The Link Between Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroid and Chronic Urticaria
Dr. David Clark, DC – Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill, NC- explains why chronic idiopathic urticaria, a skin condition, is forever linked with Hashimoto’s autoimmune hypothyroidism.
Let’s talk about the connection between chronic urticaria and Hashimoto’s autoimmune hypothyroidism.
Chronic idiopathic urticaria is a condition in which you get itchy wheels on your skin that can vary in size and number.
“Chronic” means that the condition has been going on for a quite a while, versus just a day or two.
“Idiopathic” means that the cause is unknown (or at least not known yet).
Urticaria can be caused by food allergies or medications–but Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria appears NOT to be related to those mechanisms.
Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria (CIU) can be brought on by exercise or stress–and as we’ll see in just a minute, Hashimoto’s autoimmune hypothyroidism.
About 30 years ago there was the first research to see the connection between CIU and autoimmune thyroid disease. Now, a study released in 2011 picked up that topic again.
What is the connection between Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria and Hashimoto’s?
The research shows that anywhere between 45% to 55% of people with Chronic Idopathic Urticaria ALREADY have an autoimmune condition...they are making antibodies to IgE (immunoglobulin E) or the IgE receptor. IgE is a part of your immune system.
So, in many CIU patients, their immune system is attacking a part of their immune system!
If you’re making antibodies to a piece of yourself and you’re attacking it—that is autoimmunity.
Interestingly, the authors of this 2011 paper didn’t really understand how there could be a connection between CIU and autoimmune thyroid. But, one of the researchers they quote described thyroid autoimmunity and CIU as “parallel autoimmune events.” (I love that description).
In other words, Hashimoto’s and Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria are both autoimmune conditions that can happen at the same time.
I look at that like this…
If you’ve already broken the tolerance to yourself, then you can start attacking anything.
And if you’ve already developed a situation in which you’re attacking your thyroid… Hashimoto’s, which causes low thyroid symptoms such as depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss and brain fog…
…if you’ve already got Hashimoto’s it’s not that big of a leap to think that you could develop something like chronic urticaria because it’s another autoimmune condition.
Likewise, if you first develop the skin problem of Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria, and then develop low thyroid symptoms you most likely have Hashimoto’s as an autoimmune cause for your hypothyroidism.
FYI — Hashimoto’s is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the U.S.
The 2011 study found that 25% of chronic idiopathic urticaria patients had positive antibodies for Hashimoto’s – 25%!
That is significant.
I wanted to share this with you because many times a woman will have symptoms and not realize that they’re crucial clues about what’s really causing their problems.
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with chronic idiopathic urticaria and you’ve now developed low thyroid symptoms, there’s a good chance you have Hashimoto’s.
Likewise, if you’ve already got Hashimoto’s and you develop these short-lasting or even long-lasting itchy wheals that come and go–now you understand they likely are another symptom of your autoimmune condition.
These may be a sign that your autoimmune condition has expanded a little bit into another tissue—not a good sign. We don’t want the autoimmune process to do that.
You need to find someone that can help you deal with the total package. Unfortunately, taking Synthroid® or Cytomel® or Armour®or NatureThroid® for Hashimoto’s doesn’t do much to stop the raging fire of he autoimmune condition.
The same thing goes for the urticaria…
You can take steroids for it but that doesn’t really solve the problem, right? It just temporarily suppresses your immune system.
Chronic urticaria and Hashimoto’s…”parallel autoimmune events.”
© 2014 David Clark. All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: The contents of this site are for educational purposes only. Nothing here should be construed as medical advice. Nothing here is a substitute for actual medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional.