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

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


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.

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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!

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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