Mast Cell Activation Syndrome: What You Need to Know

Written by | Medically Reviewed by | Updated on

Statistics show that over 50 million Americans suffer from one or more allergies. Sometimes, all of the antihistamines and allergy tests in the world aren’t enough to stop your allergy symptoms. You might be surprised to learn that there’s a medical condition that mimics allergies but isn’t impacted by allergy treatments.

Mast cell activation syndrome is commonly mistaken for allergies. Curious how it works and what the symptoms are? Read on to learn everything you need to know!

The Basics of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

In order to understand mast cell activation syndrome, you need to understand what mast cells are.

Mast cells are cells that exist in your bone marrow and body tissues. They are an active part of your immune system, and they help ward off diseases. Mast cells are also part of all kinds of allergic reactions, including mosquito bites and bee stings.

Mast cells contain small sacs that contain substances known as mediators. These mediators are released when an allergic reaction occurs. For example, if you’re allergic to peanuts and you accidentally have one, then mediators are released.

People who have MCAS find that mediators are released too frequently. Many times, mediators are released when there isn’t any kind of allergic reaction at all. There are three types of MCAS: primary MCAS, secondary MCAS, and idiopathic MCAS.

Symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

MCAS symptoms impact many different systems within your body. The most common include your skin, heart, GI tract, and nervous system.

If mast cells release histamines, you’ll likely experience things like itchy skin, tightening airways, and even anaphylaxis. You might also experience nausea, headaches, and other gastrointestinal distress. Other symptoms include low blood pressure and anxiety.

Depending on the severity of your case of MCAS, it can be anything from mildly irritating to life threatening. The biggest issue is that allergic reactions protect your body. MCAS symptoms, on the other hand, are unpredictable and do harm.

Treatment Options for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

There are several different treatment options for MCAS. You’ll need to identify your triggers and take medications to block symptoms. If you experience anaphylaxis, your doctor may prescribe you an epinephrine pen for emergencies.

If you prefer a more holistic approach, then acupuncture is a fantastic option. Your acupuncturist places a very small needle into your ear, and you wear it for four weeks. This helps stop the chemical reactions that release the mediators in your body.

Are You Struggling with MCAS?

If you’ve been struggling with allergy symptoms that just aren’t getting better, then it might be something else entirely. Mast cell activation syndrome feels like allergies, but it’s a totally different issue. Treatments like acupuncture are a great way to start seeing relief from your MCAS symptoms.

Are you looking for an experienced acupuncturist in the Lynchburg, Virginia area who can help you with MCAS and much more? You’ve come to the right place! Contact Acupuncture Works today to learn how we can help improve your life!

Meet Our Expert: Deborah Farley

Deborah FarleyFounder of Acupuncture Works,LLC in Lynchburg Virginia. Deborah is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Medicine as a Licensed Acupuncturist (L. Ac.).

She is also licensed by the State of Florida as a Doctor of Oriental Medicine (DOM). Deborah is a Diplomate of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

She graduated from the East West College of Natural Medicine with a Master’s Degree in Oriental Medicine and a Bachelor’s Degree of Professional Health Sciences.

Learn More