A woman lying in bed with her arms crossed over her body. Her midsection shows an outbreak of hives. There is a thought bubble showing a surgeon who seems to be looking at the woman.

Surgery Gave Me Hives

Last updated: December 2022

Hives and stress go hand in hand. A quick Google search reveals nearly 9 million results when “hives and stress” are entered into the search bar.

There are numerous articles and publications that link stress to, not only hives, but a myriad of other health issues. When the body is stressed, immune responses trigger the release of inflammatory cells, including histamine, which is the driving force for hives. There is a deep connection between mind and body that is still being discovered, so it’s reasonable to see that stress can lead to many health-related issues, hives being one of many. It is estimated that as much as 75% of doctor visits are the result of stress-related issues, which speaks volumes about this psychophysiological relationship.1,2

Surgery

I had major surgery a few weeks ago. Thankfully the procedure went very well and I didn’t have any immediate complications. But the day after I got home from the hospital, I started to notice a red rash forming around my waist. It was itchy, but I didn't think much of it.

I woke up the next morning with more hives on my torso and a few around my left ankle. Every time I checked, I would find more hives. Around my ankles and up my legs, abdomen, back, scalp. Pretty much everything but my arms was covered in hives; itchy, painful, burning hives. To say I was miserable was an understatement.

But I don’t get hives

You see, I don’t really get hives that often, even though I have a diagnosis of chronic hives. My most common “hive” symptom is swelling of my face and mouth. You can read more about my chronic hives here and why I don’t always feel like I fit in with the chronic hives community. I do occasionally get itchy hives, but it’s been a long time since I was covered head to toe. I feel for those of you who deal with raised, itchy hives all the time.

Asking for steroids

I started treating my skin with topical steroids and lotion, hoping that would help quell the massive eruption on my skin. But, alas, I finally called my doctor and asked for steroids. Steroids and I have a long history together, and it’s not a very pleasant one, so for me to call and ask for them says a lot about how miserable I was.

Thankfully my doctor had no problem sending in a prescription for me, and after a few days, my hives had all but disappeared. And luckily I didn’t have to stay on the steroids for too long.

Time to recover

But why in the world did I suddenly erupt in hives? Well, surgery is a huge stress on the body, so it makes a lot of sense that something so traumatic to the system could result in hives. I’m so relieved that the itching didn’t last too long and I was able to focus on recovery from surgery instead of trying not to scratch my skin off.

Does stress make your hives worse? Let us know in the comments!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Chronic-Hives.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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