Urticaria pigmentosa occurs in areas where there are too many inflammatory cells (mast cells) in the skin.
Urticaria pigmentosa is mostcommon in children.It can also occur in adults.
The main symptom is brownish patches on skin. Rubbing the skin sore causes a hive-like bump. Younger children may develop ablisterthat is filled with fluid if thebump is scratched.
The face may also get red quickly (flushed).
In severe cases, the following symptoms may occur:
Exams and Tests
- Skin biopsy tolook for a highernumber of mast cells
- Urine histamine
- Blood tests for blood cell counts and blood tryptase levels
Antihistamines medicines can help relieve symptoms such as itching and flushing. Talk to your health care provider about which type of antihistamineto use.
The health care provider may prescribe other kinds of medicines symptoms fromsevere and unusual forms of urticaria pigmentosa.
Urticaria pigmentosa goes away by puberty in about half of the affected children. Symptoms usually get better in others as they grow into adulthood.
In adults, urticaria pigmentosasystemic mastocytosis. This is a serious condition that can affect the bones, brain and nerves,and digestive system.
The main problems are discomfort from itching, and concern about the appearance of the spots.Other problems such as diarrhea and fainting are rare.
Certain medicines may trigger flares of urticaria pigmentosa. Discuss these with your doctor.
Bee stings may also cause a bad allergic reaction in people with urticaria pigmentosa. Ask your doctor if you should carry an injectable epinephrine kit (such as EpiPen or Twinject) touse if you get abee sting.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you notice symptoms of urticaria pigmentosa.
Habif TP. Urticaria and angioedema. In: Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 6.
Tharp MD. Mastocytosis. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, et al, eds.Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 118.
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.