An altered gut microbe composition has recently been linked to some types of allergies. In chronic urticaria (hives), hives are present continuously or intermittently for at least 6 weeks.
The precise cause of chronic hives is unknown and the major treatment is symptomatic control. Chronic hives is an immune related disease so it is possible that an imbalance in the immune system can lead to chronic urticaria.
Gut microbes plays an important role in the evolution and regulation of the immune system. Microbes have been implicated in immune related diseases such as, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, uveitis, various cancers, asthma, food allergy, coronary artery disease and eczema.
A recent study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology titled “Association of altered gut microbiota composition with chronic urticaria”, looked at the fecal samples of patients with chronic hives versus normal healthy subjects.
They found stool samples of certain microbes in healthy subjects significantly higher than in patients with chronic hives. Akkermansia muciniphila, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and Clostridia Leptum were in higher amounts in healthy subjects. These microbes play roles in the degradation of mucus and plays a role in protection against allergy diseases and inflammatory states. The study also found higher amounts of Enterobacteriaceae in the stool samples of patients with chronic hives than in healthy controls. Enterobacteriaceae has been reported in gut microbiota in several inflammatory diseases including food sensitization, atopic allergy, bowel inflammatory disease and celiac disease, indicating a role in immune deviation.
Chronic urticaria is an immune-mediated disease so an association between the composition of gut microbes and hives is possible. This is the first study that showed the gut in patients with chronic urticaria may be altered. This was a small study and more studies would need to be done to confirm these results. It is still too early to recommend probiotics to patients with chronic hives, but hopefully more studies will be done to better understand the mechanism of chronic idiopathic urticaria.
If you have chronic hives that are not under control, ask your doctor for a referral to an allergy doctor who can help mange your symptoms properly.
A startup company is working on a cure for food allergies by developing a pill to alter the microbes in the gut. Theoretically it could protect against all types of allergic reactions. You can read more about it below.