Skip to content

Symptoms of mast cell disease

The following is a generalized list of common symptoms associated with mast cell disease. It is not comprehensive and does not include laboratory or associated diagnoses.

General: fatigue, malaise (“being out of it”), weakness, severe unprovoked sweating, weight gain or loss

Skin: Rashes and lesions of any kind, itching, flushing, angioedema, stretch marks, dermatographism, poor wound healing, alopecia, abnormalities of finger or toenails

Eyes: Irritated eyes, red eyes, excessive tearing, dry eyes, difficulty focusing vision, lid tremor, sensitivity to lightness, including sunlight, general inflammation

Ears: Inflammation of the ear, “ear infections,” hearing loss, sensitivity to sound, ringing in the ears

Mouth/throat/sinuses: Generalized pain of several qualities, but often burning, ulceration, “canker” sores, swelling (angioedema), dental decay, abnormalities in taste, taste of metal, throat discomfort or irritation, need to clear throat frequently, post nasal drip, nose bleeds, irritation of sinuses, sinus congestion

Respiratory: laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonitis (frequently confused with pneumonia), recurrent cough (usually dry), shortness of breath, wheezing

Cardiovascular: lightheadedness, weakness, dizziness, vertigo, fainting, high or low blood pressure, palpitations, rapid heartbeat, abnormalities in heart rhythm, chest pain, hemorrhoids, edema

Gastrointestinal: abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, difficulty swallowing, swelling of any part of the GI tract, nausea

Neurologic: Headache, migraine, “about to faint,” fainting, numbness, pins and needles, neuropathy, tics, tremors, seizures

Psychiatric: Anger, depression, PTSD, anxiety, memory difficulties, anxiety, panic disorders, insomnia, sleep disorders

The hallmark of mast cell disease is allergic-type reaction to a variety of stimuli. These can also occur to substances benign to most people, including scents, “hypoallergenic” materials, heat, sunlight and water. Some people experience anaphylactic reactions that require epinephrine.


Afrin, Lawrence B. Presentation, diagnosis and management of mast cell activation syndrome. 2013. Mast cells.