numb extremities and Uticaria

Posted , 5 users are following.

Self diagnosed cold uticaria sufferer. Wondering if I should be concerned about an autoimmune disorder? 


When I was young, 13-15, I experienced intense raised itchy hives on my thighs after coming inside from the cold. They were incredibly itchy but would go away quickly. I never told anyone about them. I thought it was a normal part of warming up. (haha) 

Didn't have hives for over 15 years. Was this because I started driving and spending less time walking in the cold? I think so.

PRESENT: I am now 30, female, and this is acting up again, but only on my face and it is not itchy.The hives are darker, purple or red in shade and raised. I cannot feel them and only notice them in the mirror. They go away after apprx 3-5 hours. 

I have noticed other changes in my skin. 

My hands are incredibly dry and my legs are covered in thin purple shades. They almost make a scale pattern, but are not thin like varicose veins. 

MOST CONCERNING: My long toe (toe next to pinky) goes completely numb and when I look at it it's white. Zero circulation. This has nothing to do with the cold. It just happens. 

My skin also becomes incredibly dry and flaky. Excessively so. 

THE QUESTION: Should I be concerned about an autoimmune disorder? A neurological disorder? OR, is it just poor circulation? Do any of you experience these other symptoms? Should I start to take my person concerns seriously? 

FEARS:   diabetes, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, form of heart disease and finally celiac.  

Health Habits: 

Was an athlete most of my life. Drink more than my doctor would like.. but probably no more than average (5-6 drinks a week. Usually less, rarely all 5 drinks in one night). Do not exercise aside from leading active lifestyle. (skiing twice a month, work a job that keeps me walking, bending ect.)

Thank you for sharing your experience and opinion.


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  • Posted


    I do not have the same history as you but my symptoms are similar, though I have only had urticaria for three months. Only once before, 10 years ago very briefly. Now I have had an aggressiv form of ”idiopathic” urticaria with rashes and itching all over my body, and even the kind of hives in the face as you describe.  Even the numbness in the same toe, next to pinky in my right foot! I strongly suspect it is something autoimmun, but all my blood tests have come back clean. Still I somehow feel it my body, it is attacking itself. I feel fatiqued most if the time despite 9 h sleep. Have looked at the AIP paleo diet and am following it partly, but it just feels so restrictive. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply. It's nice to at least have someone to relate to. 

      I am glad to know all your tests have come back clean. 

      I do feel like my body has been attacking itself for the past three years... my first symptom was my numb toe. and now the skin issues.... but is it just genetic, given the hives that were definitely caused by the cold in my/our teens?

      I'll update you and this thread if I ever get the courage to ask the doctor about my symptoms. smile


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  • Posted

    Sounds like a classic case of cold urticaria however I would definitely consider getting checked out for an autoimmune disease to rule anything out. 

    It would be good to look into diagnosis for possibly Raynauds Syndrome which is the whitening phenomenon of fingers and toes and the purplish colouring of your legs sounds similar to Livedo Reticularis. Perhaps google images of these conditions to see whether the traits are similar. 

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    • Posted

      Yes, it looks like Livedo Reticularis,  but not AS extreme as the google pictures. Thank you for giving it a name! 

      Will see how this factors in to my concerns about my health. 

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  • Posted

    I have spontaneous and cold contact urticaria too. The cold urticaria can cause lots of bumpy hives, but not so much itching, especially after warming up. The spontaneous urticaria can be less of a rash and more intense long-lasting itching. Sometimes I wonder if the spontaneous kind is pressure or food allergy / intolerance triggered.

    I get some of the cold hands and feet effects too. Weirdly, on immunosuppresants that flipped around and I started to get burning sensations in hands in feet, like they were in very hot water. Raynaud's can be autoimmune too. Scaly dry skin is typical of Eczema and I get that with cold contact too. These things can come in clusters.

    Alcohol does tend to make my cold urticaria worse, especially if I overindulge in one night or drink more than one night in a row. If I catch a cold or other virus and my immune system is under pressure, these things often flare, especially at the end of the illnes. I figure that is because my immune system has ramped up, finished off the attackers and then starts attacking my body, triggering Mast cells.

    For the intensely dry skin, I found using aqueous cream with Uric acid in it (Eucerin) helps loads. Narrowband UVB therapy helped with the Urticaria and using the Eucerin a lot at the same time helped my overall skin condition.

    I wouldn't overly worry about hepatitis and heart disease. I was worried about that too but it was unfounded. You'd have other more obvious symptoms. Everything you have described sounds like a cluster of auto-immune conditions. I probably would get the toe looked at though, in case it is a circulation issue, especially if you are a smoker. If things get clogged up and you have poor circulation in your toes, infections can set in. That happened to my diabetic dad and it wasn't pretty. Alcohol and smoking are very bad for foot circulation and diabetes. A quick diabetes test is easy to get but your doctor probably would have done that already if it was in any way likely.

    Lots of Urticaria, Eczema and Asthma sufferers, including me, find that cutting gluten and sometimes milk out helps. You can be intolerant to those things without being Celiac or allergic to milk. One researcher wrote that gluten intolerance might be present in upto 5% of the population, whereas true Celiac is rare. That might explain why so many people find cutting out gluten helps. Strangely, if you are intolerant, wholemeal or brown bread is even worse as it has more of the protein (WGA) that can cause some people to react. Doctors also recommend taking vitamin D supplements, and magnesium to help you absorb it, especially where there is autoimmunity. If you cut out gluten, you might want to take a good vitamin B supplement too. I cut out sugar, started taking fish oil with main meals too and just generally eating mostly green and leafy vegetables, green salad, a little white rice and some fish and seafood and that has helped a bit too. I do think some of this is related to gut issues, like IBS etc... and sorting out diet as much as possible, especially removing alcohol and sugar is very helpful. Taking prebiotics and probiotics seems to help too, but it's best to only start those slowly after settling down any gut issues or they can make you feel worse.

    You mentioned skiing. For what it's worth, I was a keen runner year-round, but had to stop running in the summer once I realised it was making the cold contact urticaria worse. We actually moved to souther Spain for most of this January on holidays and that helped me loads. Getting more sleep and taking siesta's seems to have helped too smile Though now we are back in a cold climate, I immediately feel much worse again.

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