Why I made the switch
About 6-months after I had my first child, I began waking up with itchy bumps on my legs. I paid it little attention at first, since they dissipated as the day went on and my Doctor told me it was likely caused by hormonal postpartum changes I was going through. But as the days and weeks continued, the bumps looked more like welts, and I got them EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I had never experienced anything like this, so I actually had to google what the bumps possibly were. Hives. I was breaking out in hives. And rather than just appear on my legs, they started appearing on my torso, my arms, and eventually even my face.
I can’t tell you how many Doctors visits I had, or how many trips to the after-hours clinic I had to endure because the discomfort was unbearable, and I was obviously trying to figure out the source.
First, I was told to simply take a combo of Zantac and whatever over-the-counter allergy medicine seemed to work for me, because my hives were “stress related.” I did not believe they were stress related, but I had no other info to work with at this point. When that was no longer helping, I was prescribed a shot of a medication meant for patients suffering from asthma, and told that “research shows that it helps some people with hives.” I refused that treatment. I was also given an EpiPen.
I eventually asked that Doctor to perform food allergy testing, and she refused, stating that “there was no way I was eating the same thing every day that I had an allergy to.”
I was losing my mind. I started doing research on my own. I began to binge watch health-related documentaries. Netflix has some fantastic ones! I fell into a documentary hole. There was even one about a gentleman who had suffered from chronic urticaria who had healed himself by doing juice cleansing (Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead). Cue the juicer purchase.
During this time, I started suffering from allergy progression. My hives were out of control, and now, my lips were swelling! I would wake up in the middle of the night with lips reminiscent of a Kylie Jenner lip-job gone terribly wrong. My family began to worry that my throat would swell shut during the night.
At this point, my Doctor prescribed oral steroids, telling me that it was guaranteed to at least temporarily stop the hives. The last thing I wanted to do was take a steroid, but on certain occasions, I popped those pills and enjoyed a day hive-free. I had a very important work event one day, and a bridal shower another day…no one wants to be covered in hives and itchy/puffy for events like that! But those pills definitely had side effects…mood swings like WOAH!
I dug deeper and started reading online blogs about other people who suffered from chronic urticaria (because at this point, I had had hives every single day for months) and what they discovered was causing it. Lotions, medications, bath products, makeup, laundry detergent, soap, shaving cream, fabrics…all things that apparently caused hives.
I went through my daily routine and every product that myself and my family used and purchased all new, hypoallergenic, organic, all-natural replacement products. Everything from shampoo to detergent was changed in my home. It was shocking just how harmful and gross some of the ingredients in common products are! Petroleum in beauty products? NO THANKS.
While these changes definitely helped ease the severity of the hives, they did not stop.
Completely unsatisfied with how my current medical provider was simply trying to cover my symptom (the hives) without bothering to discover the underlying cause of them, I once again turned to online resources and discovered the world of osteopathic and naturopathic medicine. I changed my Primary Care Doctor to a well-respected Osteopathic Doctor, and the first thing she did was order me an allergy test.
As it turned out, I was allergic to several foods that I had been eating every day, as well as ingredients in a number of my beauty products, and a number of environmental allergens that were in and around my suburban home.
I went home and cleared out every food product that I was allergic to, threw out any leftover beauty product with the offending ingredients, and cleaned every household item that could have allergens on them (bedding, for instance).
The next day – NO HIVES!
Unfortunately, sometimes we need to be advocates for ourselves. I suffered for 7 long months, and my condition definitely affected my well-being, both physically and mentally.
In the end, the research I did opened my eyes to a new world of healthy living. I learned to read labels like an expert, and what ingredients were a no-go for me and my family. Making smarter, more informed purchasing decisions is our own responsibility. We only get one body – so the time to take care of yourself is now!