Exercise-induced allergy?

By on May 11, 2015

I turned 41 this year. I’ve been noticing a change in my body. I break into itchy hives all over (especially around the elbows and feet) when I sweat from doing physical exercises. When I scratch it, it becomes even bigger.  I’ve been rubbing Betnovate N ointment around the affected areas as recommended by a Japanese pharmacist. It relieves me of the itch temporarily but leaves an unwanted scar on my skin. How can I totally stop this from happening?  

 Jennifer, Minato-ku

From the symptoms you described, it is likely that you may be suffering from a condition known as “cholinergic urticaria”. This condition is caused by sweating and common triggers are exercise, hot baths/sauna, spicy foods or emotional stress. Your body breaks out into wheals (or hives as you call it), and the symptoms may seem worse with scratching, but even without treatment, the wheals should slowly fade away in about one hour’s time.

The use of Betnovate N ointment (a steroid ointment) may temporarily relieve the itching sensation. The scars were probably caused by scratching. Generally hives do not cause any scarring. However, oral antihistamines (e.g.loratadine, fexofenadine HCL)  may be more useful in preventing the condition from arising. Your dermatologist should be able to prescribe these medications for you.

About Dr. Chin-Huai Keong

Dr. Chin-Huai Keong, director of Garden Clinic Hiroo, is a board-certified dermatologist with more than 20 years experience in the field. Dr. Keong has served the foreign community for many years and is familiar with the needs of the foreign patient. She offers consultations for adult & pediatric dermatology as well as cosmetic dermatology in English and Japanese. Dr. Keong may be contacted through her website at www.gardenclinic-hiroo.com or her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/gardenclinichiroo