Rare Disease: Aquagenic urticaria

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Rare Disease: Aquagenic urticaria

  • Aquagenic urticaria is a rare disease in which hives develop when skin comes in contact with water.
  • The disease mostly affects women and symptoms develop at the start of puberty.
  • Currently, the exact cause is unknown.
  • Symptoms include small, red or skin-colored welts with defined edges usually found on the neck, upper trunk, and arms.
  • The disease is usually symptomatic with mild to severe pruritus and a burning sensation.
  • Water provocation test is used to diagnose the disease.
  • Systemic antihistamines are the first-line treatment, with anticholinergics, phototherapy, or barrier cream.
  • One of theories proposed by scientists is that a reaction between water and a substance found in or on the skin produced a toxic substance which leads to the development of hives.



Seol, J. E., Kim, D. H., Park, S. H., Kang, J. N., Sung, H. S., & Kim, H. (2017). Aquagenic Urticaria Diagnosed by the Water Provocation Test and the Results of Histopathologic Examination. Annals of dermatology29(3), 341–345. https://doi.org/10.5021/ad.2017.29.3.341

Wassef, C., Laureano, A., & Schwartz, R. A. (2017). Aquagenic Urticaria: A Perplexing Physical Phenomenon. Acta dermatovenerologica Croatica : ADC25(3), 234–237.

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