Woman with severe water allergy says everyday activities cause her terrible pain

A woman has revealed how everyday activities including doing the dishes and showering leave her in terrible pain due to a severe water allergy.

Twenty-six-year-old Vienna spoke to The Project on Tuesday about how she is hypersensitive to the very substance 70 percent of the human body is made of. 

For all her life, she hasn't been able to do what most people take for granted. 

"When I see people at the beach and they just walk out of the water and dry on the sand I am like, 'Oh wow, isn't that incredible! You can do that!'." 

For the longest time, her doctors were stumped and Vienna tried everything.

"My doctor treated me for scabies, I was told it was a stress rash, so there were so many things and nothing was really treating it and it was getting worse and worse," she said.

"I wasn't given any resources from my doctors for a really long time other than some creams... You get to the point where you go like, 'Maybe this is not real, maybe I need to see a therapist." 

Vienna eventually visited a specialist and was diagnosed with a rare condition called Aquagenic Urticaria which means touching water can leave her in pain.

"It basically means water triggers hives," clinical immunologist Rohan Ameratunga explained.

"It doesn't make a lot of sense that you are not reacting to your own water inside your body but you are reacting to external water. I don't think anybody understands that."

Vienna said it feels like mosquito bites, but: "itching doesn't fix it for me, unfortunately, and you know you have one mosquito bite just imagine that all over".

Drinking water might be okay, but absorbing it can be a challenge. 

"My bladder is constantly in pain, it feels full, you know when you really, really, really need to go to the bathroom and you have to hold for a while, that's what it feels like for me."

Breaking from her morning routine could mean a world of pain. 

"I don't wash my face in the morning, I didn't know we were supposed to," she told The Project. 

"If I took a shower first thing in the morning I would be in a really uncomfortable position... Toothpaste and that combination don't really hurt, crying, or sweating or moisturiser and that movement of it is much worse."

There are less than 100 reported cases of Aquagenic Urticaria in the world and reactions can range from a mild rash to severe hives, with some sufferers even needing hospital treatment. 

"You're exhausted when you're having these, you don't know how to explain it to someone," Vienna said.

"At the end of the day you just want to go and have a shower, you don't want to be lying in bed, itching in pain." 

She said "once in a million times" she won't get a reaction - "those are the best days in the world".

But her diagnosis has now changed her life.

"You get that validation, and you get on that treatment, it's significantly better. So no matter how bad my day has been, it's been worse." 

With the diagnosis and medication in hand, Vienna's ready to take on the world.  

"It was worth it because I got to go scuba diving, that's something that a few years ago when I was diagnosed I thought I would never be able to do, that was something I thought I would not be able to do. But I did" 

She's also got a few more things to tick off.

"I want to live life. I want to do exciting things... I'd love to travel, that's my absolute go-to."