Aquagenic Urticaria: Signs, Causes & Treatments

Aquatenic urticaria is a rare form of physical urticaria. This condition causes a rash or hives to appear whenever the patient comes in contact with water. Itching and pain may also be present. This condition will appear regardless of the condition or temperature of the water, though there must be no skin lesion present to differentiate this condition from aquagenic pruritus or aquadynia. Aquagenic urticaria tends to affect women more than men, though infantile patients are equally susceptible to this condition. Patients going through puberty are the most likely to manifest symptoms of this condition.

What Are the Symptoms?

Symptoms are typically skin based. The skin will itch or burn after you expose yourself to water. Within 1 to 15 minutes of this exposure hives, rash or erythema may appear. Within 10-120 minutes lesions may develop which can be quite painful. In some cases difficulty swallowing, wheezing or subjective respiratory distress will occur after drinking water.

What Causes It?

How Is It Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of aquagenic urticaria will begin with an evaluation of the patient's clinical history looking for any signs of what might be causing this severe reaction. The patient will then be put to a water treatment test where water will be applied to the upper body for 30 minutes. Water may be placed directly on the skin or a soaked paper towel may be applied. In many cases distilled water, tap water and saline will be used to check for a difference in reaction. After this is removed the skin will be checked for a reaction for the next 10-15 minutes.

Because Aqugenic Urticaria frequently accompanies other types of physical urticaraia, the doctor may perform tests to check for these other conditions. In ice cube may be placed on the forearm for a few minutes to check for cold urticarial, exposure to a hot bath will be used to check for Cholinergis urticaria and the lesions will be inspected to determine the root cause of their appearance.

How Can It Be Treated?

There is no treatment that will rid the patient of symptoms. Most treatments are used to lessen the effects of the disease to promote more comfort when the body must come in contact with water.

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