Talk to Your Doctor

CIU can be hard to diagnose and is best treated by a specialist like an allergist. If you think you might have CIU, talk to an allergist about your symptoms and options for managing CIU.

Doctor speaking to patient about CIU

An Allergist’s Perspective

Hear from allergist, Dr. Neeta Ogden,1 on recognizing signs of CIU, the journey to diagnosis and how a specialist like an allergist can help.

DR. NEETA OGDEN: CIU stands for Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria. This is a skin condition characterized by hives, that can be severely itchy, and occur spontaneously. They last for six weeks or more, which is why it’s called Chronic. Idiopathic means we don’t know the cause of the hives, and Urticaria is a medical term for hives. CIU occurs in approximately 1.5 million people, it’s twice more common in women than men, and it tends to affect people between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.


Of every ten people who have chronic hives, at least seven of them have CIU. Because symptoms come and go without a known cause, people seek out triggers. This can include elimination diets, switching detergents, and other lifestyle changes. CIU can be hard to diagnose and treat. This form of chronic hives is best treated by a specialist like an allergist. An allergist is a specialist trained to diagnose, treat, and manage allergies, asthma, and immune system deficiencies that can affect different parts of the body. It’s important that you talk to your doctor about your experience with CIU. CIUandYou.com has resources that can help guide the discussion with your allergist. In close partnership, you and your doctor can manage your disease together.

Talk to Your Doctor: Discussion Guide and Symptom Tracker

Your allergist will ask you questions about your symptoms, how long they have lasted, how you feel and any factors that may make your condition better or worse. Before meeting with your allergist, it is helpful to track your symptoms. Download a discussion guide with a symptom tracker here to help you prepare for your visit.
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The Journey to Getting Diagnosed with CIU

If you have hives, you may wonder when to see a doctor and what type of doctor you should see. If your hives last for several weeks, schedule an appointment with an allergist, as they specialize in diagnosing conditions like CIU.

Vicki’s Journey

Actress and comedienne Vicki Lawrence,2 best known for her roles on The Carol Burnett Show and Mama’s Family, shares her story to help other patients like her who live with chronic hives. Watch as she shares her experience of finding a diagnosis and managing her CIU.

Vicki Lawrence: So we went to our allergist that we’ve known for years. And he said, “Hives. Almost everybody breaks out in hives at one point or another in their lives.” It was six weeks of doing literally everything you could think of when the doctor said to me, “I think I’m going to diagnose you with CIU.” And I said, “Okay, great. What is CIU?” He said “It’s Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria.” And I honestly thought it was such a mouthful, I was pretty sure he had probably made it up.


He said, “Chronic means that it has now lasted for six or more weeks. Idiopathic means that I can’t tell you why it’s happening.” And Urticaria is just like the doctor has to have a fancy word for hives. So my doctor, I was really fortunate that he was familiar with CIU. So we were able to put a treatment plan together for me that, that worked.


  1. Dr. Neeta Ogden was compensated for her involvement in the CIU and You campaign.
  2. Vicki Lawrence is compensated for her involvement as a spokesperson for the CIU and You campaign.

Learn more about managing CIU.

Living with CIU

Learn About a Treatment Option for CIU