. Prescription antihistamines didn’t help how is OTC meds working for you?
Whats the average age you got this?
Has anyone been diagnosed with anything else–or what drs thought it might be also?
Looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say, this is so interesting!
Arianaon March 30, 2016 at 5:19 pm
Wow what a story! Oh my goodness you’ve been through quite an ordeal! As for your questions, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they think antibiotics caused the onset of dermatographia. I think there’s a lot different triggers that come together though, so maybe it’s not JUST antibiotics. I had an allergic reaction to penicillin when I was about 8 years old, and haven’t taken it ever since. But I think it might have contributed to my dermatographia. Also, when I was a teenager I took Accutane… then shortly thereafter developed the condition. So, I think there’s a lot of stuff going on to cause dermatographic symptoms to manifest!
I haven’t been diagnosed with anything else (I’m very healthy), but my mom has MS, so I’ve always wondered if there’s any connection there.
Check out my post about doing an elimination diet. Scroll down the comments and look for Valerie’s– she recently wrote in with concerns about illness and dermatographia.
I hope you get some answers, and please let us know how it goes!
Alex Fon July 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm
Great to see all the posts on here.
I’ve had this condition for 14 years now and my story is the same I’m afraid – Very High Dose of Antibiotics = Demographism. Over the years I’ve tried everything but with no success. I’ve also read 10 years of blogs and reports on the subject. My purpose for posting here is purely to share some knowledge about things that I’ve found useful. Although, I feel I may be duplicating what many have said above.
1. Cut the dose
– I take 10mg (citrizine) per day, sometime more if I’ve had a social alcohol session. If I’m worried about taking histamines too much or get too tired, I cut down the tablets to smaller doses into quarters or halfs.
2. Stinging Nettle Extract
– If you want to try to replace histamine tablets with something natural, the only thing I found that actually works is Stinging Nettle Extract. I go to that well known high street herbal shop but they’re not always easy to get.
3. Processed Sugars
– I can only re-iterate what has been said above in that I just avoid them. Not taking them doesn’t cure anything for me but taking them makes it a hell of a lot worse.
– Same for Alcohol, although while I can give up a Ginger Nut, I draw the line at a glass of wine.
4. Further Reading
– This condition has been around since the 70’s at least. Type in “demographism 1970” or “demographism 1980” into google and you’ll see many long winded reports on the subject by the BMA and other bodies.
There are two things I have taken from this blog, the first is that I will try Alive and Super B to see what happens – thanks for the recommendation. I will also speak to a doctor about trying antibiotics, however ironic it sounds. If either of these have any affect at all I will report back. My case is quite bad and consistent so I will be able to confirm very easily.
Arianaon July 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm
Thanks for the info! Dermatographia has actually been around since the 19th century at least. There are photographs of it from way back when ;=)
Have you tried an elimination diet? I write about it here: http://skintome.arianapagerussell.com/how-doing-an-elimination-diet-can-help-heal-your-dermatographia/
Let us know what you come up with in your tests!
Garyon September 6, 2016 at 10:03 am
I am a 26 year old male. I had no idea this was even a thing until I started noticing it happening to me about two weeks ago. First noticing it on my face and neck. For instance, when I would yawn, causing the area around my nose and mouth to be stretched, the entire area would become a bright red and I could feel it throbbing. I seem to be fortunate in that my symptoms don’t include the itching, and only the temporary bright redness and feeling of a minor sunburn. However it is still very annoying and embarrassing.
I met with my doctor about the condition today and she said I was a “textbook case” of dermatographia, which I basically self diagnosed by using the ‘skin writing’ test. I have no idea what triggered this. I haven’t taken antibiotics in a very long time and the only thing I could think of that could have caused this would be high stress levels, or the introduction of bananas into my diet. I decided to buy some for easy breakfast and started eating one every morning. I don’t really remember the last time I ate one prior to this. So I could be just spewing hot air, but is it possible that I’m allergic to bananas or that eating them changed my digestive chemistry? As far I know, I have never been allergic to anything.
I’m going to be meeting with an allergist sometime this week. Hopefully they can shed light on this situation. I really don’t want to be dealing with this for years or the rest of my life.
I’m just beginning in my quest to find a solution to this unfortunate issue. Any tips are appreciated. Should I try and convince my doctor that taking antibiotics could possibly reverse this issue?
Arianaon October 11, 2016 at 5:17 pm
Hi Gary! I definitely don’t recommend you take antibiotics in hopes of reversing your condition. It’s just too unpredictable. Everyone has totally different triggers and causes, so what works for one person might not work for another. In some cases, for some people, taking antibiotics makes the condition worse!
It’s hard to say what caused your onset of dermatographia. Maybe it’s bananas, maybe it’s just a coincidence that the condition appeared after you started eating them. I suggest you try the elimination diet and/or experimenting to see what food/drink makes the redness worse.
Let us know what your doctor says, and good luck!
Gary Heskethon November 12, 2016 at 8:46 am
Hi Ariana,, I had an allergy test awhile ago with the prick of a pin – you know that allergy test? When everything he did welted up he said – well, you’re allergic to everything! I explained to him that I have dermatographia so everything will swell up on my skin. His answer was that he couldn’t do anything and sent me on my way. My question to you is – is there any other way to determine allergies to foods, etc., without the pin-prick method? Thank you for your response. Gary
Arianaon December 15, 2016 at 4:10 pm
Hi Gary! The only sure fire way to find out what you’re allergic to is to do an elimination diet. There’s blood tests that’ll give you a hint at what you’re sensitive to, but they can be unreliable. Check out my post about elimination diets here Let us know how it goes!
Margoton December 2, 2017 at 6:33 pm
I would suggest finding an allergist with a nurse with a very gentle touch. I was able to get a really good skin prick test done despite having dermatagraphia. They can do blood tests but I’ve heard mixed reviews on how reliable those are.
Gon November 21, 2018 at 1:58 pm
Hi there so interesting to hear, the same thing happened to me I reacted to the pen before anything else, that day I did not know the cause,however please let mw know if u have been healed and what helped.
Tracyon February 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm
I’m so glad to stumble upon this site and know that I am not the only one! Since early childhood, I figured out I would develop skin redness after bathing and the areas affected would be my face or chest. It didn’t bother me because it’s not itchy and would disappear in a few minutes. However, I recently developed this dermatographia thingy after getting my hair colored (I’ve been having my hair colored for 6 years already). Though I’m not pretty sure if it was the cause because the day before that, I ate lobster balls (though I have already eaten some duting the first few months and did not get any rashes). It got me confused because both are possible allergen triggers and for once I knew my allergies are triggered by certain kind of crustaceans like crabs and an antibiotic called Ciprofloxacin. I was prescribed with Loratadine to be taken on a prn basis (as needed) and it eases the swelling but I don’t take it too often because I hate feeling groggy and weak for 48 hours (if you don’t wake me up, I can sleep up to 48 hours straight, I swear LOL). I also use colloidal oatmeal oil to relieve the itching and it works but eventually, they would be back again. My nurse supervisor (yup, I work in the hospital) said she had the same condition and went to an immunologist who told her that it was caused by stress. She has been in and out of the ER for quite some time and the doctor said there could be something else which might be causing this and figured out it’s stress. Instead of putting her on doses of antihistamine, she was asked to take PB8 (probiotic supplement) on a daily basis. It took her about a month before she started noticing that the rashes are not coming back. I am trying out this regimen but will also try to see an immunologist very soon if my schedule permits. I do hope it works because the itch is really bothering me.
Arianaon May 5, 2017 at 5:36 pm
Hi Tracy! How are you feeling now? I actually take PB8 as well and think it helps my digestion a lot. Have you tried coconut oil as well as the colloidal oatmeal oil? I wonder if it would also help… it certainly helps me!
Let us know how it’s going :=)
Ellenon February 20, 2017 at 7:45 pm
have only had it for two weeks and had not taken an antibiotic for a very long time. I eat too much sugar and bread and plan to cut down and I also just started taking a probiotic. I have no known allergies and also think it’s gut related. I started having heartburn at the same time the skin problem started. That’s all I can think of right now. Just a thought though, to people who actually write on their skin deliberately – maybe you shouldn’t do this. Obviously, your skin is sensitive, so it seems like you should not do something deliberate to harm it. you should treat it gently.