Stress triggers this distressing skin condition

IMAGE @krisaquino on Instagram/Science Photo Library

Kris Aquino suffers from chronic spontaneous urticaria or tagulabay in Filipino. We asked a dermatologist to shed more light on this condition.


Kris Aquino recently revealed on social media that she has chronic spontaneous urticaria, after going through a series of medical tests in Singapore.

The host-digital influencer experienced sudden weight loss, so she decided to get to the bottom of her condition.

What is chronic spontaneous urticaria?

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked Dr. Ellaine Galvez, a dermatologist and owner of Galvez Clinics, to shed light on this autoimmune skin disease.

“It's called tagulabay in Tagalog,” said Dr. Galvez, who is not treating Kris. “It is chronic if lesions last for more than six weeks.”

Lesions, she added, can be hives or angioedema, a skin swelling that has a painful or burning sensation.

The symptoms of chronic spontaneous urticaria include severe itching of swollen areas on the skin.

Dr. Galvez said these “may go away spontaneously, but may recur again and again as long as the suspected allergen is present, like food or drug medications.”

She also cautioned, “Urticaria involves the immune system, so avoidance of allergen such as the specific food or offending drug should be [done].”

According to research, chronic spontaneous urticaria is associated with autoimmunity in 45 percent of patients.

How can the itching and swelling be managed?

“We normally give antihistamines and oral steroids to relieve the swelling and itchiness,” said Doc Ellaine.

In Kris Aquino’s Instagram post talking about her diagnosis, she wrote, “I am now, and for the rest of my existence will be, on high dosage antihistamines and having the EpiPen will always be crucial. Severe allergies are life threatening because of anaphylactic shock.”

Dr. Galvez expounded on this, “The angioedema or swelling may involve upper eyelids, lips, and throat. Generally patients are not in danger as long as it doesn't affect the throat airway for breathing.

“It is normally managed by antihistamines to prevent it.”

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Anaphylactic shock happens when there is a severe allergic reaction to an antigen. An EpiPen is a brand of epinephrine autoinjector, a portable medical device that injects a dose of epinephrin, crucial in treating anaphylaxis. 

One thing that people suffering from chronic spontaneous urticaria must avoid? Stress.

Dr. Galvez noted, “Stress is a major triggering factor. Also, occult infection that needs to be investigated, so we normally ask for laboratory tests.”


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