A Guide to Treating Hives on Your Stomach

Hives, also known as urticaria, are a common skin rash that affects up to 20% of people during their lifetime. Symptoms include itchiness, burning, redness, and raised bumps, and they're generally quite uncomfortable.

Hives can develop anywhere on the body. Hives on the stomach occur for many reasons, but most often are due to an allergic reaction. Other causes may include insect bites and stress.

This article discusses hives on the abdomen, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

Hives on a woman's stomach


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What Are Hives?

Urticaria, or hives, is a common skin rash. Hives can be acute (short term) if present for less than six weeks. Chronic (long-lasting) hives are present for six weeks or longer. Several features characterize hives, including:

  • Location: Hives can appear on any body part (arms, legs, face, torso, and back). Swelling may also occur in the hands, feet, and face.
  • Appearance: Hives resemble bug bites. They are red, raised bumps with defined borders and clear edges. They may also change shape and can be small or large. Hive lesions turn white when pressing on the center of the hive, which is called blanching.
  • Texture: Hives feel like raised overlapping bumps, blisters, or welts. They usually are hard, and the area they are in may feel swollen. When the hives heal, there is no scarring or damage to the surrounding tissue.
  • Sensation: Hives are itchy, and the itching usually is worse at night. They cause a burning or stinging feeling. Sometimes they are described as hot to the touch due to the increased blood flow from the inflammation.

Causes of Hives on Stomach

Hives on the stomach can occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, the cause of the hives is unknown.

Possible causes include:

  • Allergic reactions (such as foods, medications, pet dander, latex, or other allergens)
  • Infections (bacterial and viral)
  • Insect bites or stings
  • Stress
  • Environmental (cold or hot temperatures, sun exposure)
  • Exercise
  • Genetics

Hives Stomach Rash Complications

Stomach hives can cause complications such as angioedema, a deep-seated tissue swelling most commonly affecting the face, lips, tongue, throat, and eyelids. Abdominal cramps, swelling in the lining of the eyes, and difficulty breathing are also symptoms.

If you are concerned your hives may be angioedema, speak with your healthcare provider. They may refer you to an allergist, who can help diagnose and treat both conditions.

When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention

If you have hives with any of the following symptoms, go to your nearest emergency room immediately:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Light-headedness or faintness
  • Throat or mouth swelling
  • Racing heart

These symptoms, along with the hives, may indicate anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be deadly. Call 911 immediately if you are experiencing symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Pinpointing What Triggers Your Hives

If you have recurrent hives on your stomach, it's important to pinpoint your triggers. In addition to a physical exam, your healthcare provider may suggest some other tests to diagnose the cause of your hives, including:

  • Allergy tests: This may be performed directly on the skin or through a blood test.
  • Blood work: Blood work may rule out an infection or underlying illness.
  • Skin biopsy: A small portion of the affected skin will be removed and examined under a microscope.

Treating Stomach Hives

Treatment of stomach hives includes a combination of self-care and medications.


There are several self-care strategies you can employ to help cope with your hives, which include:

  • Avoiding itching as much as possible
  • Applying cold compresses
  • Trying anti-itch creams
  • Taking a colloidal oatmeal bath (use lukewarm water)
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothing in 100% cotton
  • Using fragrance-free bodywash, cleansers, and other products
  • Tracking your hives symptoms in a journal if recurrent


In addition to self-care, some medications may be used to resolve and control your hives symptoms. These medications include:

  • Antihistamines: These are considered to be the best first-line treatment for hives, whether acute or chronic. Over-the-counter (OTC) options include Allegra (fexofenadine), Claritin (loratadine), and Zyrtec (cetirizine).
  • H2 blockers: Also known as histamine H2-receptor antagonists, H2 blockers, such as Pepcid or Zantac (famotidine), narrow the blood vessels on the skin, which helps relieve redness and swelling.
  • Corticosteroids: Oral corticosteroids (steroids) are used if antihistamines fail to bring relief. Topical steroids are usually used first-line along with antihistamines to quickly help resolve itching and swelling.
  • Leukotriene modifiers: Leukotriene modifiers block the effects or production of leukotrienes, which can cause inflammation. Leukotriene modifiers may be necessary if antihistamines do not work and hives are chronic. A standard leukotriene modifier prescribed for hives is Singulair (montelukast).


Hives are a common skin rash that can occur on the stomach. Symptoms include bumps, redness, and itchiness. Many cases of hives on the stomach are caused by an allergic reaction but can result from food, medication, stress, and more. Treatment includes self-care and certain medications. For chronic stomach hives, it's important to see a healthcare provider to uncover the cause to prevent further flare-ups.

A Word From Verywell

Hives on the stomach can be uncomfortable and affect your quality of life. That said, hives are very common and treatable. It's important to know the source of your hives to avoid recurrences and resolve the issue. See your healthcare provider to pinpoint the underlying cause if you have recurrent hives.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you identify a stomach rash?

    A stomach rash is marked by itchiness, redness, patchiness, skin plaques, and bumps.

  • What helps with stomach hives itchiness?

    To soothe the itchiness of stomach hives, try anti-itch creams, take medications such as antihistamines, and apply cold compresses. Do your best to avoid scratching the area as much as possible to prevent further irritation.

  • When should you worry about hives on your stomach?

    See your healthcare provider if hives on the stomach are recurrent or don't resolve. There may be an underlying cause for your hives that needs to be diagnosed and addressed.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Aslan Kayıran M. Diagnosis and treatment of urticaria in primary careNorth Clin Istanbul. doi:10.14744/nci.2018.75010

  3. World Allergy Organization. Urticaria.

  4. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Hives (urticaria).

  5. Kanani A, Betschel SD, Warrington R. Urticaria and angioedemaAllergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2018;14(Suppl 2):59. doi:10.1186/s13223-018-0288-z

  6. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hives: diagnosis and treatment.

  7. The American Academy of Dermatology Association. Hives: self-care.

  8. Schaefer P. Acute and chronic urticaria: evaluation and treatmentAm Fam Physician. 2017;95(11):717-24.

By Molly Burford
Molly Burford is a mental health advocate and wellness book author with almost 10 years of experience in digital media.