Why Do I Get Stress Induced Hives, And How Do I Treat Them?

By Stephanie Kirby|Updated April 6, 2022

Stress on its own is enough to deal with, but it brings with it a long list of possible side effects that you could experience. Some of the symptoms are ones that most people are familiar with and many experience. However, there are some symptoms like stress induced hives, that many people don't associate with stress.

Hives can be connected to other medical conditions, so if you don't realize that they can be related to stress it may be difficult to diagnose what's causing them. And if you don't know what's causing them, it's hard to determine the best way to treat them and find relief.

What are Hives?

Hives can be caused by many things. They can be a result of an allergy and can show up after doing things like changing laundry detergent or eating a food that you haven't tried before.

Hives are a type of rash. They are large raised bumps that can be centralized on a certain area of your body or show up all over. They can be smaller in size but are typically larger than something like chicken pox. However, they can get very large like the size of dinner plates. They have the appearance of a welt.

While you may be embarrassed by the look of hives, the appearance is not the worse part. They can be uncomfortable and painful because they can burn, itch, and sting. And while they aren't dangerous on their own, they probably aren't something that you want to deal with.

It's important to understand what symptoms are not related to hives. If your face, tongue, lips, or any part of your mouth is swelling, this is not just a side effect of hives. This is most likely the signs of a serious allergic reaction and something that you need to address immediately by getting into a hospital or emergency room.

Why Does Stress Cause Hives?

While it does appear that stress alone can cause hives, the actual reason behind it is not completely clear yet. It's believed that the hives are a result of the impact that stress has on the immune system. However, scientists do not yet understand the complete connection and more research is needed to understand the cause.

There's also a secondary connection between stress and hives. There are people who experience hives for unknown reasons that experience stress as a result of it. This could be that they're stressed about their physical health and why they're getting hives, or it could be that they're stressed about their appearance when they have hives.

How Long Do Hives Last?

This is a tough question to answer. Hives can last for just a day, or they could go on for weeks. Many times, as some of your hives are starting to go away, new ones will begin to show up. And, they can come and go over a long period of time. If you find that they continue to come back or you've been dealing with them consistently for several days, you may want to talk with your doctor.

You may not know how long your hives are going to be around once you get them, but there are things that you can do to prevent them.

How to Treat Stress Induced Hives

The first thing you want to do if you are breaking out in hives is to determine what's causing them. Think back through the last few days. You want to make sure that your hives are not the result of an allergy to something that you have eaten or something else that your body has been exposed to you. This could be new foods, changing your shampoo or soap, or wearing a different type of fabric.

Once you have ruled out that your hives have been caused by something related to an allergen you should look at what other symptoms you are experiencing. If your symptoms are all related to stress, then it's a good chance that your hives are stress induced as well. But, if you have other medical symptoms that you are experiencing as well, you may want to talk to your doctor instead of trying to self-diagnose yourself.

When you know that you're dealing with stress induced hives, the following strategies can help you deal with them.

Treatment of the Skin Itself

Because hives can be painful and cause itching, burning, and stinging, it can be important to treat the symptoms and not just the underlying cause. Taking an antihistamine can help to lessen the symptoms that you are experiencing quickly. This can help your hives to disappear for the moment or for good if you're not currently under stress anymore. However, it's not a guarantee that they will not come back. Antihistamines can help you find relief from burning and itching, but over-the-counter antihistamines should not be the only source of treatment that you use if you have hives on an ongoing basis. Talk to a physician to see if there is another medication that would be more helpful for you or, try some of the other forms of treatment as well.

Treatments for Stress

If your hives are caused by stress, one of the best ways that you can treat the hives that you experience as a result is to treat the main cause. Taking a medication to help you with the symptoms of your hives could be helpful in the present moment, but if you want to stop experiencing stress-induced hives, you're going to want to learn how to handle your stress.

There are many different stress treatments that you can use to find relief. Here are some of the most common.


The practice of meditation can be very effective in helping you handle the stress that you're dealing with in life. Meditation helps you learn how to take control of your thoughts instead of just allowing any anxious thought to be in your mind. It helps you to remove the intense or negative emotion out of a situation and focus your mind on learning how to deal with it more effectively.

A part of meditation can include practicing mindfulness which can help you to control your thoughts and to think of positive things that will help you in life.

Another part of meditation is deep breathing. This can be used while you're meditating or on its own. Deep breathing is a great way to take control of your body when you are under stress and learn how to overcome it. A natural physical response to stress is to take shallow quick breath. In order to fight that, you can focus on taking deep slow breaths. There are many different strategies that you can use to do this, but the most important thing is just to make sure that you are filling your lungs and diaphragm with air when you breathe in, holding it for at least a second, and then slowly letting the air out completely.

If you're interested in practicing meditation, mindfulness, or deep breathing, there are many apps that you can choose from to help you work through the process. This is a good way to get started if you've never practiced any of these strategies before.


Journaling can be an effective way to handle stress as well. It can help you to have a safe place to release any stressful thoughts that you are experiencing. It can be very helpful to get all of your thoughts on a situation out onto paper. This can help you to process your emotions that you're experiencing if you're struggling with them. Journaling can also help you to identify any patterns in your life or triggers of stress that you have.


Self-care is beneficial to you in many ways. making sure that you eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise is good for your mental and physical health. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, practicing good self-care may not be the first thing on your mind but it is important to practice. It can help you to find relief from your stress and learn how to manage your symptoms from it better.

The Importance of Therapy

Everyone's going to experience stress in life but that does not mean that you have to struggle through it. If you are dealing with stress and it feels like it's overwhelming you, don't be afraid to reach out for professional help from an experienced therapist. Therapy, including online therapy, can be an effective way to learn how to manage your stress and cope with the symptoms that you're experiencing. You can also learn changes that you can make in life in order to eliminate some sources of stress and to make life easier going forward.

Stress may be a normal part of life, but it's not something that should overwhelm you and that you should stay stuck in. If that's how you're feeling then it's important to get professional help in addressing it and moving forward in a healthy way. The symptoms of stress, including stress-induced hives, do not need to be an ongoing part of your life.

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